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The World of Pop Music Plays the Sound of Crypto

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read

Pop music appears to have embarked on a mission to embrace cryptocurrencies in 2018. This time, South Korea’s two national obsessions, crypto and K-pop, have finally converged, with two of the biggest names in Korean popular music issuing altcoins.

Eunjung and Qri, members of chart-topping girl group T-ara, have signed a contract with ENT Cash, an Australia-based blockchain startup run by South Koreans. South Korean law prohibits companies based in the country from launching cryptocurrencies.

ENT Cash has revealed that it will be issuing the T-ara themed coins in the stars’ names: in the form of Eunjung Cash and Qri Cash currencies. To buy tokens, fans of the stars will need to buy ENT Cash tokens and then exchange these on ENT’s platform for Eunjung Cash or Qri Cash.

South Korean entertainment journalist Choi Eun-young told, “The crossover potential is massive. Many of T-ara’s fans are young men in their 20s and 30s – and that just happens to be the demographic group in Korea that is most into cryptocurrencies. Do currencies like these have staying power or are they just a fad? Only time will tell us. But one thing’s for sure: This is a sure-fire way to get people’s attention.”

ENT’s blockchain platform was last year used as a payment method for tickets for a solo K-pop concert in Jakarta. The company says it successfully sold tickets to an October 13 performance in the Indonesian capital by Taeyang, lead vocalist of K-pop boyband BIGBANG. The company also claims it has “created multiple strategic partnerships with famous Korean singers and actors, such as: G-Dragon [also of BIGBANG], Kim Jong-kook and Clara Lee,” and that it currently has a roster of 10 K-pop stars on its books.

Chosun Biz reports that fans will be able to use the new tokens to buy concert tickets, albums or memorabilia, but also carries a word of warning from an anonymous cryptocurrency exchange platform employee. He claims, “If the popularity of an entertainer drops, there is a high risk that the value of the cryptocurrency they have put their name to will plummet in an instant.”

Fan Power

Chinese fans earlier this month launched TFBC, a cryptocurrency named after boyband TFBoys. China has outlawed cryptocurrency trading, but fans are thought to have used VPNs to issue and trade in TFBC.

Indeed, some 20,000 fans had already traded in TFBC within 10 days of launch, with some USD 1.5 million worth of tokens already traded. TFBoys’ official representatives claimed, “This is a fraudulent action that has nothing to do with us.” This, however, has not stopped fans using the currency to buy albums and snap up concert tickets via online forums.

Moreover, last month, the Virtual Currency Girls, Japan’s attention-grabbing cryptocurrency-themed girl group, revealed that they were among the many entertainers hit by the USD 400 million hack on exchange platform Coincheck – but refused to be paid in yen instead of cryptocurrencies.

And also in January, media outlet International Business Times included American singer-songwriter Shelita Burke on its list of “Eight Blockchain Stars to Watch for 2018.” Burke has encouraged her fans to buy her music using cryptocurrencies, and is now set to launch a blockchain-powered music publishing platform, in collaboration with Marcus Bell, a music producer for the likes of Snoop Dogg and Britney Spears.