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Sotheby's to Launch On-Chain NFT Marketplace

Tue, 02 May 2023, 09:46 am UTC

Sotheby's, the renowned auction house, has taken its deep dive into the Web3 world a step further by launching a portal on its Sotheby's Metaverse platform where peer-to-peer secondary sales of NFT artworks are conducted fully on-chain.

The secondary sales on Sotheby's Metaverse are powered entirely by smart contracts and allow collectors to pay in Ethereum or Polygon's native token MATIC using their self-hosted digital wallets.

Sotheby's Metaverse, which was launched in October 2021, supports NFT artwork minted on Ethereum and scaling network Polygon, which the auction house described as the "networks of choice for NFT creators and collectors" in a statement.

In addition, Sotheby's Metaverse is distinct from other peer-to-peer NFT marketplaces like OpenSea and Blur, as it offers a rotating, curated selection of leading artists handpicked by specialists at Sotheby's. The selection of artists for the secondary marketplace will change every few months, and collectors can list and make offers on NFTs from 13 creators that Sotheby's has deemed as leaders in the digital art world. The initial wave of artists includes Claire Silver, Sam Spratt, Tyler Hobbs, and the pseudonymous XCOPY.

Moreover, Sotheby's Metaverse is powered by Mojito, an NFT tech and commerce suite developed by Serotonin, a Web3 marketing firm and venture studio. The auction house said it became an early investor in Mojito in 2021. Sotheby's Vice President and Head of NFTs and Digital Art Michael Bouhanna described the new offering as an "important step forward" for the auction house, which was established in 1744, as it continues to evolve within the Web3 space.

Furthermore, the portal dedicated to secondary sales on Sotheby's Metaverse is also designed to honor secondary on-chain royalty fees specified by artists.

Creator royalties are fees taken from any secondary sales, typically 5% to 10% of the sale price, that are automatically sent to the artist's wallet. Sotheby's acknowledged that its decision comes amid a broader discussion about resale royalties in relation to NFTs.

NFTs are unique digital tokens that represent the ownership of an item, often digital art. Blockchain transactions are recorded on public ledgers, which naturally lend themselves to provenance, making NFTs valuable in terms of tracking their history of ownership.

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