October 5, 2023
Mojito and Sotheby's: The $130M+ NFT Market Success
“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.
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.
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.