South Korea’s pop music giant SM to launch cryptocurrency

South Korea’s pop music giant SM to launch cryptocurrency

South Korea’s largest entertainment company has said it intends to launch its own cryptocurrency, with a view to using blockchain as “a decentralized entertainment entity,” Chosun reported.

Pop music firm SM Entertainment is reported to have partnered with CTIA Labs to build the project, which is still in the early stages of development.

The CEO of CTIA Labs confirmed the deal at a developer conference organized by crypto exchange UpBit, where he spoke of the disruptive potential of cryptocurrency and blockchain in the music industry.

CEO Sang-Sik Joo said the firms were already in discussion to build the cryptocurrency platform with a number of development partners, though they were unable to reveal any further details at this time.

According to media reports, SM Entertainment is hoping to link the physical and virtual realms of its business through cryptocurrency, using the decentralized structure of blockchain tech for distributing entertainment.

Founded in 1995, SM Entertainment is one of the driving forces behind the international success of Korean pop music sector, with artists like EXO, Red Velvet and Girls’ Generation amongst those on the company’s books.

With revenues in excess of $350 million and a market cap of $600 million, SM Entertainment is the largest company of its kind in Korea. Its decision to launch a cryptocurrency is a landmark for the sector in the country, and one of the highest profile implementations in the music industry to date.

Blockchain technology is viewed by some, including Sang-Sik Joo, as a massive opportunity for the music business. According to Joo, artists in particular stand to benefit from a greater share of revenues, and less reliance on middle men.

With blockchain technology allowing more effective, efficient dissemination of media from artist to fan, thereby decreasing the influence of industry gatekeepers and censorship, it is viewed by some as an important tool for disintermediating the industry.

In launching a cryptocurrency, SM Entertainment will become only the latest music publisher in Korea to experiment with crypto.

Late last year, a platform called Ko-fun was launched, which would support cryptocurrencies created around different K-pop acts—such as a BTS coin.

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