Back in 2014, 50 Cent was one of the first artists to take an initiative to allow bitcoins, as a valid method of payment for his fifth studio album, ‘Animal Ambition’.
A questionable investment, as till this day, popular thought on Bitcoin is skeptical. The cryptocurrency has unpredictable fluctuations (whether high or low) and is labelled by most old school investors including Warren Buffet as an extremely risky business venture. Nonetheless, it is a digital currency that holds value, or as 50 puts it “all money is money”.
At the time, one bitcoin was worth $662, and 50 Cent netted a total of 700 bitcoins from album sales, an equivalent to $460,000, approximately.
Today however, one bitcoin is valued at over $11,000, meaning 50’s original amount of 700 bitcoins is now worth roughly over $8 million.
“Not bad for a kid from South Side!” 50 Cent recalls.
Unaware of Bitcoin's increase throughout the years, The G-unit rapper has recently realized the fortune he just made. Admitting his oblivion in a recent Instagram post, he humorlessly mentions “I forgot I did this s**t lol”, gaining tons of media attention.
Fellow New York rap legend turned mogul Nas, spoke to CoinDesk and communicates his approval of the cryptocurrency, claiming Bitcoin is “as big, or bigger industry than the Internet”. In similar fashion, West coast rapper Nipsey Hussle also believes in the cause, and is noted to have invested in the digital currency. Could we be buying his upcoming album in bitcoins?
This raises the question of how cryptocurrencies can effectively be used in the music industry moving forward - the results could be revolutionary.
For example, instead of having to pay an additional fee when using a bank or PayPal as the channel to send and receive payments, cryptocurrencies offers an alternative.
Through the blockchain (an online ledger in which all Bitcoin transactions are recorded and verified), producers will be able to securely exchange beats and get fairly paid in return. The same goes for featured artists on a song. Also, in terms of sample clearances, artists can avoid the endless bureaucracy and legal requirements by paying an agreed sum of Bitcoins that is recorded for everyone to see on the blockchain. An attractive possibility for many.
As a genre, Hip Hop has never been opposed to new trends. Veterans of the game like Dr. Dre and Jay-Z, have both looked to integrate technology into music. Beats by Dre and Tidal, being the two primary examples. Will they continue to push the envelope with regards to Bitcoin?
The world of cryptocurrencies is still a developing industry that finds numerous people following the movement. It’s rapid growth is beginning to become a significant threat to the status quo. Although still ambitious to assume that bitcoin will be the dominant form of payment in the near future, 50 Cent’s recent gains highlights its potential in the music industry. Showing that he still follows his mantra, Get Rich or Die Tryin’.
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