K-Pop Band BTS Backs NFTs amid Fans Outcry

The band's management agency Hybe says that its plans for NFTs will go ahead, despite the environmental concerns of BTS supporters. South Korean boy band BTS is under pressure from its management to establish NFTs, amid sharp criticism from millions of their supporters.

BTS NFT Project

Following the announcement by entertainment giant Hybe on plans to unveil an array of non-fungible tokens based on its list of artists earlier this year, fans took to Twitter to oppose the idea due to the environmental effect of NFTs.

However, Hybe confirmed Thursday in its first public statement concerning the backlash on its NFT plans.

John Kim, project head at HybeAmerica said in an interview with the Wall Street, "We believe NFTs have the potential for expansion and hope they will provide fans with more varied experiences and opportunities to express themselves."

Kim added that an initial NFT unveiling featuring photo cards of BTS, one of the most profitable artists, will take place in the next six months.

Highly fancied digital effigies

Actual images of BTS artists are highly coveted, some netting thousands of dollars online. The groups' prints, sculptures alongside other merchandise can make huge profits for Hybe, renowned for making more than $200 million in licensing and merchandise sales this year.

Hybe first announced plans to create BTS NFTs last in November when it disclosed a collaboration with leading Korean cryptocurrency exchange Dunamu.

However, the announcement received a cold response from BTS fans, who protested on Twitter using hashtags like #ARMYsAgainstNFT and #BoycottHybeNFT complaining about energy consumption needed to create the distinct digital assets.

Fans complain that the plans go against the BTS climate activism initiatives such as the appearance by the band at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Climate Concerns

Kim Min-jung, Dunamu's NFTbusiness development, and strategy manager informed the Wall Street Journal that the platform intends to conserve the environment. He said, "Its carbon footprint is almost negligible."

Still, Hybe is yet to disclose which blockchain it intends to use to host the non-fungible tokens. Ethereum is the most popular blockchain for minting NFTs since it uses an energy-sensitive proof-of-work consensus process.

However, a rising number of NFTs are shifting to blockchains that use the alternative proof-of-stake consensus process, according to a 2021 UCL study. This consensus mechanism uses orders that consume less energy.

Ethereum plans to launch its proof-of-stake with the much anticipated Ethereum 2.0 upgrade. However, efforts by entertainment companies to unveil NFTs have come under widespread backlash from fans.

For instance, in September Legendary Pictures faced a fan protest for unveiling an array of non-fungible tokens based on the movie "Dune." Fans protested the fact that the initial book is an environmental symbol.

Early December, video game publisher GSC Game World dropped plans to feature NFTs in its game S.T.A.L.K.E.R.2. Heart of Chernobyl, following protests from gamers.

The concept of creating NFT versions of actual images is an efficient way to tame counterfeiting and can help increase profits.

BTS joins a list of musicians who have come under harsh criticism for expressing interest to join the lucrative NFT space. According to an analytics platform, DappRadar, the NFT space will close the year with $22 billion in sales.

Some of the musicians who have experimented with the technology to increase revenue streams and link with fanbase include Grimes, Snoop Dogg, Timbaland, Kings of Leon, and 3LAU. Still, convincing music fans concerning NFTs is likely to take more time than expected.


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