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After a $530 million cyber heist jeopardized their chances of getting paid, a cryptocurrency-themed Japanese pop group called Virtual Currency Girls announced that it’s staying loyal to its brand and refusing to be paid in regular money.

The girl group first made waves earlier this month just for the sheer fact that it exists. Each one of the eight Virtual Currency Girls represents a different cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Cardano.

Onstage, the group wears a uniform of maid dresses and personalized “lucha libre”-style masks, each with a different currency’s symbol. Its debut single “The Moon and Virtual Currencies and Me” reminds listeners to check their password strength and be wary of fraud. Clearly, these ladies are passionate about online banking.

A top-to-bottom crypto-pop group has never existed before, so how the Virtual Currency Girls will fare business-wise is still yet to be seen. According to the Verge, the band was actually started by the entertainment company Cinderella Academy as a tool to educate the public about cryptocurrencies.

Japan passed laws last April that recognize bitcoin as legal tender, and cryptocurrency trade in the country reportedly accounts for around half of global trade volume. The group takes payment for its concert tickets, merchandise, and other products through cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum and uses a cryptocurrency account to receive payments.

But the group’s account was frozen Friday as a part of a suspension of trading at Tokyo-based Coincheck exchange, after a $530 million heist involving the popular digital currency NEM, according to Reuters.

While what sounds like an IRL-Ocean’s 11 scenario was playing out at its bank, the group’s management apparently offered to compensate the Virtual Currency Girls in yen for the time being. But the girls are sticking to their investing guns.

“Our manager offered to pay us in yen, but we declined,” said Hinano Shirahama, who is the band’s Bitcoin character.

As Stereogum points out, the group’s timing may not be great. Just this week, South Korea banned anonymous cryptocurrency trading, which caused a precipitous drop in bitcoin prices.

Christine Friar

Christine Friar

Christine Friar is a writer and editor in New York who focuses on streaming entertainment and internet culture. Her work has appeared in the Awl, the Fader, New York Magazine, Paper Magazine, Vogue, Elle, and more.

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