Christie's, the auction house known for its sales of art and luxury items, has launched an investment fund to support emerging companies with technology enabling “seamless consumption of art.”
In a Monday announcement, the auction company said the fund, Christie’s Ventures, will financially support firms in Web3, “art-related financial products and solutions,” and technology related to art and luxury goods. According to Christie’s, its first investment will be in LayerZero Labs, a company developing solutions for enabling omnichain decentralized applications, allowing a more seamless transfer of assets between blockchains.
“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,” said Christie’s Ventures global head Devang Thakkar.
The move into blockchain-related investments represented another step for Christie’s to support ventures in the crypto space. In 2021, the company hosted an auction for a piece of nonfungible artwork from Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, raising more than $69 million. Since then, it has held several high-profile sales for NFT artwork and partnered with the OpenSea online marketplace for on-chain auctions.
2022 is shaping up to be a record year for blockchain-related venture funding. As Cointelegraph reported, blockchain- and crypto-focused firms raised $14.8 billion in the first quarter of the year, nearly half of 2021's totals. Although activity has waned due to the bear market, startups with a focus on Web3 and the Metaverse continue to attract significant capital.