HYBE entering NFT disappoints fans as #BoycottHybeNFT trends on Twitter

BTS’ BE concept photo sketch (Image via @bts_bighit/Twitter)
BTS’ BE concept photo sketch (Image via @bts_bighit/Twitter)
Afreen Khan

In HYBE’s community briefing video released on November 4, the company revealed multiple new trajectories that it’s partaking in to expand its business. One of the next steps is investing in NFTs.

HYBE is partnering with Dunamu, a blockchain-based fintech startup, to create non-fungible tokens featuring its artists and various content, including popular collectibles and photo cards.

While fans have lauded their other moves, the harmful effects of NFTs on the environment has them boycotting HYBE’s move. Many are educating fellow fans on hyper energy consumption.

They also believe the move is hugely hypocritical of their biggest group BTS’ stance on climate and environmental protection at various campaigns and the UN.

Why do fans think HYBE diving into NFT is step in the wrong direction?

HYBE’s venture into the crypto-currency world has fans shocked. In the briefing, new groups in development were discussed, foraying into media formats such as games, webtoons, web novels, and many other things.

The company also introduced plans of foraying into NFTs (non-fungible tokens) with Dunamu, South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency operator, running the crypto-currency exchange Upbit.

Bang Si Hyuk, HYBE’s founder, announced they’re working with Dunamu “to expand the fan experience”, as he pulled out BTS’ photo cards. The company will be releasing digital photo cards, moving images, and more things, such as NFTs, to offer fans secure ownership.

However, as much as fans love BTS, they’re not with HYBE for entering the crypto market. What NFTs guarantee as “ownerships” is a unique crypto hash that gives the buyer a vague form of ownership, reports VICE.

As a result, fans took to Twitter to express their displeasure, while also trending the hashtag "BoycottHybeNFT".

You cannot claim to care about climate change and the environment and then do business with crypto/NFT companies. If HYBE goes down this path it will be massively hypocritical and disappointing.
While it’s true that there is no ethical consumption under capitalism, this NFT move by HYBE isn’t just antithetical to BTS’ mission with the UN, but it’s environmentally irresponsible. A company that has lead in innovation for almost a decade can do better than this.…
hybe gon need to realize this whole nft thing ain’t cute especially when bts just spoke abt climate change in nyc literally a month and a half ago… are they dumb….
@modooborahae this is so contradictory, they got bts promoting the ods, green hydrogen and a lot of environmental issues with hyundai, and now selling NFT? that doesn't make any sense, they can't let that happen, this is the worst decision hybe has ever done and I can't support this.
Come on y'all. NFT's are inherently harmful no matter how you look at them. Please don't be fooled by the greenwashing propaganda. It's not worth our planet and our future. #ARMYsAgainstNFT
ARMY didn't plant a forest on Joon's birthday for Hybe to join this NFT shit. 😡
ARMY didn't plant a forest on Joon's birthday for Hybe to join this NFT shit. 😡
ARMY didn't plant a forest on Joon's birthday for Hybe to join this NFT shit. 😡

Some fans are creating memes to make it easier for others to understand the overall ‘NFT photocard’ deal in hilarious ways.

when the power goes out and u can't see ur hybe nft photocard anymore
me eating my nft kimchi from hybe cafeteria
me showing the hybe ceo the jeonghan overpriced $5.4k nft selfie that i managed to screenshot from their database

Then there’s also the environment at stake, a stand BTS has always advocated. Fans are now calling HYBE hypocritical and downright disrespectful, as the group’s reputation, too, is facing the brunt.

Cryptocurrency and NFTs are majorly a part of the Ethereum blockchain, which reportedly consumes roughly the amount of annual power consumption of countries similar to Colombia’s size and Denmark’s carbon footprint yearly.

Inc24 from the Digiconomist Ethereum Energy Index states:

“A single transaction — minting, bidding, canceling, sales and transfer of ownership — on Ether emits carbon equivalent to watching YouTube for 13,000 hours and uses electricity that could power a house in a developed country for six days!”

HYBE has made no official statements since the outcry, and they gave no specifics if the NFTs would use “environment-friendly” blockchains, which are still reportedly harmful or not.

Meanwhile, other K-pop agencies such as YG Entertainment and JYP Entertainment also announced their foray into the NFT business. Multiple fandoms have thus joined hands to express their frustration with these organizations.

Edited by Ravi Iyer
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