In keeping with the collective embracement of virtual spaces that’s taken place of late, Sotheby’s has opened its first-ever virtual gallery, Decentraland, which is a platform built on power generated by the Ethereum blockchain. A massive and unavoidable sea change has been unfolding within the art world over the last couple of years, but it has accelerated exponentially in recent months due to the victory of NFT artist Beeple at Christie’s. Therefore, it tracks that Sotheby’s, which recently began accepting Ether and Bitcoin in exchange for artwork, is marking the opening of Decentraland with an inaugural sale of NFTs called “Natively Digital.”
The NFTs that will be for sale include both the work of early, pioneering crypto artists in the field and more recent blockbuster stars; some of the names represented in the sale are Rhea Myers, Lethabo Huma, and Larva Labs. Recently, Christie’s scored a huge win with the $16.9 million sale of 9 Cryptopunks NFTs manufactured by Larva Labs, so that listing in particular is likely to score comparable dividends for Sotheby’s. Additionally, within the virtual gallery, users of Decentraland have the ability to purchase plots of land that they can later monetize or develop.
“We are excited to recreate Sotheby’s historic London galleries in Decentraland as an online viewing experience,” Michael Bouhanna, a Sotheby’s Specialist and Head of Sales, said in a statement. “We see spaces like Decentraland as the next frontier for digital art where artists, collectors and viewers alike can engage with one another from anywhere in the world and showcase art that is fundamentally scarce and unique, but accessible to anyone for viewing. This past year has been one of adaptation and growth for Sotheby’s and we are having fun exploring new facets of the digital art world through our collaboration with the Decentraland community.”