K-Pop Music Giant SM Entertainment Is Planning Its Own Cryptocurrency

The driving firm behind the K-pop movement, SM Entertainment, said it's planning to launch a cryptocurrency focused on engaging fans with artists.

AccessTimeIconSep 5, 2019 at 8:21 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 11:24 a.m. UTC
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SM Entertainment, one of Korea's top-three pop talent agencies, is planning to build its own blockchain network with a native cryptocurrency as it battles a shareholder revolt and a falling stock price.

Joo Sang-sik, director of the company's technology arm, CT-AI Labs, made the announcement at the Upbit Developer Conference in Incheon on Sept. 4, according to a report from local media outlet IT Chosun.

Joo said the company is aiming to develop a blockchain network that would allow fans to be more engaged with the entertainment ecosystem by investing in artists' work through cryptocurrencies.

The director provided few specifics about the technology, but said the firm aims to make use of the concepts of both public and private blockchains and is currently talking to potential partners to build the network.

The entertainment business as it stands utilizes inefficient settlement and payment systems – issues that blockchain could help address, Joo said.

SM Entertainment is a force in the K-pop world, which is becoming one of Korea's most important exports. The company was founded in 1995 by Lee Soo-man – sometimes called the President of Culture. Its acts include Girls' Generation, EXO and Red Velvet.

SM Entertainment is listed on the Korean stock exchange and has a market capitalization of roughly $600 million. The firm undertook a management reshuffle recently, as shareholders raised concerns about its finances and some of its business decisions. Its stock price has dropped 43 percent since last November.

SM Entertainment is not the first company to have proposed the use of blockchain tech in the K-pop industry.

In late 2018, a platform called Ko-fun was launched, aimed to allow K-pop-related crypto transactions on a blockchain. The plan was to create coins for individuals acts, such as a BTS Coin.

K-pop concert image via Shutterstock

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