Each member of the band represents a different cryptocurrency, from Bitcoin to Ripple. The group shot to fame at the turn of the year, when they held their inaugural live concert in Tokyo, debuting some of their latest tracks including 'The Moon', 'Cryptocurrencies' and 'Me'. Despite being annoyingly catchy – for those into zany Japanese pop, that is – the lyrics are also somewhat educational, designed to warn their fans about the importance of security when managing trading accounts and not to underestimate the volatility of the cryptocurrency markets. For the price of 0.001 bitcoin (equating to around £12) fans of the group could meet and have their photo taken with their favourite member.
The Virtual Currency Girls were formed by the Japanese entertainment group Cinderella Academy, in a bid to raise awareness of the digital currency world and the benefits of using decentralised currencies in real-life situations. The group’s leader, Rara Naruse, admitted it wasn’t the band’s intention to promote cryptocurrency as an investment strategy, but more as a talking point about the way the world’s payment methods and technologies are evolving. Naruse said the group wants “everyone to learn more about them”.
In a gimmick and a show of confidence in the security of cryptocurrency platforms, the Virtual Currency Girls are paid in digital currency for all tickets and merchandise sold at their gigs. That’s despite a cyber-attack on the same cryptocurrency exchange that the Virtual Currency Girls use. Their account was one of over 250,000 frozen following suspension of trading at Coincheck due to a theft of a digital currency similar to Bitcoin, known as NEM.
Young Japanese investors are particularly interested in digital currencies given the recent prospects of growth in the value of Bitcoin amid a backdrop of rock-bottom interest rates and modest returns from traditional investment assets in recent years. The financial authorities in Japan also granted Bitcoin legal tender status in 2017, setting the nation apart from neighbouring Asian countries such as China where tighter restrictions are being placed on cryptocurrencies.
Many people are already predicting what the next song titles will be regarding the cryptocurrency boom. Whether it’s Bet on your favourite football team with Bitcoin due to the increasing number of Bitcoin-only platforms allowing fans to place a sports bet with bitcoins at highly competitive odds, compared with traditional online sportsbooks; or Keep your eye on Ripple due to its 35,000% increase in value during the last 12 months, we sure can’t wait to find out!
The enormous success of their debut Tokyo concert suggests there will almost certainly be a nationwide tour of Japan for the Virtual Currency Girls this year. Whether Michael Eavis will snap them up for Glastonbury Festival 2019 remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a novel way of raising the profile of these legitimate currencies in the Land of the Rising Sun.