Crypto Company Buys One-of-a-Kind Wu-Tang Clan Album Once Owned by ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli

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It was triumph for the cryto company as they got their hands on arguably the most sought-after record in modern times.

A crypto company has purchased the rare and one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album, “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” from the U.S. government after it was seized from “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli, the New York Times reported.

In July, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District said that it sold the rare rap record to an unnamed buyer. Now, the New York Times reported that cryptocurrency company PleasrDAO bought the album.

PleasrDAO purchased the album for $4 million and took possession on September 10, according to the Times. The transaction was done “in a complex deal with multiple parties, one of whom remains unidentified,” the Times said.

The company is holding the sole copy of the album in an undisclosed vault in New York City, Okayplayer reported.

PleasrDAO hopes to make the album more widely available to the public, if it can get approval from RZA and producer Cilvaringz, Pitchfork reported.

The proceeds from the sale of the album will be applied to a forfeiture money judgment against Shkreli, the DOJ announced in July.

The 38-year-old Shkreli forfeited his interest in the album following conviction for engaging in securities fraud schemes in 2017 and was sentenced to seven years in federal prison.

“Through the diligent and persistent efforts of this Office and its law enforcement partners, Shkreli has been held accountable and paid the price for lying and stealing from investors to enrich himself. With today’s sale of this one-of-a-kind album, his payment of the forfeiture is now complete,” Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a July statement.

Shkreli purchased the rare Wu-Tang Clan album at auction in 2015 for $2 million.

“Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” became the hottest item for music fans to try and access as the record, which apparently contains 31 songs, was recorded in secret by the Staten Island hip-hop collective and only one copy was made. The record is considered both an “album and an artifact,” according to the DOJ. 

The album includes a hand-carved nickel-silver box as well as a leather-bound manuscript containing lyrics and a certificate of authenticity; it is also subject to various restrictions, including those relating to the duplication of its sound recordings.

"The intrinsic value of music has been reduced to zero," the group explained on the album’s website. "Contemporary art is worth millions by virtue of its exclusivity. The album is a piece of contemporary art."

Following his conviction, Shkreli attempted to sell “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” through an online auction but failed.

Shkreli, the founder and managing member of hedge funds MSMB Capital Management LP and MSMB Healthcare Management LP, and the former Chief Executive Officer of Retrophin Inc., was convicted in August 2017 of two counts of securities fraud and one count of securities fraud conspiracy for orchestrating a series of schemes to defraud investors in the hedge funds and to manipulate the price and trading volume of Retrophin’s stock.

He inflated the price of a drug, Daraprim, used to treat HIV patients, newborns and malaria infections, by 5,000% using his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals. The original cost of the drug was $13.50, when Shrkeli hiked the price up to $750 a tablet, Fox News reported.

Following the news of the pill’s price hike, many dubbed Shkreli “Pharma Bro,” and even led to Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah to come after the hedge-fund head in a 2016 video in which the rapper called him “a super villain.”

“People can’t pay that much man,” Ghostface said in the video. “You a real killer man, you’re a real killer. But you’re a soft killer. Youse a clown.”

Ghostface continued, “You ain’t been through nothing,” adding, “you never been in the crib with welfare cheese and fried bologna and all that stuff like that for dinner at night.”

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