South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange assured fans that its NFT starring K-pop artists BTS will be “eco-friendly.” This was after it received criticism from environmentally responsible young supporters.
In a collaborative effort with BTS’s management company, Hybe, Upbit started its cryptocurrency art platform in November. It promises to create a selection of NFTs showcasing members of the boy band.
Nevertheless, some of the group’s younger fans have expressed concerns about NFTs and the cryptocurrency industry in general. These concerns are based on the energy usage needed in mining and the identification of ownership of the NFTs.
In an interview, Sirgoo Lee, CEO of Upbit’s operator Dunamu, said the partnership with Hybe will use “low carbon, environmentally friendly” technology to produce the NFTs.
Upbit’s NFT exchange, according to Lee, uses blockchain technology built by Lambda256, a Dunamu subsidiary. Also, Lambda256 promises to consume 99.99% less power on its Luniverse system than major blockchain-based networks like Ethereum.
“We’ll try to communicate to the supporters that this isn’t bad for the environment,” Lee stated.
The very first token bought on the platform was a picture of a girl cuddling a cat named “Mirage Cat 3” created by artist Jang Koal. As of November, it had a bitcoin sale price of almost $173,000.
Luniverse said that the energy used by the whole blockchain platform, along with NFTs, was “roughly 842.53kWh per year.” Consequently, this is roughly similar to a US household utility user’s monthly electricity usage.
Platform of South Korea
South Korea has one of the largest cryptocurrency platforms in the world. Per the information from Coinhills, an industry tracker, about the Korean won. In the world of bitcoin trading, it’s the number three most used unit. On top of that, it comes after the US dollar and the Japanese yen, amounting to 3.4 % of worldwide transactions.
In addition, Lee emphasized the importance of a global effort to address the issue. This includes the money laundering and cyber theft.
In 2019, hackers broke into the Upbit exchange and stole around $49 million in ether.
“Getting hacked and losing all of the clients’ money is among my worst fears. It’s a heavy burden that keeps you awake at night,” Lee explained. When it comes to going to prison, “I’m more terrified of getting viciously attacked by our investors than I am.”
A large number of younger South Koreans are active digital asset investors. Experts say that high levels of unemployment are a contributing factor. Increasing property values also have an impact on it.
Bitcoin prices have risen in South Korea as a result of the cryptocurrency craze. It is currently trading at a 2-3% premium to the US dollar, a decrease from a spread that peaked at 20% last year.
NFTs and big earnings from cryptocurrency trading represent a significant financial risk to young Koreans who are unable to repay their debts, according to Lee. Apart from that, he claimed that their knowledge of the asset class was undervalued.
“In western countries, young individuals grew up gaming on consoles after school. However, in Korea, these individuals go online to play games. Therefore, they are accustomed to purchasing and acquiring digital goods,” Lee explained in detail. These individuals recognize the importance of digital assets.
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