Sotheby’s, one of the most prominent auction houses in the world, has revealed that it will be hosting an auction for a collection of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) named “Grails,” which belong to the now-bankrupt hedge fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC). Sotheby’s has described the collection as “unparalleled,” containing NFTs from some of the most well-known artists and valuable projects in Web3.
The “Grails” collection will be sold via auctions, private sales, and other methods. Sotheby’s has highlighted some of the pieces in the collection, including Art Blocks Fidenza #216 by Tyler Hobbs, Ringers #879 by Dmitri Cherniak, Chromie Squiggle #1780 by Art Blocks founder Erick “Snowfro” Calderon, and CryptoPunks NFT #6649 and Autoglyph #187 by Larva Labs.
Three Arrows Capital was a digital asset firm that went bankrupt last year, co-founded by Kyle Davies and Su Zhu, owing $3.5 billion to creditors. Sotheby’s will be auctioning off the NFTs seized from the hedge fund, which are estimated to be worth around $23 million.
One of the most significant collections of digital art ever assembled is coming to auction at Sotheby's across a series of multiple sales throughout 2023.— Sotheby's Metaverse (@Sothebysverse) April 19, 2023
It all starts 19 May during the Marquee Sale Week at Sotheby’s New York. https://t.co/SrjdtubD3W #SothebysGRAILS pic.twitter.com/AoXRNAbUq7
Sotheby’s has committed to continuing to “honor creators’ royalties for secondary sales” to stay true to the ideals within the Web3 space. The first auction from the collection will take place in May during Sotheby’s “marquee sale week,” which is one of the most anticipated moments in the annual auction calendar for contemporary and modern art.
The sale of NFTs at such a prominent auction house as Sotheby’s further underscores the growing importance of digital art in the contemporary art world. With the emergence of blockchain technology, the art world has been transformed, and NFTs are the latest innovation in this space.
(1/4) It's hard to put into words what the Goose Ringer has meant for me in this past 7 months. I remember the first day that images of @dmitricherniak's Ringers project was shared before launch and feeling something click for me as to what was possible with generative art. pic.twitter.com/YauuI91B29— pixelpete (@pixelpete) August 27, 2021
Although risk management was not one of 3AC’s strengths, Sotheby’s Head of Digital Art and NFTs, Michael Bouhanna, acknowledged the hedge fund’s eye for fine art. He stated that the Grails collection “marks an important moment in the rise of generative art on the blockchain in 2021” and was “guided by the 3AC ethos of acquiring […] some of the highest quality and rarest works available on the market.”
The sale of the “Grails” collection comes at a time when NFTs are becoming increasingly popular as an asset class. NFTs have been referred to as a “digital gold rush” and are changing the way art is bought and sold. The market for NFTs is growing at an exponential rate, with many investors seeing them as a new asset class to invest in.
With Sotheby’s hosting the auction for the “Grails” collection, it is clear that NFTs have now entered the mainstream art world. NFTs are no longer a niche area of the art world but are now an established and respected asset class. This is an exciting development for both the art world and investors, and it will be fascinating to see how this market evolves in the coming years.