Fans of the K-pop girl group Mamamoo will soon be able to purchase digital products from the band using blockchain technology.
RBW (Rainbowbridge World), a South Korean entertainment company that represents Mamaoo and other popular K-pop artists like Vromance and Oneus, is jumping into the cryptocurrency world by issuing non-fungible tokens (NFT) on the Hong Kong-based exchange Xeno . The tokens give K-Pop fans and other investors the right to real ownership of digital products related to RBW entertainers.
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In an exclusive interview with CoinDesk, the Xeno team announced that RBW has granted the NFT exchange the exclusive rights to coin and list their NFT-based digital products.
“Fanbases get digital merchandise for their favorite artists that they can really own, and artists and content creators get new and exciting products to sell to their fans,” Jae-Woong Wang, CEO of RBW Japan, told CoinDesk in an Explanation. “Digital event tickets, membership tokens and even rights to digital content can be captured and stored in NFTs. The trend of digital trade is growing and RBW wants to stay up to date on these trends and at the same time, if possible, open new markets. “
The exact time of the start of the NFTs has yet to be announced. Xeno told CoinDesk that the underlying digital products will include “3D model renders” of fans’ favorite K-pop idols, event tickets for virtual concerts and membership tokens that “allow artists to engage their fan base”.
RBW’s move comes at a time of explosive growth in trading volume for NFTs, which, according to Dune Analytics, tripled in 2020 from 2019. The increased interest in NFTs is partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced most of the cancellations of personal events.
In contrast to fungible cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether, NFTs are unique tokens that cannot be exchanged individually. For fans of Mamamoo, this means owning a unique digital product designed around the singers.
Xeno’s NFT marketplace was launched last month after the company saw a potentially huge market for NFTs in East Asia, Xenos President Anthony Di Franco told CoinDesk. The company currently operates mainly in Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea.
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South Korea alone has the fourth largest game market in the world with well-established marketplaces for digital goods, said Di Franco. The East Asian country also has a “very high level of commitment” to all forms of entertainment, including the K-pop industry. The Gaon Digital Chart, South Korea’s standard for singles in the music industry, shows nearly 21 million weekly tracks for this week’s No. 1 song alone.
The news from RBW could lead prominent entertainment companies in East Asia to follow the NFT trend as most live events around the world are still on pause due to the pandemic, according to Xeno executives. In addition to those in K-Pop, several partnerships with established names in the high fashion and online gaming industries are already in preparation.
“RBW is a pretty moderately impactful company, with the popular girl group Mamamoo, several boy bands and a new girl group, Purple Kiss, under their leadership,” said Tamar Herman, K-pop journalist for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. CoinDesk said in an email. “The company is known for high quality performance and craftsmanship.”
While most NFT exchanges are based on the Ethereum blockchain, Xeno is based on the Polkadot network due to its better scalability, full cross-chain interoperation and integration, and Polkadot’s unique “parachain” feature that gives the team complete control over the The system has protocol layer from, Di Franco told CoinDesk.
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“NFTs are the perfect medium for these habits to grow and develop,” said Di Franco. “NFTs are taking ownership of digital goods from their silos, turning a collection of mutually exclusive walled gardens into a real marketplace, and exponentially increasing the creative entrepreneurship opportunities for digital artists and the business opportunities for the platforms they operate on.”
UPDATE (Jan 16, 2021 12:38 UTC): Xeno is based in Hong Kong, not South Korea. The article has been updated.