Bang Si Hyuk (also known as Bang PD and Hitman Bang) has finally responded to fans’ concerns about HYBE creating NFTs (non-fungible tokens).
In November 2021, HYBE held their corporate briefing, 2021 Briefing With The Community. During the briefing, Bang Si Hyuk announced that the company would be getting into blockchain technology. Bang Si Hyuk also announced that HYBE was partnering with the innovative technology company Dunamu, and he introduced Song Chi Hyung, the CEO of Dunamu.
Then, Bang Si Hyuk and Song Chi Hyung announced that they would be partnering to create an NFT business under a new joint venture. Song Chi Hyung explained what NFTs are, so everyone who tuned into the live stream of the corporate briefing would understand.
You can think of an NFT as an irreplaceable digital asset that can be safely and reliably verified so that anyone can trust that there is only one in the world. Such digital assets are created when specific digital content or products are given a unique value through blockchain technology. This value becomes truly manifest when combined with areas where intangible assets are important, such as the games, arts, and entertainment industries, which are brought to life through creative activities. This is because it is a technology that eliminates the counterfeit products that have been prevalent in the past, leaving only the authentic, and gives legitimate benefits to the only people who have created unique value and the customers who have discovered and have given their support to that value.
— Song Chi Hyung
Bang Si Hyuk further explained NFTs by tying them to photocards. He explained that NFTs would give HYBE the opportunity to turn photocards into digital photocards with moving images and sound.
Many fans explore ways to keep for a long time, and since they are released in limited quantities, they are sometimes exchanged among fans. We are working with Dunamu to create a way to expand the fan experience more diversely and securely, such as digitally authenticating the uniqueness of these photo cards and making them permanent, but also allowing them to be collected, exchanged, and displayed in a global fan community platform like WEVERSE. Instead of a single frame photo, it can be turned into a digital photo card with moving images and sound.
— Bang Si Hyuk
While the idea of creating digital photocards was exciting, many fans were concerned about the negative impact NFTs have on the environment. For example, when French artist Joanie Lemercier auctioned off an NFT, the auction used 8.7 megawatts of energy in just ten seconds. It would take a graphic arts studio two whole years to expend that much energy.
After HYBE announced they would begin making NFTs, many fans took to Twitter to express their disapproval.
bts being representatives for the fight against climate change and championing sustainability just for hybe to turn around and enter the nft market how does any of that make sense.
— R (@aIcoholdrink) November 4, 2021
In an interview with TIME Magazine, Bang Si Hyuk finally addressed fans’ concerns and “aggressive feedback.” He asserted that the company hadn’t officially announced anything yet, and he hinted that HYBE had some “interesting” projects in the works. He also stated that he understood fans’ concerns about HYBE entering the NFT business.
When we said we were going to pursue an NFT exchange, the market reacted with enthusiastic welcome, but fans showed concern and at times aggressive feedback. All I’d like to say to fans is: As of now, we haven’t announced anything. We haven’t discussed what kind of product we would service or what type of product we would make, although I fully understand the concern. In fact, one of the reasons we decided to pursue an NFT exchange was in order to be able to address these concerns ourselves, the artist management company, who can respond directly to fan concerns rather than a platform company that moves according to their own interests. I’m thinking a lot about policies and technical measures that can reflect these concerns as well.
We are doing our best to provide more value and experience to fans while trying to satisfy the market’s quick demands, which can be difficult. That being said, quite some time has passed. We have some interesting projects in the works and I think we’ll be able to show them to you soon. And when that happens, I’d like to say cautiously, that perhaps you’ll find yourself not thinking, ‘These guys don’t understand why we hate this.’
— Bang Si Hyuk
Meanwhile, HYBE appears to be launching their NFT company alongside the debut of their upcoming girl group, LE SSERAFIM. On March 28, the company announced that fans can purchase “Digital Souvenirs” of the members’ “first voices” and “first message.” When the HYBE x Dunamu online platform launches, fans will be able to permanently save their Digital Souvenirs by “requesting additional Minting service.”