After fighting in court since 2015, the former hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in prison for conspiring to commit securities fraud and he was forced to pay $7.4 million in fines. One of Shkreli’s prized possessions, an unreleased Wu-Tang Clan album, was seized by the U.S. Marshals and sold for $4 million. Just recently, the public was told that the unreleased record called “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” was sold to the non-fungible token (NFT) collectors syndicate called “Pleasrdao.”
The New Owners of ‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin’
Long ago, the hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli used to live stream and brag about his unreleased Wu-Tang Clan album he purchased at an auction for $2 million in 2015. However, a few years later, Shkreli was sentenced by the U.S. court system for conspiring to commit securities fraud and he was sentenced to seven years.
While spending his prison sentence at the low-security Federal prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania, Shkreli was also forced to forfeit a lot of his wealth and pay fines of up to $7.4 million. The coveted Wu-Tang album he bragged about was seized by U.S. Marshals.
The new owner of “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” is a group called Pleasrdao, a collective of defi leaders, early NFT collectors, and digital artists. According to an in-depth report published on October 20, 2021, the Pleasrdao collective purchased the Wu-Tang album for $4 million and the organization aims to bring the unreleased record back to the people. Jamis Johnson, Pleasrdao’s “chief pleasing officer,” explains that the purchase was a great accomplishment.
“This beautiful piece of art, this ultimate protest against middlemen and rent-seekers of musicians and artists, went south by going into the hands of Martin Shkreli, the ultimate internet villain,” Johnson explained. “We want this to be us bringing this back to the people. We want fans to participate in this album at some level.”
Community Ownership and Private Exhibition Concepts
The group’s website says that the DAO is experimenting with digital and community ownership. “Its members are exploring ideas such as fractionalizing iconic pieces to be distributed to, and owned by, the community.”
When speaking about acquiring the unreleased Wu-Tang Clan record, Cyrus Bozorgmehr, an individual who worked closely with the album, explained that the album could be played for people paying for exhibition tickets.
“You couldn’t play [the album] onstage at Coachella, but you could take out six really cool spaces across the world and do exhibitions with it where 200 people come at a time,” Bozorgmehr said. Currently, the Pleasrdao collective has not disclosed what they plan to do with the coveted Wu-Tang Clan album called “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.”
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