PleasrDAO adds $4M ‘OG NFT’ Wu-Tang Clan album to its collection

PleasrDAO has revealed itself to be the new owners of Wu-Tang Clan’s one-of-a-kind unreleased album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.

The 74 members of the decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) now share collective ownership of the album. The group purchased the sole copy of the album from the United States federal government for $4 million at the end of July, collected it in September, and moved it to a vault at an undisclosed location in New York. PleasrDAO has minted the ownership deed as a nonfungible token (NFT) with the help of crypto-savvy attorney Peter Scoolidge.

A collective of decentralized finance leaders, early NFT collectors and digital artists, PleasrDAO is well-known for tokenizing the original Doge meme and purchasing Edward Snowden’s “Stay Free” artwork for 2,224 Ether (ETH).

The government came to possess the album in 2018 after seizing the assets of former owner “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli on fraud charges. Shkreli, who was widely reviled for jacking up the prices of life-saving drugs by up to 5,000%, had anonymously purchased the album in 2015 for $2 million, making it the most expensive piece of music ever sold at the time.

The lead of the Wu-Tang Clan, RZA, and album producer Cilvaringz originally created the album in response to their concerns that piracy and digital streaming cheapens the value of music.

Cilvaringz said they hoped that the album would “return music to the value of fine art — a mission finally possible in today’s environment, nearly a decade later with NFT technology and the ability to mint this album as a unique 1:1 original.”

For this reason, PleasrDAO’s interest in the album is self-explanatory, wrote “chief pleasing officer” Jamis Johnson in a blog post.

“Once Upon a Time in Shaolin in many ways is the OG NFT before NFT technology had made its way into the zeitgeist.”

Related: Original $4M Doge NFT meme auctioned off in 17 billion pieces

As for the future of the album, Johnson said PleasrDAO believes the “next chapter of the incredible story of this album should be Web 3.0 native.”

PleasrDAO is still bound by a legal agreement underpinning the album, which prevents it from being commercially released until 2103, although listening parties are allowed. Despite this, the group insists they “firmly believe there are ways to share this musical masterpiece with the world.”


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PleasrDAO Purchases One-of-a-Kind Wu-Tang Album

Key Takeaways

  • PleasrDAO revealed today in a blog post that it had purchased Wu-Tang Clan’s one-of-a-kind 2015 album.
  • The album’s previous owners include Martin Shkreli and the United States Government.
  • Though no plans for the album were revealed, PleasrDAO teased that some may be forthcoming.

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The digital art collective PleasrDAO has purchased the sole copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, once owned by disgraced pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli and seized by the U.S. Government as part of the forfeiture of Shkreli’s assets. PleasrDAO has not yet revealed any plans for the album.

Wu-Tang Album Out of Government Custody

PleasrDAO, a self-styled “collective of DeFi leaders, early NFT collectors, and digital artists” with a reputation for curating culturally significant NFTs, has added a new and notable rarity to its real-world art collection—Wu-Tang Clan’s famous “one-of-one” 2015 album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin

Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is famous for being extraordinarily rare—only one copy is known to exist. In fact, only one copy is legally allowed to exist. The album was the brainchild of Tarik “Cilvaringz” Azzougarh, a Wu-Tang fanatic who eventually worked his way into the band’s circles and pushed the idea of an album that would only exist as a single copy and contractually could not be copied or commercially distributed for a minimum of 88 years. 

The album also secured a famous, though infamous, buyer—“Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli, who gained notoriety for hiking the price of AIDS drugs to unaffordable levels and who was eventually tried and convicted for securities fraud by the Department of Justice. As a result of that conviction, the U.S. Government seized Shkreli’s assets, including the one-of-a-kind album, in 2018. Since then, the mystery album has languished in government custody.

It was reported in July that the government had found a buyer for the album, though at the time they remained anonymous. The price of the sale was unclear, although the government revealed that the sale of the album would cover the outstanding balance of the $7.4 million Shkreli had been ordered to pay in a forfeiture money judgment. 

PleasrDAO has now revealed itself as the final buyer and current owner of the album. As evidence, PleasrDAO’s “chief pleasing officer” Jamis Johnson detailed the acquisition in a video and blog post earlier today which depicts, among other events, Johnson listening to the album.

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PleasrDAO has not revealed its plans for the album and is severely limited by the album’s contractual restrictions, which remain in effect and forbid any public distribution of the album’s contents. Still, Johnson indicated that there could be plans in the works, writing in his blog post, “we firmly believe there are ways to share this musical masterpiece with the world.”

He told Rolling Stone, however: “For people reading this…it’s gonna take a long time to be done right.”

Disclaimer: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned BTC, ETH, and several other cryptocurrencies. 

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Doge meme hits $220M valuation, as Sotheby’s Bored Apes auction is tipped to fetch $18M

The original Doge meme NFT has soared to a valuation of around $220 million following its successful fractionalized token sale this week.

Ludicrously high prices for in demand NFTs are the flavor of the week, with Sotheby’s new Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT auction predicted to fetch up to $18 million.

Earlier this week Doge meme owners PleasrDAO fractionalized the NFT into 17 billion ERC-20 tokens named $DOG, and auctioned off 20% of them on SushiSwap-owned Miso on Sept. 1.

The $DOG tokens snapped up in the auction can now be traded via decentralized exchanges such as SushiSwap and Uniswap. The auction generated 11,942 Wrapped Ethereum (WETH) worth around $44.6 million from a total of 1,769 buyers.

Given the total supply of $DOG tokens —  which are priced at 0.0000035186 WETH ($0.013 USD) at the time of publication — the nominal value of the Doge NFT is now around $220 million.

But some say that’s an underestimate. According fractionalized token platform Fractional, the implied value of the $DOG NFTs is a whopping $398 million. The firm hasn’t specified how that figure was calculated.

Whether $220 million or $398 million, it’s a stunning return for a picture of a dog bought for just 1696.9 Ether, worth $4 million, back in June.

PleasrDAO has said 55% of the remaining tokens will be maintained by the DAO and the other 25% will go into a fund that will support projects in the $DOG community.

Related: Dogecoin Foundation demands copycat meme coin ‘Dogecoin 2.0’ change its name

Apes are not a bore for Sotheby’s

Meanwhile Sotheby’s is currently hosting an auction of 107 Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs that is expected to fetch between $12 million to $18 million.

The 107 NFTs have been bundled into one collection and put up for sale by the project’s creators Yuga Labs, who are also auctioning off a bundle of 101 Bored Ape Kennel Club NFTs that is expected to pull in between $1.5 million to $2 million.

Yuga Labs auction: Sotheby’s

Bidding for the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection had reached $4.5 million at the time of publication, and the auction is set to close on Sept. 10. Bidding for the Kennel Club NFTs hit $480,000.

The Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs have become widely popular of late, and Cointelegraph reported on Sept. 2 that NBA star Stephen Curry joined in on the action by snapping up one of the NFTs for 55 ETH, worth roughly $207,000 at the time of writing.

According to data from CryptoSlam, the Bored Ape NFTs generated a record $295 million worth of sales on secondary markets in August. Despite it only being the beginning of September, the NFTs have already reached $10 million worth of secondary sales so far.