K-pop’s biggest group, BTS, joined the NFT trend (encrypted digital assets stored on a blockchain platform) when the management company Hybe, founded by billionaire Bang Si-hyuk, has partnered with leading cryptocurrency exchange operators in Korea to launch NFT related business.
Bang said it will sell digital photos of Hybe artists with animation and sound. Hybe also announced plans to acquire a 2.5% stake in Dunamu, operator of South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Upbit, for nearly 500 billion won ($422 million).
The entertainment giant will also issue 2.3 million shares worth about 700 billion won to Dunamu, according to separate transaction filings.
NFTs are virtual assets stored using blockchain technology to attest to the ownership of objects such as images, music, and in-game items. A set of digital images similar to the physical form, often produced in limited quantities.
Hybe has become Korea’s leading entertainment company thanks to the BTS group that has made its name in music history with a series of songs that have reached the top of international charts.
The success of this K-pop group has put the “advisor” behind, Bang Si-hyuk, into the ranking of global billionaires with a net worth of $2.7 billion.
Meanwhile, Dunamu’s virtual asset exchange Upbit is one of only four that has been allowed to continue operating, after South Korea’s crackdown forced another 40 crypto exchanges to close.
Upbit is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in this East Asian country with a market share of about 80%. Its wide user base and large trading volume have helped Dunamu attract investment from billionaire Kim Beom-su tech giant Kakao.
The collaboration between Hybe and Dunamu makes the boy band BTS the latest celebrity to join the rapidly growing NFT trend. The emerging virtual trading sector has seen transaction volume since the third quarter of 2020 skyrocketing by more than 700% to $10.7 billion, according to analytics firm DappRadar.
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