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Eminem Partners With Baby Shark NFT

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SmartStudy, the company behind the viral “Baby Shark Dance” video, is getting into NFTs.

The South Korean online education company announced a collaboration with MakersPlace, a San Francisco-based firm that mints and distributes non-fungible tokens, on Tuesday to launch its Baby Shark NFT collection next month. Fans of the animated shark family can purchase Baby Shark NFTs on MakersPlace, a crowdfunding platform founded by musician Eminem and former Sotheby’s CEO Bill Ruprecht.

“As a phenomenon formed on the internet, it is a logical development for Baby Shark to embrace NFTs, which will be a big milestone in the next chapter of Baby Shark’s stamp on the digital world,” said Bin Jeong, CEO of Pinkfong USA, a SmartStudy company, in a statement. With about 9.7 billion views, “Baby Shark Dance” is the most-viewed video on YouTube. The two-minute earworm about a shark family, which debuted in 2016, became popular in 2018.

NFTs are blockchain-stored digital assets that authenticate the authenticity of artefacts such as music, artwork, and in-game items. Hybe (the agency behind K-pop sensation BTS) and Cube Entertainment, another big K-pop agency, have announced similar collaborations to create NFTs of their popular musicians in recent weeks.

 

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MakersPlace reported in August that it had raised $30 million in Series A funding headed by Bessemer Venture Partners, a Silicon Valley-based fund best known for its investments in Pinterest and Shopify, as well as Pantera Capital. MakersPlace was launched in 2018 by Yash Nelapati (the first Pinterest employee), Daniel Chu, and Ryoma Ito.

Shares of Korea-listed Samsung Publishing, SmartStudy’s second-largest shareholder after co-founder and CEO Kim Min-Seok, rose roughly 6% on Tuesday following the NFT news. Kim’s uncle, garment entrepreneur Kim Chang-soo, is the 10th richest person in Korea, with a net worth of $3.6 billion, according to the Real-Time Billionaires List.