SEOUL (BLOOMBERG) – Hybe, the agency running K-pop sensation BTS, will partner with South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange operator to sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs) linked to the group, before also planning to release a video game co-produced by BTS.
The deal involves Hybe buying a 2.5% stake in Dunamu, which operates the Upbit crypto exchange, for 500 billion won (S $ 570 million). Separately, Hybe will issue 700 billion won of new shares to Dunamu, the company revealed in regulatory documents Thursday (November 4).
BTS members’ photo cards will be posted as NFTs on Upbit, which would be available to be shared in virtual spaces. Physical photo cards are usually released in limited quantities and collected and traded by fans who meet in person.
âWe are working with Dunamu to create a way to expand the fan experience,â Hybe founder Bang Si-hyuk said in an online briefing.
The aim is to provide secure ownership of the card and to “enable its collection, exchange and display in a global community of fans where instead of a single photo it can be turned into a digital photo card with moving images and sound â.
In addition to the NFT’s announcement, Hybe also plans to launch original stories featuring members of his K-pop boy groups starting in January, which will be released as a web comic and web novel via the platform. -form of Naver Webtoon.
The company also said there will be a BTS game, developed with the group’s input, in the first half of 2022.
NFTs have grown in popularity in recent months, with cartoons of monkeys and lions taxing millions of dollars in prizes and top sports clubs and automakers are among those jumping into the business.
BTS is said to be one of the biggest brands to join the nascent business activity, which is based on blockchain technology to authenticate unique property tokens attached to otherwise easily reproducible digital assets. Music, photography and digital art are among the popular genres of NFT.
Upbit is one of four Korean exchanges authorized to offer won-based trading services as well as crypto-to-crypto trading services after a regulatory crackdown in September.
The South Korean cryptocurrency market is dominated by the four largest exchanges, and Upbit accounted for around 88% of the country’s trading volume in September, according to data from ruling party lawmaker Noh Woong-rae.