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Taiwan boy band star Van Ness Wu praises NFTs, prepares for charity selfie sale

California-born singer looks to rekindle relationship with his fans as he pledges to donate the proceeds from his NFT sale to a Taiwan-based NGO.

Van Ness Wu, a member of Taiwanese boy band F4, has told Forkast.News that non-fungible tokens can help to re-establish an “intimate connection and interaction” with his fans.

The singer this week announced to his 1 million Instagram followers that he planned to create a collage of selfies from fans to sell it off as an NFT — a unique, non-interchangeable digital asset whose authenticity and true ownership is tracked on a blockchain.

The NFT will live on the ThunderCore blockchain and be available on a marketplace powered by CaptureClub unique to Wu.

Wu pledged to donate all proceeds of the sale to the Family of Joy Foundation, a Taiwan-based NGO that focuses on improving the lives of children with special needs.

He said he wanted to show appreciation to everyone who had supported him since the beginning of his career.

“I feel like it's a cool way to kind of do something together… have skin in the game, if you will,” he told Forkast.News

Recalling past days, when concerts were the only way for fans to interact directly with musicians, Wu described himself as “old-school,” and said he wanted to bring back the special qualities that music had once represented. 

Hailing from the age of cassette tapes and vinyl, Wu lamented that the “nostalgia of everything is taken away [by technology],” and said NFTs could allow artists to create unique digital assets in the same manner as analog limited-edition baseball cards. 

Wu is hardly alone in his embrace of NFTs. Artists, musicians, celebrities and influencers are piling into the NFT scene. 

According to data from digital art portal Cryptoart.io, between February 2020 and April 2021, Nifty Gateway, a digital auction platform for NFT art, launched 3,009 NFTs, with more than 145,600 editions minted for purchase, representing 272 artists. 

The NFTs raised a total of US$305 million. The report showed that total sales in the primary market were strong, with just over 139,000 editions sold, representing a sales rate of 95.5% and an average price of US$1,228. The sales volume in the secondary market was almost half that of the primary market, but the average sale price was higher, at $1,938 per NFT.

As NFTs gain attention worldwide, in Asia, they are only beginning to shake up the arts, with the first Chinese song sold as an NFT purchased for 300,000 yuan (US$47,000) at an auction in late May.

Wu doesn’t see NFTs as a “quick cash-grab.”

“You really have to understand what you are doing, why you are doing it, and how you are doing it, and creating something I feel … has a deeper meaning to it,” he said. 

For Wu, that means using his star power to help the Family of Joy Foundation provide assistance to those less fortunate than himself, and giving his fans a boost while he’s at it.

Correction: June 9, 2021
An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of Van Ness as Vanness and misidentified the Family of Joy Foundation, an NGO in Taiwan, as an organization with a similar name in India. The Van Ness NFTs will be for sale and not up for auction.