You Can Now Buy Wu-Tang Clan’s One-Of-A-Kind Album As An NFT, But You Can’t Hear It All Yet

You Can Now Buy Wu-Tang Clan’s One-Of-A-Kind Album As An NFT, But You Can’t Hear It All Yet

The saga of the one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album seems to have reached its (inevitable?) conclusion: You can now buy it on the cheap as an NFT.

RZA and his collaborator Cilvaringz created Once Upon A Time In Shaolin with the intention of releasing only one physical copy, to be sold to the highest bidder with an agreement not to release the music until 2103. That buyer turned out to be disgraced pharma bro Martin Shkreli, who paid $2 million for the record but later had to forfeit it after his securities fraud conviction. The US government auctioned off the record to the cryptocurrency collective PleasrDAO for $4.75 million in 2021, and they’re playing the music in public this month for the first time at listening events in Tasmania. This week PleasrDAO sued Shkreli for allegedly making copies of the album and distributing the music publicly, in violation of his purchase agreement. Now, two days before the first listening event, PleasrDAO has put NFT copies of the album up for sale.

“The world’s most expensive album is available for $1,” the collective writes on social media. “Enter the chamber and secure a copy – 2103 will come faster than you think.” Their tweet comes with a three-minute trailer recounting the backstory of the album, including the Shkreli stuff, and bolstering its myth. It also links to, where you can buy the album (in dollars or Ethereum) in various quantities. The more copies you buy, the faster we “get to 2103.” A follow-up tweet explains:


> The album is encrypted and each purchase moves the 2103 decryption date forward by 88 seconds.
> Copies are tradable as $ALBUM.
> Purchase unlocks a new album sampler created by Cilvaringz exclusively for this drop.

In other words, you can purchase the encrypted album now, but can only listen to a sampler of five tracks. There’s also this note from RZA and Civalringz:

“The music industry is in crisis… we hope to inspire and intensify urgent debates about the future of music.” – Cilvaringz & RZA

10 years ago Wu-Tang Clan released an album unlike any other. In a statement against piracy and the devaluation of music, they created only one copy of “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” seeking to bring value back to music.

The plan worked. It became the most expensive album ever sold twice over. However, the cost was limiting the listening to a single owner until the year 2103.

In 2024 there is a new bold plan — Pleasr has digitized and encrypted the album, enabling anyone to become an owner for $1. Each purchase brings the original date for the album release forward by 88 seconds.

We ask a simple question: are we willing to pay artists in the digital age?

The saga continues motherfuckers.

If I understand correctly, they are trying to turn copies of the album into a form of cryptocurrency? And once they’ve sold enough copies of it to get that currency up and running, they’ll decrypt the files? This stuff all goes over my head, but if you have a handle on it, please explain in the comments.

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