Sotheby’s, the British auction house, will be holding its first digital art ‘metaverse’ auction between 18-26 October.

A metaverse refers to a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.

The auction, named Natively Digital 1.2: The Collectors, will consist of 53 lots of culturally significant art from 19 different collectors.

The weeklong experience will allow visitors to view digital artworks that are available at auction, as well as learn about some of the artists behind the non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

NFTs are used to represent ownership of real-world items, like art, but cannot be traded as a currency.

Sotheby’s involvement underscores the explosion of interest in digital art in what is relatively uncharted territory for the auction house.

The group held its first sale of NFTs in April by an artist called Pak, which fetched US$16.8mln over a three-day drop (a sale).

Demand for luxury NFTs has skyrocketed this year.

Christie’s, a competitor to Sotheby’s, hosted a ‘drop’ by Beeple in April, an American digital artist. His artwork sold for a record US$63.9mln at the auction.

Max Moore, Sotheby’s co-head of the digital art sales and head of contemporary art auctions, said, “We have spent months exploring every aspect of the digital art landscape, aligning with some of the most influential minds of the NFT movement to architect a custom marketplace that prioritizes curation and customization.”

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