At Scarce City, a marketplace for fine, Bitcoin-based goods, we’ve just sold a piece of artwork for 1 bitcoin in our debut Lightning Auction.
Lightning Auctions is a first-of-its-kind online marketplace that instantly and anonymously collateralizes bids on goods with minimal fees using the Lightning Network.
Participants pay a Lightning invoice with each bid that represents a small percentage of the bid amount. At an auction’s end, the highest bidder has 24 hours to pay the outstanding bid amount with an on-chain Bitcoin transaction. If they don’t, they lose their collateral and the next-highest bidder is given the chance to pay their highest bid. Once the item is paid for, remaining participants are refunded their collateral through a Lightning payment.
We debuted our Lightning Auctions with a stunning Bitcoin-themed mosaic, “Relentless Optimism” by Chiefmonkey and mosaic.rocks. Consisting of a phoenix taking flight with a physical bitcoin clutched in its claws, the work is inspired by the January 1988 cover of The Economist, an issue titled “Get ready for a world currency.”
Over three days, 19 participants placed 53 bids, totaling nearly 7 BTC. The gut wrenching finish included a bidding war that ended with a top bid of exactly 1 bitcoin from a mysterious participant who went by the name “MIKEZ.”
There were several moments when it seemed like the auction was over and then a last second bid would extend the auction countdown.
MIKEZ immediately paid the remaining balance of the bid, officially bringing the auction to a close. The resulting price tag for the artwork in U.S. dollar terms was approximately $19,100.
The response from the Bitcoin creative community has been astounding. It’s clear that a robust Bitcoin-based auction platform has been severely lacking.
Most importantly, the event showed that there’s strong demand for Bitcoin-based creative works when users are offered a good experience for bidding on them.
While we’re thrilled by the initial success, there are many opportunities to improve our marketplace with other tools in the Bitcoin stack. We’re most excited to expand our offering to digital art with Bitcoin-based non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
This is a guest post by Chris Tramount. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.
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