Sotheby’s Holds First Ordinals Auction: BitcoinShrooms

Famed auction house Sotheby’s is holding its first Bitcoin Ordinals auction, offering three previously unreleased pieces from the BitcoinShrooms collection, which bills itself as the first ever NFT collection on the heralded chain. Here are all the details about the auction:

  • It runs from December 6th-13th
  • The pieces are expected to fetch between $20,000 and $30,000 each
  • Already the bidding has been hot, with two NFTs above the expected price

The BitcoinShrooms collection pays homage to the early days of the ecosystem, weaving references to technical wizardry and culture, all in the shape of mushrooms. The three pieces up for grabs are “S,” which stands for self-sovereignty, the “Sovereign Individual,” which pays homage to a 1998 essay predicting the rise of digital currencies, and “BIP39 Seed,” which visualizes private wallet keys.

From left to right, the images:

Shroomtoshi, an anonymous artist, created the collection. While this is Sotheby’s first Bitcoin Ordinals auction, this is not the first time the auction house has forayed into Web3. In fact, it has its own NFT art marketplace and has been responsible for some major news in 2023, including the Vera Molnár NFT drop and a generative art auction that captured mainstream attention.

Who is Shroomtoshi, the creator of BitcoinShrooms?

Anonymity is a facet of Web3, so perhaps it is no surprise that the creator of BitcoinShrooms has not revealed their identity yet. Still, there are some clues as to this person’s personality in an interview highlighted in the Sotheby’s preview of the auction.

In it, Shroomtoshi reveals that one of the reasons for the creation of the collection was to “orange pill” newcomers into the Bitcoin space. In addition, they shared some of their favorite images from BitcoinShrooms, including one where the Bitcoin emblem is emblazoned on top of a tie-dye peace sign.

Sotheby’s writes that Shroomtoshi is a technically-inclined artist and trailblazing figure in the “booming Ordinal ecosystem.” According to Sotheby’s, Shroomtoshi has an encyclopedic knowledge of Bitcoin, which they used to create a collection that “captures the cryptocurrency zeitgeist” through different modes.

Regardless of their identity, there’s no doubt that Shroomtoshi is making waves through their collection. And that is good news for the space.

Bitcoin Ordinals on the Rebound

Bitcoin Ordinals, the protocol that Casey Rodarmor debuted in January of this year, has taken flight once again after a brief period of lowered trading volume in the middle of the year. According to CryptoSlam, it is the No. 1 blockchain for NFTs in the past 30 days, surpassing Ethereum and Solana. The hard statistics are:

  • $453 million in total trading volume
  • Just $7.7 million in wash trading
  • 12,806 buyers, a rise of 326%

However, there is one caveat: Most of the action on the Bitcoin Ordinals protocol is occurring through BRC-20 NFTs, which are typically meme coins that have been minted on the chain. These are different than the art NFTs (or picture NFTs) that many people have come to associate with the technology. Still, the rise in trading volume is big news.

There’s no doubt that this period of increased spending is taking place differently this time around, with multiple ecosystems, including Solana and gaming, getting in on the action. If this does turn into a full-fledged bull run, we could see a mania unlike anything before, with everyone getting a piece of the pie.

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