How Wu-Tang Clan's USD 4M Album Reflects Crypto Ethos

Source: A video screenshot, Youtube/PleasrDAO

A decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) has acquired arguably the most sought-after record in the modern era — an album by a legendary rap group that reflects the industry's aim to get rid of unnecessary middlemen. 

PleasrDAO, a multisig DAO, has purchased the one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan's "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin" album from the US government for USD 4m, the New York Times first reported

"This is like the OG NFT. The original fight against the middlemen who are rent-seeking. Crypto is the same ethos. Wu-Tang Clan was prescient in understanding that conflict," said Jamis Johnson, Chief Pleasing Officer at PleasrDaO, in a video yesterday.

In an interview with the New York Times, Johnson added that the album was created as some form of "protest against rent-seeking middlemen, people who are taking a cut away from the artist. Crypto very much shares that same ethos."

Per The Times, a non-fungible token (NFT) of the album has been created to designate ownership of the physical copy. All the 74 members of PleasrDAO jointly share ownership of that NFT, and thus they collectively own the album. 

Wu-Tang Clan's album was previously owned by Martin Shkreli, an infamous hedge fund manager who was convicted of fraud. After being arrested on charges of extensive securities fraud, the US government obtained the album as part of Shkreli's monetary judgment. 

In late July, however, the US Justice Department announced that the album has been sold but did not disclose the buyer and the price paid citing a "confidentiality provision."

"After nearly a decade under wraps and in private hands, PleasrDAO purchased the complete album, with plans to oversee and fulfill Wu’s original vision. Bring da motherfuckin' ruckus," PleasrDAO said in a blog post. 

Cilvaringz, producer and conceptualizer of "Once Upon A Time In Shaolin," told PleasrDAO:

"The single copy concept’s primary intention was to incentivize a debate about the perception of music as an art form and how its monetary and experiential values were being smothered by digitization. Seven years later, the NFT suddenly achieved to secure these values. At the very least, this album has encouraged the journey towards this solution for digitizable art forms."

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