Around a week ago, it was revealed that A.C.E would be releasing
digital trading card collectables as merch, with new company K-NFT teaming up with WAX to bring NFTs to K-pop.
K-NFT is proud to present a special collection of digital collectibles featuring A.C.E, the K-pop boy band with more than 5.5 million fans across their social networks. The quintet kicked off 2021 in style with collaborations alongside Steve Aoki, Grey, and Thutmose, and now they emerge as the first K-pop act to tokenize their collectibles on the blockchain! The first series of A.C.E collectibles on WAX will feature 106 unique pieces of digital trading cards in five “all-kill” rarities. This collection features images of members Jun, Donghun, Wow, Kim Byeongkwan and Chan from A.C.E’s four albums, and their recently released “Fav Boyz” remix project with Steve Aoki, featuring each A.C.E member, group images, duo shots and clips from their music videos. Fans will be able to open their packs for a unique experience and decide if they want to cherish them forever in their own digital collection or sell and trade on WAX-powered marketplaces and dAPPS.
Launching on WAX marketplaces means A.C.E fans can buy the packs with a credit card and enjoy them in their WAX Cloud Wallet immediately. Buyers can then easily trade their digital collectibles with others, showcase their inventory on various WAX marketplaces and share on social media. Fans can choose from two pack sizes:
Pack of 5 NFTs: $9.99
Pack of 15 NFTs: $29.99
This collectible drop will include a chance to redeem perks, including autographed items like albums and photocards as well as online meet-and-greets, giving fans a chance to take part in A.C.E history.
Fans understandably were not so happy about this.
After a week, A.C.E’s American agency Asian Agent released a statement basically saying they’re going to go ahead with it anyway.
You know things are going well when you have to tell people to have a human conversation.
On the surface, I understand it doesn’t seem all that much different from any other cash grab associated with K-pop, but there are concerns here not only with the “product” but with the delivery as well, with NFT currently going through justifiable scrutiny.
Once an NFT is on the blockchain, it is “owned” by the person whose digital wallet it is in. Ownership in digital space is a tricky concept, but like all ownership (physical and otherwise) this boils down to a social contract; an NFT is basically a certificate that says “I am the owner of this token and its attached metadata and can do with it as I will, including resell it on a marketplace”. It is worth noting that there is nothing in place within the technology of an NFT to guarantee that they respect existing copyright (artists have already seen their work minted and sold without their consent, sometimes still with their names attached!) and while the “smart contracts” of NFTs can control their behavior on the blockchain, there is nothing legally binding about them, as they have never entered court. While minting an NFT doesn’t stop the associated file, image, album, or gif from duplicating or circulating, but it does mean that by this social contract a copy is not “the original” because it is not held by the owner. There are mixed feelings about this idea- plenty of NFT artists are excited about monetizing images, plenty of people shrugging and saying it is fake ownership and doesn’t change anything about how files work online anyway (tbd- we’ll see how this settles out in legal spaces), and plenty of people horrified to see artificial scarcity imposed on digital objects.
Yeah, I’m in the same camp as the article, and I guess this is where I truly go old man ranting about them kids because to me this all seems like an absurd pseudo-scam. Not just this specific NFT offering, but the whole thing seems silly to me: People effectively selling links to a media file for millions. Even aside from the environmental issues, which are gigantic and it’s comical we’re all doing this crypto shit at this juncture in our climate crisis, I simply don’t see the appeal or value.
Still, my fear is that like this company clearly has, more K-pop execs will see how much money some of these NFTs are going for and think it’s the next cash cow for them because fandoms are full of lemmings (to a certain extent they aren’t wrong, me included) who will get into anything if the artist’s brand is attached. Thus I hope this flops, like Dreamcatcher‘s Stasia cryptocurrency thing did, so companies will back off this trend.