About 5% of Sotheby’s, Christie’s Contemporary Art Auctions Are NFTs

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have taken off in 2021 and so have auction houses sales of them, with Sothebys and Christies respectively selling $65 million and $100 million of NFTs this year, Reuters reported Monday (Nov. 8).

These sales account for roughly 5.5% of the houses’ contemporary art sales, according to Art Market Research data.

To pursue this emerging market, the auction houses are innovating further by both registering and negotiating with buyers over social media and sourcing NFTs directly from the artists, according to the report. However, while pursuing these opportunities, they are also facing some challenges.

The houses must get a handle on the cryptocurrencies that many buyers prefer to use to pay for NFTs, cope with know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) requirements and deal with disputes over the authenticity of the NFTs, Reuters found. 

“I think they’re normalizing the ecosystem, and I think that very soon they’ll find the right path,” Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile, a collector and buyer of both NFT and physical art, told Reuters.

See also: Alibaba Debuts NFT Art Metaverse for China’s Singles Day 

Last week, eCommerce company Alibaba rolled out a “Metaverse Art Exhibition,” a virtual space in which people can interact and explore NFT artworks by brands like Burberry, Alienware and others.

While some of the artwork in this exhibition has more than one print, each one has an identification number unique to the buyer, fully protected, the report said. 

See also: NFT Roundup: Demand For Digital Image Assets Moves Deeper Into Mainstream 

In October, Bank of America published a report saying crypto and NFTs are “too large to ignore.” At the time, observers estimated that so far this year, sales of NFTs have totaled anywhere from $7 billion to $13.2 billion.