The 256-year-old Christie’s auction house has launched Christie’s 3.0, a new on-chain Ethereum NFT marketplace anchored by an exclusive collection from Diana Sinclair.
There’s no stopping 256-year-old Christie’s auction house from establishing its presence in the Web3 space. To fully embrace the decentralized ethos of the Web3 world, the storied auction house has launched Christie’s 3.0, a marketplace where auctions take place on the public Ethereum blockchain.
It will be remembered that in March 2021, Christie’s made a big splash in the NFT space when it handled the auctioning of Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days.” It was able to auction the artwork for $69.3 million.
A Closer Look at Christie’s 3.0
On Wednesday, Christie’s 3.0 was launched in partnership with Manifold, a startup focused on smart contracts. Smart contracts are codes powering NFTs and other decentralized apps. Christie’s likewise collaborated with Chainalysis, a blockchain analytics firm, and Spatial, a Metaverse platform, to integrate more functionality into Christie’s 3.0.
One reason Christie’s 3.0 marketplace is built is to enable the recording of transactions in full on the Ethereum blockchain. Although Christie’s previous NFT auctions were headline-grabbing, the actual transactions were not conducted on-chain. On-chain transactions are essential as these provide transparency regarding payment flow and the wallets used for the transactions.
Christie’s 3.0 aims to reshape such an approach by incorporating on-chain transactions similar to the approach taken by marketplaces like OpenSea and Rarible. Buyers only need to connect their wallets to start bidding on NFTs. Moreover, tools for compliance and tax purposes are likewise provided.
Christie’s director of digital art sales, Nicole Sales Giles, said in a press release that Christie’s 3.0 would “offer the public the opportunity to collect exceptional NFTs in the way they are meant to be transacted, on-chain.” Still, the esteemed auction house will continue its thrust on curation instead of allowing anyone to list their artwork or collectibles.
Giles recently replaced Noah Davis, Christie’s Web3 expert, after the latter jumped ship to Yuga Labs, the parent company of Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks. Before that, Giles was in her tenth year in Christie’s contemporary art department. She started working on NFTs after Christie’s sold Beeple’s work in 2021. Davis left to take on the position of Brand Lead for CryptoPunks.
“This is a platform for us to more rapidly scale our digital art offerings and do more frequent emerging artists auctions and work with a more diverse array of artists and collectors,” Giles said of Christie’s 3.0.
Christie’s 3.0 Initial Offering
Don’t expect Christie’s 3.0’s launch to be all frills, though. For its initial offering, Christie’s concentrates on one exclusive project—a collection of nine NFTs from 18-year-old multidisciplinary artist Diana Sinclair.
A Still from Diana Sinclair’s “Doomsday” NFT Artwork, One of Christie’s 3.0’s Featured NFTs
Sinclair was recently signed to the United Talent Agency (UTA). Her NFTs are short video works estimated at 6-8 ETH or around $7,990-$10,650. Incidentally, UTA also signed Andrew Wang (NFT influencer), Vinnie Hager (NFT artist), and many others connected to the NFT world just this past August, which is a testament to the talent agency’s vote of confidence in NFTs considering the current state of the industry.
Meanwhile, Sotheby’s, Christie’s chief rival in the high-end auction space, also has an NFT marketplace. It launched Sotheby’s Metaverse NFT marketplace in October 2021 and has even hosted its share of high-profile, real-world NFT auctions. Still, it has primarily delivered mixed results. Hence, Giles is making it clear that they don’t intend Christie’s 3.0 to replace traditional auctioning.
“We don’t see Christie’s 3.0 replacing out [the] placement of very high caliber NFTs in traditional evening sales or anything like that,” she said.
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