October 5, 2023

Mojito and Sotheby's: The $130M+ NFT Market Success

Use Case

Sotheby’s, the prestigious auction house established in 1744, is the largest marketplace in the world for art and luxury.


Allow List 

Wallet Connect

Email Based Wallets

Art Blocks Integration

  • Minting API 
  • Standard auction, dutch auction, buy now, and free-to-earn distribution options
  • Secondary marketplace SDK 
  • Commerce operations like taxes and KYC/ AML
  • Crypto payments 
  • Fiat payments

“Mojito has given us a platform to provide the best possible web3 experience for our clients and scale our web3 strategy for the future.”

- Sebastian Fahey, Managing Director of Global Fine Art, Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s, the prestigious auction house established in 1744, is the largest marketplace in the world for art and luxury. Since its founding, Sotheby’s has repeatedly evolved to changing demand, becoming a cornerstone for the industry. 

Sotheby’s global collectors and buyers look for treasured, culturally significant, and valuable works of art. Because of the long history and reputation of Sotheby’s, buyers and sellers continue to choose the company for transacting the most valuable items in the world.

In early 2021, Sotheby's jumped into the digital art market just as it took off.

A new generation of wealth wanted to invest in digital art (with the option to pay using cryptocurrency). 

The historic auction house stood the test of time by discerning future demand. Sotheby’s remembered some of its most recent evolutions, like the demand shift to contemporary art and online auctions—this was no different.

After witnessing digital art selling in the millions and noticing the traditional art community's interest, Sotheby’s knew it needed to meet this rapidly growing demand. The auction house would otherwise miss out on sales and an entirely new community of buyers.

The challenge

While Sotheby’s created innovative solutions over the last few hundred years, it still faced challenges: It had never sold an NFT, let alone held an auction for it, and was missing out on significant sales.

How do you bring a 300-year-old auction house into the web3 ecosystem? 

Sotheby’s needed to create an elegant, compliant digital art market that would stand apart.

The executive team had critical questions:

  • Who are these investors that pay for digital art with crypto? 
  • What kind of experience and parameters do they expect in a digital auction format within web3? 
  • How can traditional art collectors join in a seamless way? 
  • How can we create the same high-class experience in web3?
  • Can we replicate the same auction process?
  • How can we make the marketplace experience smooth and secure?

Sotheby’s didn’t want to hold an auction or sell with existing third-party marketplaces like OpenSea or Nifty Gateway—an option with the same limitations as a retail store selling on Amazon or eBay. Sotheby’s is the best auction house in the world. It wanted to bring that reputation to web3. 

Sotheby’s needed a white-label solution that offered the branded, high-quality experience its community came to expect. Additionally, Sotheby’s required flexible auction features, security, and a partner that could lead the way to unite the traditional art community with a new generation of collectors.

The goal

Sotheby’s wanted to play a leading role in the emerging web3 luxury digital art market. It wanted to represent the finest, most recognized digital art buying experience, just as it does in their physical auctions. 

The auction house would need to establish a white-label, elegant digital art buying platform that’s proprietary, compliant, and stands apart from legacy marketplaces like OpenSea. When it came to high-class digital art, Sotheby’s would be the go-to marketplace.

The marketplace needed the ability to offer many auction types like a traditional auction, Dutch auction, and buy now. It needed the functionality allowing buyers to pay with crypto if they wanted to, and anyone could pay with fiat currency, bank wires, and more. Whether versed in web3 or not, every buyer can purchase and bid in a familiar experience.

Sotheby’s wanted to meet demand, offer an unparalleled experience, become the leader of the future art scene, and increase sales.

The solution

Sotheby’s searched for the right partner to make a premium white-label marketplace and help generate more revenue by meeting essential needs. This led the auction house to Mojito, and it became a founding customer and investor in the platform. 

Mojito’s marketplace integrates web3 solutions so brands can increase their sales and build a vibrant, loyal community. 

Our technology empowers Sotheby’s to sell digital art, hold onchain auctions, and host peer-to-peer secondary trading. It unleashed a new revenue stream, unlocked a new audience of buyers, and invited traditional buyers to the market.

Enter: Sotheby’s Metaverse. It is the most prestigious and respected NFT luxury art marketplace of its kind—representing the renowned reputation of Sotheby’s name, quality, and experience as an industry leader.

Mojito aided in the company’s legal and financial transitions as well, ensuring compliance and helping set up cryptocurrency acceptance. Sotheby’s and its customers can seamlessly transact in this new digital realm through Mojito's commerce stack.

White-label marketplace

Mojito developed Sotheby's marketplace so it could sell digital art. Since purchases are verified through the blockchain, buyers can experience the artwork wherever they want with digital ownership—just like in real life.

Mojito's white-label solution offers the high-class experience Sotheby's is famous for, now in the digital arena, too.

High-class auctions

Mojito offers standard auctions with ascending prices, limited edition Dutch auctions with descending prices, and more—all through secure and compliant transactions. Since the auctions use onchain technologies, Sotheby’s benefits from Mojito smart contracts, which include enforcing royalties and managing multi-party royalty splitting after a sale. Additionally, when someone gets outbid, those funds can be returned to them automatically. 

Inclusive payments

Sotheby’s needed a way to meet the demand of crypto-users while also welcoming a traditional art community that isn’t web3-knowledgeable. 

Mojito’s solution makes it possible to pay with cryptocurrency or purchase with regular methods like bank transfers, credit cards, and more. The user experience offers a traditional, easy-to-use checkout that’s recorded onchain. Everyone, no matter what method they prefer, can easily purchase digital art. 

Buyer benefits

Mojito’s platform creates a winning experience for buyers. Thanks to Mojito, Sotheby’s customers can display their artwork with third-party apps through technologies combining onchain and offchain data. As previously mentioned, they can also sell the artwork in different secondary marketplaces if they choose to.

Mojito’s technology provides complete ownership of the digital asset, and the buyer can prove ownership and provenance in the most secure, verifiable, and authentic way possible through the blockchain. During the entire life of the asset, a buyer and any interested parties can see its living records.

The result: $130+ million in sales

Through its pioneering platform, Sotheby’s has garnered over $130 million in digital art sales over the last two years. And it’s only going to increase. This is a huge accomplishment, considering Sotheby’s previously had no revenue from this category. Now the auction house has added another wing, bustling with collectors eager to invest in digital art ownership.

The news captured the world’s attention. Bloomberg reported it, describing the sale of Bored Ape Yacht Club with “first-time bidders flocking” to buy and participate in the event. Sotheby’s would make history during that auction, with Fortune stating the following:

“In October, Sotheby’s sold a rare BAYC NFT depicting an ape with gold fur for a record-breaking $3.4 million—the highest amount ever paid for a Bored Ape NFT. Less than 1% of all Bored Apes have gold fur, ‘making it an NFT with historical significance,’ the auction house said at the time.”

This was one of many cases of Sotheby’s Metaverse offering opportunities for collectors to buy from popular NFT-native art to digital contemporary art and more.

In November 2021, Sotheby’s sold physical artwork with cryptocurrency, creating a fully universal experience tied with web3 and familiar art buying experiences (for instance, the sale included work by the artist Banksy). 

The collaboration led to notable sales, showcasing Sotheby's innovation in this field. Beyond just digital art, Sotheby's realized the potential of blockchain technology in verifying the authenticity of physical items like paintings and watches. 

Impressively, the majority of Sotheby’s NFT buyers are first-time customers. This incredible achievement has opened up a new customer base and a door to younger generations. Meanwhile, traditional buyers can bid and purchase art with the same methods they’ve always used.

Sotheby’s has created a high-class experience reinforcing its prestigious brand, met its customers' demand, and increased its revenue. 

The auction house has solidified its future in this innovative space as digital ownership becomes even more necessary and web3 solutions grow in adoption.

Choosing Mojito

Mojito is an all-in-one enterprise solution for brands that want white-label web3 experiences. 

Mojito integrates with your CRM and most valuable tools to fully understand customer data and engagement and facilitate purchases. You can take full advantage of web3 benefits, the demand for digital ownership, new revenue streams, and more. 

We offer all the solutions you need for a successful web3 marketplace:

  • Minting API 
  • Standard auction, dutch auction, buy now, and free-to-earn distribution options
  • Secondary marketplace SDK 
  • Commerce operations like taxes and KYC/ AML
  • Crypto payments 
  • Fiat payments
  • And more

Today, Sotheby’s continues earning revenue and satisfying art collectors with our white-label solution. The auction house leads the way in web3 technologies and exceptional digital art.

Contact us today to take charge of your customer demand through a white-label web3 solution. Join the Sotheby’s legacy and offer an unmatched, remarkable brand experience for customers while growing your revenue.

You have the opportunity to meet consumer demand before anyone else. Brands can scale as digital ownership grows and customers seek solutions. 


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Mojito and Sotheby's: The $130M+ NFT Market Success

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