Christie’s Art Auction House Bets Big on Web3, Launches Investment Fund

July 20, 2022, 10:45 AM AEST - 3 weeks ago

Venerable auction house Christie’s has entered the intersection of art and finance with the establishment of Christie’s Ventures, an investment fund for fintech companies looking to make breakthroughs in the art market:

Christie’s, renowned for auctioning art treasures by van Gogh and more recently NFT art by Beeple, is also famous in crypto circles for auctioning off Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales’ first blog post in the form of an NFT, along with the iMac used by Wales when Wiki launched in 2001.

First Investment in LayerZero Labs

The Christie’s venture capital fund is aimed at making investments that “enable seamless art consumption”. The new fund will initially focus on three broad categories: Web3.0 innovation, art-related financial products, and solutions and technologies that enable seamless consumption of art.

The venture fund’s first investment will be in LayerZero Labs, a cross-chain interoperability company with a strong vision and business model. LayerZero Labs reduces friction in a client’s ability to move assets between blockchains. The project’s co-founder and CEO, Bryan Pellegrino, said in a statement: “We look forward to working with their team to find new and innovative ways to create the most accessible, frictionless experience with assets indexed over multiple blockchains.”

Christie’s has said its new fund will “work alongside portfolio companies to help accelerate their progress, simultaneously advancing Christie’s activities in the presentation, education, and sales of fine art and luxury goods”. According to Devang Thakkar, global head of Christie’s Ventures, “We will focus on products and services which can solve real business challenges, improve client experiences, and expand growth opportunities, both across the art market directly and for interactions with it.”

Auction Houses Step Into the Metaverse

Christie’s is not the only auction house to dabble in the metaverse and Web3 space. In October 2021, Sotheby’s launched its own NFT marketplace, dubbed “Sotheby’s Metaverse”, becoming the first auction house to do so. The platform is powered by Mojito, an NFT studio and technology platform that provides services including brand identity, strategy, and management for NFT businesses.

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