Yesterday (November 4), the South Korean entertainment giant announced plans to partner with fintech company Dunamu to launch a new NFT-focused venture that would use IP-based on its artists, such as BTS and TXT, to create digital assets. One specific example used by HYBE chairman Bang Si-hyuk was photocards, collectable cards featuring images of K-pop idols.
“We’re working with Dunamu to create a way to expand the fan experience more diversely and securely, such as digitally authenticating the uniqueness of these photocards and making them permanent, but also allowing them to be collected, exchanged and displayed in a global fan community platform like Weverse,” Bang said during the “HYBE briefing”.
However, BTS fans (known as ARMY) have since criticised HYBE for its plans to launch NFTs, with many citing the potential negative impact the digital asset has on the environment. ARMYs also noted how the company’s NFT plans could be seen as contradictory to the boyband’s recent speech at the UN, where they described climate change as “an important problem”.
Following HYBE’s announcement, BTS fans have also trended the hashtags “#BoycottHybeNFT” and “#ARMYsAgainstNFT” to voice their displeasure over the company’s plans. Some fans have even gone as far as to cancel orders of merchandise from the company over the news.
— BTSWorldWideRecordBreaker⁷ (@Jikookminie13) November 4, 2021
— Kayra⁷💥 (@jungshook_JD) November 4, 2021
This just really disappointing for ARMY. HYBE just keeps showing us how money hungry they are, Focus on the artists and their music!!! This is really sad, I just hope the members don’t get criticized for their company’s lack of moral. #BoycottHybeNFT#ARMYsAgainstNFT pic.twitter.com/U5hoiVgm5P
— Lili (@Lili_bl8) November 4, 2021
Neither HYBE nor Dunamu has responded to the controversy at the time of writing.
Earlier this year, a group of BTS fans worked with the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement to build a grove of four zelkova trees and about 1,200 bridal-wealth trees in the Han River Park. Located in the South Korean capital city of Seoul, the ‘Forest V No 1’ is dedicated to member V.
Han River Park is also home to two plots of forestation that had previously been planted by fellow BTS fans in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Both plots were created in celebration of BTS leader RM‘s birthday.