Sotheby’s Metaverse gets an upgrade – ARTnews.com
Courtesy of Sotheby’s
Sotheby’s Metaverse, the auction house’s NFT marketplace, is getting an upgrade. The marketplace is now expanded to include not only offers on the primary market, but also secondary sales, through which collectors can sell directly to each other.
“The first phase of our launch has successfully demonstrated that our traditional and digitally native collectors alike can grow into a new community around Sotheby’s,” said Sebastian Fahey, managing director of Sotheby’s Metaverse, in a press release. “Now we are evolving our platform to offer the community new and more seamless ways to discover and collect new forms of digital collectibles.”
The auction house is realigning Metaverse to run fully on-chain, enabling peer-to-peer transactions on both Ethereum and Polygon. Still, it will work very differently than secondary NFT marketplaces like OpenSea, where any user can upload any NFTs You want to.
In the early stages of the new Metaverse, collectors can list works by just 13 artists: Tyler Hobbs, Claire Silver, XCOPY, Diana Sinclair, IX Shells, Sarah Zucker, Refik Anadol, Sofia Crespo, Sam Spratt, Pindar van Arman, Osinachi, Hackatao, and Sebastião Salgado. This strategy allows Metaverse to circumvent some of the issues that other secondary platforms have faced.
OpenSea was constantly inundated with plagiarized, shoddy, or stolen NFT projects, leaving collectors feeling not only burned by scammers, but also by a market that could offer little compensation for lost investments. By limiting the works that collectors can list, Metaverse can better avoid dealing with bad actors while keeping the quality of the works on offer high.
Metaverse is also committed to enforcing artist royalties, which used to be an integral part of NFT sales but are now present become optional on all other major NFT marketplaces as the market took a downturn.
The auction house launched for the first time Metaverse in fall 2021. Shortly thereafter, the site held its first auction with its second-ever Natively Digital sale (titled Natively Digital 1.2). Launching in a still-hot market, the auction generated a whopping $18.6 million in sales, featuring works by generative artists Dmitri Cherniak and IX Shells, as well as profile picture NFT collections such as Bored Ape Yacht Club.
Since that debut, however, Metaverse has only offered to sell individual NFT collections, such as a series of NFTs with photos by Sebastiao Salgado sold for charity, or Erick Calderon’s Chromie Squiggles NFT project. Sotheby’s recurring Natively Digital sales, like the recent “Glitch: Beyond Binary“Were hosted on Sotheby’s main online bidding platform, rather than on Metaverse as anticipated when the marketplace launched. It’s unclear why.
“We will continue to host sales through Sothebys.com and Sotheby’s Metaverse as using both platforms allows us greater flexibility in primary and secondary market sales,” said Michael Bouhanna, head of digital arts and NFTs at Sotheby’s, in a comment ARTnews. “With both platforms, we are better positioned to strategically bring sales to market and provide customers with a greater range of options.”
Update 04.05.23 17:48: Commentary from Sotheby’s has been added to this article.