Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard, who died in 2004, is getting into the cryptocurrency game.
The late rapper’s estate is launching a utility token called Dirty Coin to fund music projects and other ventures.
Why, exactly? It’s simple, says the late legend’s son Bar-Sun Jones, aka Young Dirty Bastard: “Crypto is very big. The blockchain is one of the biggest inventions of our time. And I don’t want to be out of the party, I want to come in to the party.”
Indeed, if cryptocurrency was an underground basement party up until 2017, the recent price surge of bitcoin, litecoin, ether, and ripple turned it into a raucous house party. Celebrities, athletes, and artists like Paris Hilton, Floyd Mayweather, Richard Sherman, Jamie Foxx, The Game, and Wu-Tang rapper Ghostface Killah have rushed in.
And Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s family doesn’t want to miss out. “I have a passion for capital,” says Young Dirty.
The ODB Estate will initially use the coins to fund a forthcoming new album from Young Dirty. Eventually, the goal is for fans to use Dirty Coins as payment for concerts, merchandise, and music from Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Young Dirty, who also lists books and video games as a possibility.
The Dirty Coin initial coin offering (ICO) is a partnership between the ODB Estate and Link Media Partners, a music A&R firm. Dirty Coin (symbol: ODB) will launch its token sale on TAO Network, a blockchain platform for the music industry that completed its own token sale in 2016. Once Dirty Coin is live, trading will happen on AltMarket, a crypto trading platform launching in tandem with Dirty Coin.
There’s no date set yet for the ICO, but it’s likely to happen by summer.
To be sure, celebrities rushing to promote initial coin offerings (ICOs) has only added to the image that ICOs as high-risk, fly-by-night offerings. The Securities Exchange Commission has warned the public multiple times about the risks of investing in an ICO, in which a company sells digital tokens for later use in an ecosystem that usually is not live yet. And the SEC is investigating the ICO of tZero, a new cryptocurrency business from Overstock.
But investors don’t care, and have largely ignored the warnings. In December, fundraising through ICOs hit an all-time high for a single month. CoinDesk now estimates the cumulative total at nearly $9 billion.
Some in the music business are convinced blockchain technology and digital assets can herald a new revenue stream for artists. “Music thrives creatively and financially when it’s in the hands of the artist themselves,” says AltMarket CEO Bryce Weiner. People in industries like cannabis have the same hopes for blockchain.
Young Dirty sees crypto as a democratizing force for young artists. “There’s so many people who need a shot,” he says. “And I think cryptocurrency gives everybody a social media platform to expand their horizons and connect through the universe.”
Meanwhile, what does this 28-year-old who grew up among members of the Wu-Tang Clan have to say about the much-maligned pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli being ordered to forfeit his rare Wu-Tang album? “They are attacking Martin pretty hard. And now he’s trying to say the album is worthless, but this only makes the value increase, now that he has to give it up.”
So, will fans of Ol’ Dirty Bastard or Wu-Tang Clan buy up Dirty Coin?
Young Dirty pitches them this way: “Why not catch this great chance? You’re going to ride the boat when Noah is boarding, or you’re going to miss it, and you’re going to sink. You don’t want to sink.”
Daniel Roberts covers bitcoin and blockchain at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.