The one-of-a-kind Wu Tang Clan album made infamous by Martin Shkreli was sold by the government to a crypto collective

Wu-tang
Wu-Tang Clan perform during their 25th Anniversary Tour at Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre on May 31, 2019. Scott Legato/WireImage
  • The US government sold Wu-Tang Clan’s one-of-a-kind album to a crypto collective called PleasrDAO.
  • The album was sold as part of “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli’s monetary judgment.
  • PleasrDAO came into the spotlight previously after purchasing an NFT of the “doge” meme.

Wu-Tang Clan’s one-of-a-kind album – once owned by Martin Shkreli – was bought by a crypto collective known as PleasrDAO for $US4 ($AU5) million worth of a cryptocurrency, The New York Times first reported Wednesday.

The US government, which obtained the album as part of Shkreli’s monetary judgment, sold it over the summer but didn’t disclose its buyer, Insider previously reported. PleasrDAO has now come forward about the purchase.

“We bought the unreleased Wu-Tang album with crypto,” the company said in a video on its blog.

The two-disk album, titled “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” was sold in 2015 to Shkreli – the “Pharma Bro” who has since been convicted of securities fraud – for $US2 ($AU3) million. There is only one copy in existence after it was recorded over a six-year period.

“This is like the OG NFT,” Jamis Johnson, chief pleasing officer at PleasrDaO, said in the company’s video. “The original fight against the middlemen who are rent-seeking. Crypto is the same ethos. Wu-Tang Clan was prescient in understanding that conflict.”

PleasrDAO received the album on Sept. 10, according to The Times, and it now sits in a vault in New York City. The Times reported that the company paid $US4 ($AU5) million in cryptocurrency to an intermediary, who then paid the government about $US2 ($AU3) million US dollars.

An NFT of the album was made to represent ownership of the physical copy, The Times said, citing a lawyer who was involved in the transaction. Now, the 74 members of PleasrDAO have collective ownership of that NFT and the album.

PleasrDAO describes itself as a “collective of DeFi leaders, early NFT collectors, and digital artists who have built a formidable yet benevolent reputation for acquiring culturally significant pieces with a charitable twist.”

The organization, whose abbreviation stands for “decentralized autonomous organization,” came into the spotlight after purchasing a nonfungible token, or NFT, of the legendary “doge” meme, CNBC reported in September.

When first selling the album, Wu-Tang Clan stipulated it could be played for people at public events, but it couldn’t be widely distributed until 2103, which is 88 years after it was sold, Stereogum reported.

PleasrDAO told the Times it has plans for the album to “be shared and ideally owned in part by fans and anyone in the world,” though it didn’t specify how it would do that while following the group’s original conditions.