K-pop stars are trying to cash in on the Bitcoin frenzy by having new cryptocurrencies mined under their name.
Q-ri and Eun-jung of girl band T-ara have signed a deal with Australian cryptocurrency platform ENT Cash to issue virtual money using their names. They will be issued in Australia since doing so in Korea is illegal.
A staffer at Aimhigh Global, the Korean partner of the deal, said, "No decisions have been made in terms of the size and date of the issuance."
The cryptocurrency is strictly for fans and can be used to buy T-ara's concert tickets and memorabilia, but the companies hope that their value will soar as they grow in popularity.
Chinese boy band TFBoys have already issued their own cryptocurrency even though Beijing bans virtual currency trading and possession. But more than 20,000 fans bypassed restrictions to buy it in the first 10 days raising the pool of money to around W1.6 billion (US$1=W1,069).
Their management agency has distanced itself from the cryptocurrency, but fans have already begun using it to buy concert tickets and albums.
But the risks are high. One staffer at a cryptocurrency exchange said, "If the popularity of a celebrity tanks, the value of the virtual currency bearing their name will also plummet."
Q-ri (left) and Eun-jung of girl band T-ara