Yes, This Wu-Tang Clan-Themed Cryptocurrency Is Actually Happening

Stan Higgins
Oct 23, 2018 at 13:00 UTC
Updated Oct 24, 2018 at 12:01 UTC
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Months after its debut, the cryptocurrency being launched by the estate of the late Wu-Tang Clan member Ol’ Dirty Bastard (ODB) is moving ahead – starting with a public pre-sale that begins this week.

Back in March, performing artist Young Dirty – ODB’s son, whose real name is Barson Jones –  spoke to media outlets about the plan to create a fan-centric cryptocurrency, built on top of the TAO blockchain network and traded on the AltMarket exchange (which is hosting the pre-sale).

And perhaps unlike other cryptocurrencies with celebrity backing – an area that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has taken a stern tone toward – those behind ODBCoin say they moved carefully toward launch.

“We had to take the time out to get everything correct,” Young Dirty said in an interview.

Bryce Weiner, AltMarket’s CEO, described ODBCoin as “merchandise, like a T-shirt, which makes it a commodity” in the eyes of U.S. regulators.

The idea is that ODBCoin (formerly known as Dirty Coin) will be the first of a planned series of artist-branded cryptos developed and distributed. Rather than serving as vehicles for investment, the tokens are intended to act as a kind of incentive for fans of artists like Young Dirty, allowing them to be spent at shows or on merchandise.

The use of blockchain as part of consumer inventive schemes has been explored in the past by numerous companies, including American Express and Singapore Airlines, among others.

But the closest analogue is perhaps a loyalty project involving IBM and China UnionPay, which back in 2016 unveiled a proof-of-concept that sought to make incentive points freely tradeable between users. It’s that sort of commodification that the ODBCoin’s creators are betting would be adopted – and indeed, embraced – by an artist’s fanbase.

“It’s a great way to connect with fans and reward them for their interest. I look forward to delivering even more music that would make Dad proud,” Young Dirty explained.

Ultimately, the goal is for ODBCoin to pave the way for other artists to create similar tokens, with Weiner saying, “We will be announcing our next project at the conclusion of this sale.”

“We are quite proud of the response from the music industry and we look forward becoming home to the biggest names in music,” Weiner told CoinDesk.

Young Dirty image via Facebook