Crypto Bros Bought the ‘OG NFT,’ aka Martin Shkreli’s Wu-Tang Album

Crypto Bros Bought the ‘OG NFT,’ aka Martin Shkreli’s Wu-Tang Album
Photo: Amy Harris, AP

Crypto enthusiasts bought the Wu-Tang album, possibly a haunted talisman whose previous owner Pharma Bro went to prison shortly after he announced that he’d bought it in a $US2 ($3) million troll. Can these dudes handle it? The New York Times and Rolling Stone have profiles. They seem fine.

One copy of the two-disc, 31-track album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was pressed and encased in a baroque bejeweled box, and sold with an attached condition that it couldn’t be commercially released for sale until 2103. In 2015, Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli bought it in an online auction and lost it when the Department of Justice seized his assets in 2018. The album was purchased anonymously in July. The buyers, a group called PleasrDAO, revealed themselves as the buyers today.

Whether it matters or not to collectors, it might not be an authorised Wu-Tang album. Bloomberg reported after the Shkreli sale that it was a bunch of verses compiled by producer Cilvaringz, who’d misled contributors into believing they were making his album, and only RZA seemed onboard and aware.

Wu-Tang Clan members say it was just ok or it could get fucked.

PleasrDAO, a 74-member group of collectors and artists, claim to be interested in the album for reasons beyond a return on investment. In their words, they’ve “built a formidable yet benevolent reputation for acquiring culturally significant pieces with a charitable twist.” (A DAO, a decentralized autonomous organisation, is a cryptocurrency investment fund owned by no one. Members buy-in in exchange for tokens which give them voting power in making investment decisions; voting power increases with the investments.) Their intentions seem pure-ish. They told the New York Times that they plan to play it at in-person events and envision perhaps somehow offering the public collective ownership.

They naturally minted an NFT deed of ownership and made a bunch of tie-ins to the blockchain which might work if you hammer it hard enough — the DAO’s Chief Pleasing Officer squeezed in some blockchain tie-ins, describing it to the Times as the “OG NFT” and Wu-Tang as the “the OG DAO” etc etc etc and so on. They’re not threatening to hide it in a dormant volcano or destroy it. That’s good.