Self-proclaimed fans of a popular Chinese boy band have built an initial coin offering (ICO) around their idols, amid controversy over the project's legitimacy.
At the heart of the project is a well-known home-grown pop band named The Fighting Boys (or TFBoys), formed by three teens – Karry Wang, Roy Wang, and Jackson Yi – in 2013. Notably, last year, Roy Wang was featured by Time as one of the 30 most influential teens of 2017.
Amid the band's overwhelming popularity in China, an unnamed group of fans have just launched an ICO to raise funds, supposedly aimed to build a blockchain ecosystem around the teen trio.
The project is notable, not only because it sets out on a mission to disrupt the dynamics between celebrities and fans using blockchain technology, but also since it has launched after China officially banned ICOs in September of last year.
While the ICO organizers state on their website that the project excludes residents from China, it has yet to physically bar IP addresses from inside the country.
According to the project's website, the token – called TFBC – will eventually be used for purchasing albums and concert tickets, as well as offline meet-ups with the teen idols. Ultimately, it aims to facilitate a blockchain ecosystem around the band, and maintained by the fans themselves.
As of press time, according to information available after account registration, nearly 20,000 people have participated in the sale and at least 4.2 million TFBC have been sold for ether.
Based on a 3,000 TFBC to 1 ETH ratio, the project may have received around 1,400 ETH – worth a little over $1 million at time of writing, according to CoinDesk's Ether Price Index.
The website further disclosed that out of the total 59,993,157 TFBC being issued, 60 percent is reserved for the band, while the remainder is being issued to fans.
However, a statement from Time Fengjun Entertainment, the official management agency of TFBoys – issued soon after the project came into public's attention on Feb. 10 via its official Weibo account – has attempted to distance the pop trio form the project.
The agency stated that it has nothing to do with the ICO and alleged that the claim of token reserves held for the three boys is completely bogus. The company further claimed that the ICO organizer is using the name of TFBoys to conduct an illegal fundraising activity.
Amid the accusations, the project issued two statements on Feb. 11 to reiterate that it is self-organized by fans who have no connection to the band's management, and that it is not offering services to Chinese residents (even though it still remains accessible by Chinese residents). The project further stated that the TFBC tokens reserved for the band are being temporarily stored in an ethereum address.
They also indicate on the ICO website that the 40 percent of the total TFBC up for sale will be available for trading on an exchange platform that is yet to be launched.
The exchange, dubbed StarCoinEx, touts its speciality in listing super-star focused tokens. According to its website, it claims that cryptocurrency assets to be available in future include ones for Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, as well as several other popular celebrities in China.
At press time, the ICO project organizer had not responded to a CoinDesk email seeking comment.
Banner image via TFBC ICO project
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