Sotheby’s announces its first Bitcoin Ordinals sale

The collection has not previously been available to the public

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Kauka Jarvi/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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Sotheby’s digital art arm announced that it would be auctioning off pieces from BitcoinShrooms, a Bitcoin Ordinals project designed by artist Shroomtoshi.

The BitcoinShrooms collection was originally minted on-chain back on Oct. 22. Both the BitcoinShroom website and X account claim that it’s the “first ever Ordinals collection.” 

“Within the BitcoinShrooms collection lies a trove of references — from iconic Bitcoin memes to advanced technical concepts— a visual symphony that captures Bitcoin’s essence from the perspective of someone there since the early days,” Sotheby’s wrote

The auction will go from Dec. 6 to Dec. 13, and three pieces are currently available to bid on. 

The collection includes two shroom individuals and a pixelated avocado seed dubbed BIP39 — the common standard for creating a mnemonic code which is needed for seed phrases. All three are expected to fetch around $20,000 to $30,000, though the auction house also accepts bids in crypto. 

“The BitcoinShrooms collection is a pixelated recap of the first 13 years of Bitcoin, a homage to the 8-bit style of art that expresses a slight nostalgia for the 90s, a way to soil 10s of thousands of SSDs spread across the world with my art (->next level cyber-vandalism), a tool to raise awareness about Bitcoin and what I personally view as its core principles, an ironic way to vent at what I see as its annoying pop elements and aberrations,” Shroomtoshi said about the Ordinals. 

“It is a thank you to those I worked with and learned from, to those who are not around anymore but whose name should not be forgotten. it is knowledge condensed and a journey for the curious.”

The collection includes over 200 pieces, which are intended to pay homage to bitcoin’s history. These include depictions of a private key, a pixelated character wearing a ‘mountain’ hat as a nod to the Mt. Gox incident, an enigmatic figure with a question mark to represent anonymity, and an illustration of a ‘fiery’ hot wallet, among others.

The collection also seemingly includes representations of iconic characters and logos from well-known franchises like Batman, Iron Man, Wall-e and Super Mario.

The BitcoinShrooms account on X boasts around 13,000 followers. It is unclear who Shroomtoshi is, as the artist has not made their identity public.  

In a post on X prior to the announcement, Sotheby’s head of digital art Michael Bouhanna teased the auction. He shared an AI generated image of an auction room with mushrooms and bitcoin on a screen.

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Following the announcement, he made a post proclaiming that the art auction would mark the first time that Sotheby’s has sold Ordinals. 

Ordinals on the Bitcoin blockchain are conceptually similar to NFTs. They utilize the Ordinals protocol to inscribe data onto individual satoshis, the smallest denomination of Bitcoin, creating unique digital assets that can include art, collectibles, or other forms of content.

By the end of November, analysts from JPMorgan noted that the advent of Ordinals had sparked ‘renewed interest’ in the NFTs space.

Since that time, exchanges like Binance and OKX have opened their doors for Ordinals trading.


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