Sotheby’s chairman to join BlockBar as COO
NFT marketplace BlockBar has appointed Sotheby’s chairman Jamie Ritchie as its new chief operating officer.
Founded in October 2021, BlockBar sells wine and spirits authenticated through the blockchain.
Ritchie will become chief operating officer for the company in July after working at auction house Sotheby’s for 32 years.
He joined Sotheby’s in London in 1990 and was responsible for opening Sotheby’s wine auctions in New York, Hong Kong and France, as well as Sotheby’s spirits category.
Under Ritchie’s leadership, Sotheby’s wine and spirits auction revenues reached US$132 million in 2021.
Dov Falic, co-founder and CEO of BlockBar, said: “Jamie Ritchie is recognised worldwide as a leader in the wine and spirits industry, and we are delighted and honoured that he is joining our team.
“The fact that he has chosen to join an innovative start-up like BlockBar is a testament to our business model and will help us to play a leading role in the evolution of the distribution of wine and spirits worldwide.”
BlockBar saw sales reach US$7m in its first year, with revenue expected to more than triple in its second year.
“Based on the tremendous response to the unique bottles offered on our platform during our first year of operations, we are very confident about BlockBar’s rapid growth and we project significant revenue multiples over the next few years,” Falic added.
BlockBar sources spirits directly from brand owners, including Moët Hennessy, Diageo, Rémy Cointreau, Bacardi and Pernod Ricard.
Every physical bottle sold on BlockBar comes with a digital version that can be traced back to the winery or distillery. The physical bottles are stored in a facility in Singapore and can be shipped anywhere in the world.
Irish Distillers’ Midleton Very Rare The Pinnacle Vintage is the fastest sale to date on BlockBar, and the most valuable whiskey at US$130,000.
The most expensive NFT sold on the platform was the Hennessy 8 Cognac, which fetched 70.47 ethereum (US$226,000).