What happens when the world of cryptocurrency and fine art collide?
One company is exploring what it might be like to bring the two things together. Paddle8, a company that describes itself as “the auction house for the 21st-century collector,” is taking a cheeky approach as they enter the world of bitcoin.
How so? They’ve planned an online auction event for August they’ve named “Bidcoin” to sell money-themed fine art and collectables in an effort to normalize cryptocurrency auctioneering in a playful and splashy way.
They didn’t make the decision on a whim. In 2015, Paddle8 hired bitcoin billionaires Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss to advise their company on how to grow in the changing digital economy. The Winklevoss twins encouraged the company to embrace the crypto community, but for most of the last year Paddle8 has been busy tackling other business tasks.
After merging with European-based Auctionata in late 2016, Paddle8 saw their new counterpart file bankruptcy, causing a good deal of chaos and a mountain of damage-control work. Now that things are relatively more under control, Paddle8’s cofounder Alexander Gilkes says his main priority is “getting back to basics.”
Paddle8 has taken on a new Swiss-based e-commerce partner company called The Native to provide Paddle Lab with a new $8.8 million investment. Paddle Lab will tackle the challenge of developing a technological framework for efficiently coordinating Paddle8’s bitcoin transition efforts.
Making the move of course will carry challenges. Cryptocurrency’s future is in flux—it brings huge returns for some, and strikes fear into the hearts of others. Some companies are making huge profits and seeing stock share boosts due to business moves involving cryptocurrency, but regulatory agencies continue to issue warnings as new fraud cases surrounding digital currencies pile up. The industry is anything but stable.
Nonetheless, Paddle8 and The Native are projecting confidence, arguing that they vet their clients well and are have already taken steps toward managing risks. Whether this is true or not, they’ll be launching Bidcoin on August 18, 2018 to celebrate bitcoin’s 10-year anniversary.