Sotheby’s NFT Market Nears $1 Billion Amid Rising Bitcoin Value


  • Sotheby’s achieved a remarkable $35 million in digital art sales in 2023, marking a significant year for the industry.
  • The auction house hosted its first live digital art auction, attracting 300 attendees and generating $12 million.
  • Sotheby’s Metaverse, an on-chain marketplace for NFTs, was launched, reinforcing its commitment to digital art.

In a remarkable display of digital art’s burgeoning market value, Sotheby’s, the esteemed British-American auction house, has achieved a staggering $35 million in sales this year. This figure, disclosed by Michael Bouhanna, the Vice President and head of digital art at Sotheby’s, underscores 2023 as a pivotal year for the digital art domain.

Sotheby’s has embraced the digital revolution, hosting its first live digital art auction with 300 attendees and generating $12 million. This event forms part of the over 25 auctions conducted by the house this year, either dedicated to digital art or incorporating it within contemporary art sales. Highlighting its commitment to this new era of art, Sotheby’s also launched Sotheby’s Metaverse, an on-chain marketplace designed for the secondary trade of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).

A landmark sale was the NFT titled “Ringers #879” by digital artist Dmitri Cherniak, which fetched $6.2 million, setting a record for the highest fee for a digital artwork at Sotheby’s. This sale, among others, signals a robust interest and confidence in digital art as a valuable asset.

Moreover, Sotheby’s has witnessed a substantial increase in overall trade volume, nearing $1 billion in November. The average value of NFT transactions during this period spiked by 114%, indicating a growing inclination among users towards higher-value trades. This trend aligns with the recent Bitcoin bull run, further energizing the NFT market.

Sotheby’s plans to continue this momentum in 2024, focusing on supporting creators and enhancing their primary market strategies. This strategic move highlights the auction house’s dedication to selling digital art and fostering the growth of digital artists and the ecosystem surrounding them. 

Sotheby’s initial foray into the NFT market began in April 2021 with Pak, a pseudonymous digital artist, auctioning work. Since then, the auction house has been a consistent presence in the digital art scene, facilitating several record-breaking sales and establishing itself as a significant player in this evolving market.

The ascent of Sotheby’s in the digital art sphere, marked by these impressive sales figures and strategic initiatives, reflects digital art’s growing acceptance and valuation in the broader art market. This shift heralds a new era in the art world, where traditional and digital forms coexist and thrive, enriching the landscape with diverse and innovative expressions of creativity.