During the past few months, NFT (Non-Fungible Token) has become a big issue in K-Pop. It seems as if more and more K-Pop agencies are dipping their toes in the industry and announcing collaborations.
One K-Pop company that has recently raised concern amongst netizens for its recent partnership with a company is YG Entertainment, home to artists like BLACKPINK, iKON, TREASURE, BIGBANG, and more.
On February 8, YG Entertainment confirmed that the label had established a strategic partnership with Binance, a well-known global cryptocurrency exchange platform, to venture into NFTs.
According to the media, YG and Binance will partner together on various cryptocurrency and NFT-related projects. In particular, Binance provides the infrastructure and YG provides the contents utilizing its artist IPs.
#YG announces its partnership with @Binance. Please look forward to our various trendy attempts to interact with our fans!
Binance is the world’s leading blockchain ecosystem and digital asset exchange.#BINANCE #NFT #KPOP #ENTERTAINMENT pic.twitter.com/d1Dcjwfk0K
— YG FAMILY (@ygent_official) February 8, 2022
Yet, as expected, the decision was met with mixed reactions from netizens. In theory, NFTs and Bitcoins have fancy names and descriptions which lure people in. An NFT can be a unique digital item in that it can come in many forms, data, music, text, graphic art, pixels, or anything that can be “created” and shared on the internet.
Afterward, they are then sold online, usually for a high sum of money. The buyer then gets to obtain this one-of-a-kind collectible content.
Yet, many of the main concerns about NFT come from its impact on the environment. When French artist Joanie Lemercier got involved in NFT, it was revealed his release would result in 8.7 megawatts of energy being used for its auction.
8.7 megawatts may just seem like a number. To put it into perspective, a graphics art studio utilizes that same amount of energy in two years; but in the case of NFT, it only takes ten seconds.
Due to the amount of energy the crypto-industry consumes, any collaboration with other companies raises concerns. The same concerns were raised about YG’s involvement, but they have also been called out for their alleged “hypocrisy.” During the past few years, YG Entertainment has prided itself on being a company that focuses on protecting the environment.
In particular, the members of BLACKPINK are ambassadors for the United Nations SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). They even made a speech on YouTube promoting ways to help the climate crisis, with Rosé even saying, “We must unite and work towards this collective goal of saving the earth.”
YG also caught the attention of fans at the end of 2021 when it was announced that WINNER Mino‘s latest album would be released in a way that wouldn’t harm the environment. It was revealed that the album would be made of recycled pulp, low-carbon paper, and water-based coating.
They revealed that only a small portion of the album would use external plastic wrapping, meaning that most of the production will abide by eco-friendly methods.
On top of that, sibling duo AKMU released their album Sailing where proceeds were donated to environmental causes alongside sharing the message of defending the environment within their songs.
Even their newest group, TREASURE, voiced concerns about the environment. In April, they used their social media platform to advocate for the 51st Earth Day. They voiced their concerns on environmental problems society face, including climate change.
When all of this came to light, netizens on various platforms shared their thoughts on this collaboration. For many, it seemed hypocritical that the company spent so long promoting the environment just to collaborate with a company for NFTs.
On Reddit, various posts were created calling out YG and how the announcement doesn’t make any sense.
Yet, it isn’t the first time a K-Pop company has come under fire for collaborating with NFTs. In 2021, A.C.E became the first K-Pop group to tokenize their wares as NFTs, releasing a collection of digital collectibles for fans back in April 2021. While fans criticized getting the group involved, their agency Asian Agent defended their choice.
An open letter to CHOICE: pic.twitter.com/vNnj7NfzBM
— ASIAN AGENT (@asianagent) April 28, 2021
More recently, HYBE gained mixed reactions after it was announced that their own artists, including BTS, TXT, and ENHYPEN, would be facing a similar fate by being involved with NFTs.
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 (@805online) November 4, 2021
Netizens are hoping YG takes notice of their concerns as it can impact the environment a lot and their artists, who are known as advocating change. You can read more about K-Pop’s involvement in NFTs below.