Contemporary Art

Bidder’s Guide: NFTs and Cryptocurrency at Sotheby’s

New York | 10 June 2021

How to create an individual bidding account with Sotheby’s:

1. Go to www.Sothebys.com and click ‘Log In’ at the top of the homepage
2. Scroll down and click ‘Sign Up’
3. Follow the prompts to create a Sotheby’s login, then click ‘My Account’ at the top of the page
4. An email will be sent to you asking you to confirm your email address. Once you have received this, please click ‘Confirm Email’ – if you do not receive this email, please log in and visit ‘My Account’, then ‘Profile’ and click ‘Resend verification email’.
5. Once your email is confirmed, navigate to ‘My Account’ and click ‘Verify Your Account’. Enter the required personal information and credit card details. There will be a $1.00 temporary charge to your card for verification purposes
6. You will then see an on-screen notification that your profile is complete and you are ready to bid
7. If you plan to participate in an auction, please visit the Sotheby’s app (iOS) and upload your government-issued photo ID, which will be required to release any auction purchases. You may also email a copy of your ID to the Bids Department (bids.newyork@sothebys.com and/or bids.london@sothebys.com). Please include your account number if possible.

If you have any questions about creating an account or wish to create a joint or business account, please contact the Bids Department at bids.london@sothebys.com or our Client Care team at enquiries@sothebys.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does bidding work?

Instructions for how to bid can be found at www.sothebys.com/bidonline.

What are my payment options?

If a lot indicates “Cryptocurrency Payments,” Sotheby’s will accept BTC and ETH as payment, as well as our traditional payment methods: wire transfer, credit card up to $50,000 (Visa, AMEX, or Mastercard), China UnionPay, or check.

Cryptocurrency payments from only the following exchange wallets will be accepted. Payments from self-hosted wallets will not be accepted for this auction.

–Coinbase Custody Trust;
–Coinbase, Inc. (including Coinbase, Coinbase Pro and Coinbase Prime accounts);
–Fidelity Digital Assets Services, LLC.
–Gemini Trust Company, LLC; or
–Paxos Trust Company, LLC.

Payments from digital wallets hosted at other exchanges or self-hosted wallets will not be recognised or accepted and in such circumstances payment will be required in US dollars.

If you are the successful bidder, you agree to provide us with all information and documentation we request in order to verify your identity and to confirm that the ether or bitcoin payment was made from a digital wallet registered in your name and maintained by one of the platforms above.

Partial payments of a lot from multiple digital wallets will not be accepted.

How does the payment process work?

NFTs: Buyers of NFT lots will be required to complete a declaration statement providing Sotheby’s with the billing address, along with supporting documentation for that billing address, before an invoice can be issued. Sotheby’s will also ask the buyer to indicate if they wish to pay with BTC or ETH. If that is the case, Sotheby’s will request a cryptocurrency wallet address to review at one of the five accepted exchanges. Once all information has been verified, Sotheby’s will send an invoice and, if applicable, a Coinbase Commerce payment link, which will enable payments in BTC or ETH. Please note: your government-issued photo ID must be on file with Sotheby’s before Sotheby’s will send you the payment link. Cryptocurrency payments must be remitted from one of the five approved exchange wallet types (see above) within ten business days of receipt of the invoice.

Non-NFTs: Sotheby’s will ask winning bidders to indicate if they wish to pay with BTC or ETH. If that is the case, Sotheby’s will request a cryptocurrency wallet address to review at one of the five accepted exchanges. Once all information has been verified, Sotheby’s will send an invoice and a Coinbase Commerce payment link, which will enable payments in BTC or ETH. Please note: your government-issued photo ID must be on file with Sotheby’s before Sotheby’s will send you the payment link. Cryptocurrency payments must be remitted from one of the five approved exchange wallet types (see above) within ten business days of receipt of the invoice.

How is NFT ownership transferred?

Sotheby’s will request from the Buyer a valid ETH address that supports NFTs (ERC721 and ERC20). Sotheby’s will then authorize and direct the transfer of the NFT from the seller or the seller’s agent to the Buyer’s wallet. Please note, exchange addresses will not be accepted for transfer of the NFT.

Can Sotheby’s help me set up a wallet to receive the NFT?

Sotheby’s would be happy to connect you with a preferred partner who can assist you. Please contact the Head of Sale, listed on the sale’s Auction Details page, for more information.

Who owns the copyright?

The purchase of any NFT in this sale does not constitute or include an assignment of any copyright in or to the NFT or the Referenced Content. Please refer to the Conditions of Business for Buyers for further details.

Will I be charged sales tax, VAT or any other indirect taxes?

Please note that many jurisdictions will consider the sale of NFT’s to be the sale of digital property or goods or an Electronically Supplied Service subject to the buyers’ local indirect taxes.

Sotheby’s will collect any applicable sales tax, compensating use tax, VAT, consumption tax, goods or services tax or other indirect taxes, luxury tax, excise tax, and duties or tariffs on the purchase of NFTs where and as required by applicable law. In most cases, such determination will be based on the billing address of the Buyer. For the lots that include physical objects associated with them, tax may be collected on those lots based on the physical delivery address and not billing address.

Most states that impose sales taxes allow for specified exemptions to the tax. For example, a registered re-seller such as a registered art dealer may purchase without incurring a tax liability, and Sotheby’s is not required to collect sales tax from such re-seller. The art dealer, when re-selling the property, may be required to charge sales tax to its client, or the client may be required to self-assess sales or use tax upon acquiring the property. Sotheby’s is required to request a properly completed resale certificate to document that the purchase is for resale. If you wish to provide a resale certificate for your purchase, please contact our Post Sale Services team.

The winning bidders will be provided with a declaration statement, which they will be required to complete to provide us with the billing address, and return to Sotheby’s, along with supporting documentation for that billing address, before an invoice can be issued.

Contact information

Please contact the sale location’s Bids Department (bids.newyork@sothebys.com, bids.london@sothebys.com, bids.hongkong@sothebys.com, bids.geneva@sothebys.com, bids.paris@sothebys.com, bids.milan@sothebys.com) with any questions about bidding in an auction or paying with cryptocurrency.

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