Phillips to Accept Cryptocurrency for a Physical Artwork for the First Time

Sunday, May 9, 2021
Phillips to Accept Cryptocurrency for a Physical Artwork for the First Time

Phillips Auction House to Accept Cryptocurrency for Banksy’s ‘Laugh Now Panel A’ in the 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale in Collaboration with Poly Auction

Phillips has announced that they will accept cryptocurrency as an optional payment method for Banksy’s “Laugh Now Panel A” (Estimate:HK$22,000,000 – 32,000,000/ US$ 2,820,000 - 4,100,000), to be offered in the 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale in collaboration with Poly Auction. The two houses kicked off the Asia touring previews in Beijing this week with the exhibition now opening in Shanghai today, before travelling to Shenzhen, Taipei, Taichung and Hong Kong, ahead of the auctions on 7-8 June.

This marks the first time a major auction house in Asia will accept Bitcoin or Ether as a payment option for a physical work of art. Bidding for Laugh Now Panel A will be conducted in Hong Kong Dollars, and the winning buyer will have the option to pay the hammer price as well as the buyer’s premium with cryptocurrency into the Company’s wallet with Coinbase.

Banksy, “Laugh Now Panel A”, 2002. 

Asian buyers and collectors are ahead of the market and continue to be receptive to innovative ideas. From the world’s first major NFT exhibition held in China, to Asia’s first NFT music video art series launched by the acclaimed Hong Kong photographer Wing Shya in collaboration with Chinese pop singer Eric Chou, discussions surrounding NFTs and cryptocurrencies remain prevalent across the region. As Phillips continues to diversify and experiment with its offerings in its Asia sales, and in response to the increasing number of collectors who are tech-sensitive, the company is excited to introduce cryptocurrencies as a payment method for a physical artwork for the first time in company history at the marquee Evening Sale in Asia.

“Laugh Now Panel A”, 2002, hails from anonymous artist and social activist Banksy’s well-known Laugh Now series. For the past two decades, Banksy’s work has drawn both praise and controversy, and nowhere is his simultaneous appeal and notoriety more present than in the present work, “Laugh Now Panel A”. It portrays a forlorn monkey, wearing a sandwich-board bearing a very specific memo: “Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge”. Comprised of his signature means of urban expression—namely with the depicted board spray-painted with his own stencil designs—the sardonic work perfectly encapsulates Banksy’s modus operandi while conjuring dark and cynical thematic undertones.

Banksy has been a disruptor in the art world with his distinctive oeuvre characterized by dark humour, satire and political commentary. Many of Banksy’s iconic original murals were transformed into canvas and editioned prints by the artist, allowing for the dissemination of his mischievous and satirical messages to wider audiences. By offering participants this new payment option to acquire “Laugh Now Panel A”, Phillips connects Banksy’s bold creations with tech-savvy collectors eager to quickly adapt to new technological advances.

The live auction will be streamed to audiences worldwide on Phillips.com and the Phillips app, as well as on the Poly Auction app and WeChat Mini Program.

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