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Buyer of $4 million Wu-Tang Clan album once owned by ‘pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli revealed

‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin’ was initially bought by Martin Shkreli before he was convicted of fraud

Sam Moore
Wednesday 20 October 2021 21:33
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Wu-tang Clan district sign revealed in New York City

The identity of the person who spent $4m (£2.89m), to purchase the rights to Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin has been revealed.

The New York Times report that cryptocurrency collective, PleasrDAO, are behind the purchase.

The group took possession of the sole physical copy of the album on 10 September and it is currently being held in a vault in New York.

Jamis Johnson, the chief pleasing officer at PleasrDAO, said of the purchase: “This album at its inception was a kind of protest against rent-seeking middlemen, people who are taking a cut away from the artist. Crypto very much shares that same ethos.”

He added: “We believe that we can do something with this piece. To enable it to be shared and ideally owned in part by fans and anyone in the world.”

The company say they want to distribute the album and make it accessible for fans as it has not yet been heard by the general public.

Whoever owns the sole copy of the album is not allowed to profit from it commercially until 2103 though it is allowed to be played at listening parties.

Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was initially sold in 2015 to now-imprisoned pharmaceutical businessman, Martin Shkreli. He paid $2m (£1.45m) for the album and after encountering legal difficulties, attempted to sell it on Ebay.

The album was included among Shkreli’s assets when they were seized by the US government in 2018.

It was revealed in July that the government had sold off the album to an unknown buyer to help pay off Shkreli’s $7.4m (£5.35m) judgement in relation to his conviction for securities fraud.

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