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Sotheby’s EtherRock Auction Closes Wednesday, Expected to Fetch Over $600K

Sotheby’s, the renowned British auction house with a history spanning 279 years, is poised to finalize the sale of an EtherRock (EthRock) non-fungible token (NFT) on Wednesday, through a sealed bid auction.

According to the decentralized prediction market website Polymarket, there is a 57% probability that the EtherRock NFT will fetch over $600,000 at the Sotheby’s auction. Notably, on February 12th, EtherRock number 46 was sold for $496,658.

For those unfamiliar with the term ‘sealed-bid auction,’ it is a type of auction where bids remain undisclosed until the actual auction date, in this case, Wednesday. Bids are securely sealed in envelopes and opened simultaneously.

EtherRock NFTs are digital collectibles symbolizing ownership of virtual rocks on the Ethereum blockchain. Each EtherRock is a distinct token, with ownership securely recorded on the blockchain, granting buyers the ability to purchase, sell, and trade these digital rocks akin to physical collectibles. They have garnered attention for their simplicity and rarity, as only 100 EtherRocks exist, making them highly coveted by collectors in the NFT arena.

Sotheby’s Achieved $30M in NFT Sales 2023

Sotheby’s spokesperson revealed that in 2023, the auction house achieved over $30 million in total sales of digital art or NFTs, representing a notable 50% increase compared to the previous year.

Highlighting some key sales events, the spokesperson mentioned multiple auctions from the Three Arrows Capital (3AC) collection, including a dedicated live auction in June that amassed over $11 million. One standout piece from that sale was Dmitri Cherniak’s work, “The Goose,” which fetched $6.2 million.

NFTs surged in popularity in 2021, with trading volume surpassing $23 billion, as reported by Rachel Wolfson from Cryptonews. However, in 2022, the NFT industry experienced a significant downturn following the collapse of the crypto exchange FTX and a major market downturn. Wolfson also noted that while organizations aim to establish regulatory frameworks for NFTs, confusion surrounding these digital assets persists.

Sotheby’s Breakdown of Digital Art Sales

In the January auction, the GRAILS: Starry Night collection fetched a total of $1,046,099, significantly surpassing its pre-sale estimate range of $339,500 to $480,700. Notably, the final sale total more than doubled the initial estimates. Sotheby’s reported that 55% of bidders were under the age of 40, and approximately 40% of buyers fell within the same age group. Additionally, the auction house noted that 53% of buyers were new to Sotheby’s.

Another highlight from the January auction was the Natively Digital: An Ordinals Curated Sale, where 19 lots sold for a total of $1,097,534. This figure was more than double the low estimate for the sale, which was initially set at $412,000. Sotheby’s disclosed that there were a total of 641 bids, with 78% of buyers being new to Sotheby’s, and over 50% of bidders were under the age of 40.

Furthermore, the BitcoinShrooms: An Ordinals Auction, held in December, saw all three lots being sold for a total of $450,850. This total was five times the high estimate for the combined lots, originally estimated at $60,000 to $90,000. This sale notably marked the first-ever Ordinals sale at Sotheby’s.

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