Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon A Time In Shaolin Sold To Cryptocurrency Collective
Over the summer, we found out that Wu-Tang Clan’s one-of-a-kind album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin had been sold by the United States government to pay off a portion of Martin Shkreli’s $7.4 million monetary judgement in relation to his conviction for securities fraud. At the time, the US Attorney’s Office did not disclose who bought the album or how much it sold for. But as The New York Times reports today, it was purchased by a cryptocurrency collective known as PleasrDAO.
Per the Times, PleaserDAO took possession of the album on September 10 and its sole physical copy is apparently held in a vault in New York City. “This album at its inception was a kind of protest against rent-seeking middlemen, people who are taking a cut away from the artist,” PleasrDAO’s Jamis Johnson told the paper. “Crypto very much shares that same ethos.” He went on to call Once Upon A Time “kind of the OG NFT.” And indeed, a nonfungible token was created to serve as the ownership deed for the physical album, and all 74 members of PleaserDAO have collective ownership of that deed.
When Wu-Tang Clan put Once Upon A Time In Shaolin up for sale in 2014, they put some stipulations in place: The album could be played for individual people at public events, but could not be widely distributed until 2103, or 88 years after it was first sold. Shkreli reportedly paid somewhere in the range of $2 million for the album initially.
PleaserDAO say that they want to make Once Upon A Time In Shaolin more widely available. “We believe that we can do something with this piece,” Johnson said. “To enable it to be shared and ideally owned in part by fans and anyone in the world.” But it’s unclear how exactly they would do that while still honoring Wu-Tang Clan’s original wishes. On their part, the group’s RZA declined to comment to the Times and Cilvaringz, a producer who worked on the album and its concept, said that “we wanted to honor the NFT concept without breaking our own rules.”
Once Upon A Time In Shaolin was sold for the equivalent of $4 million in cryptocurrency as tied to the US dollar. Because the government requires standard currency, an intermediary was paid roughly $2.2 million to then pay the government.
In other Once Upon A Time In Shaolin news, the album was recently mentioned on the Showtime show Billions: