PleasrDAO Purchases One-of-a-Kind Wu-Tang Album

The art collective did not reveal plans for the album, but teased that something may be in the works.

Photo: James Jeffrey Taylor

Key Takeaways

  • PleasrDAO revealed today in a blog post that it had purchased Wu-Tang Clan's one-of-a-kind 2015 album.
  • The album's previous owners include Martin Shkreli and the United States Government.
  • Though no plans for the album were revealed, PleasrDAO teased that some may be forthcoming.

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The digital art collective PleasrDAO has purchased the sole copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, once owned by disgraced pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli and seized by the U.S. Government as part of the forfeiture of Shkreli’s assets. PleasrDAO has not yet revealed any plans for the album.

Wu-Tang Album Out of Government Custody

PleasrDAO, a self-styled “collective of DeFi leaders, early NFT collectors, and digital artists” with a reputation for curating culturally significant NFTs, has added a new and notable rarity to its real-world art collection—Wu-Tang Clan’s famous “one-of-one” 2015 album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin

Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is famous for being extraordinarily rare—only one copy is known to exist. In fact, only one copy is legally allowed to exist. The album was the brainchild of Tarik “Cilvaringz” Azzougarh, a Wu-Tang fanatic who eventually worked his way into the band’s circles and pushed the idea of an album that would only exist as a single copy and contractually could not be copied or commercially distributed for a minimum of 88 years. 

The album also secured a famous, though infamous, buyer—“Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli, who gained notoriety for hiking the price of AIDS drugs to unaffordable levels and who was eventually tried and convicted for securities fraud by the Department of Justice. As a result of that conviction, the U.S. Government seized Shkreli’s assets, including the one-of-a-kind album, in 2018. Since then, the mystery album has languished in government custody.

It was reported in July that the government had found a buyer for the album, though at the time they remained anonymous. The price of the sale was unclear, although the government revealed that the sale of the album would cover the outstanding balance of the $7.4 million Shkreli had been ordered to pay in a forfeiture money judgment. 

PleasrDAO has now revealed itself as the final buyer and current owner of the album. As evidence, PleasrDAO’s “chief pleasing officer” Jamis Johnson detailed the acquisition in a video and blog post earlier today which depicts, among other events, Johnson listening to the album.

PleasrDAO has not revealed its plans for the album and is severely limited by the album’s contractual restrictions, which remain in effect and forbid any public distribution of the album’s contents. Still, Johnson indicated that there could be plans in the works, writing in his blog post, “we firmly believe there are ways to share this musical masterpiece with the world.”

He told Rolling Stone, however: “For people reading this…it’s gonna take a long time to be done right.”

Disclaimer: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned BTC, ETH, and several other cryptocurrencies. 

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