New York Restaurant Offers Membership as Non-Fungible Token (NFT)
The New York headquartered VCR Group is offering membership to its yet-to-be opened Restaurant in the form of NFTs (non-fungible tokens), a first of its kind in the US and across the globe. The NFTs, which went on sale Friday, representing memberships can be bought by paying in cryptocurrencies.
The New York restaurant, named Flyfish Club, will not be ready to welcome customers before 2023. The seafood-themed restaurant will operate under VCR Group, which was established by businessmen Gary Vaynerchuk by joining hands with restaurant expert David Rodolitz, CEO and founding partner of Empellon Restaurant Group, Josh Capon, chief culinary officer (Lure Fishbar) and Conor Hanlon, previous executive vice president of operations at NoHo Hospitality.
Even though the exact location of the proposed New York City restaurant is yet to be disclosed, FlyFish Club will function as a private dining center with exemplary view of New York city. The membership in the form of NFT held on blockchain can be bought using Ether (ETH), the native crypto of Ethereum blockchain. The NFTs, representing membership of the restaurant, can be resold or even rented on secondary market such as Opensea.io, which is construed as eBay for digital assets.
In the restaurant industry, NFTs have mostly been employed as marketing tools. The majority have indeed been digital paintings or some other unique creations. The NFTs, in this context is a membership that grants admission to an eatery. On Friday, a total of 1,151 memberships were offered for sale and was quickly taken up. As per the VCR Group website, 350 tokens were bought in a private transaction on December 15, while another tranche of 1,534 tokens were kept as reserve by VCR founders to “further popularize the brand.”
There were two forms of membership available: The normal Flyfish Club membership, valid for the lifespan of the restaurant and grants entry to the primary dining room and cocktail bar, was originally sold for 2.5 Ether (or roughly $7,900), but the token was being traded at 3.9 Ether (or approximately $12,528) at in the secondary market.
The premium membership, named Omakase, was first sold for 4.25 Ether (or roughly $13,485), includes admission to an omakase room with an unidentified internationally popular sushi chef. The membership was being traded at 7.4 Ether (or around $23,771) in the secondary market.
Membership, on the other hand, just grants you entry. As in any other restaurant, members will have to pay in the US dollars for food and drinks, and not in cryptocurrency. The planned 10,000-square-foot restaurant is not anticipated to be ready to welcome customers before 2023. However, the aim is to transform membership into an valuable asset, which could generate passive income through leasing for a period of time, as is feasible, or if they resell for a greater price.
Notably, Ito, an omakase-model Japanese restaurant managed by Masa Ito and Kevin Kim, is operated by VCR Group. There is no clarity as to whether Ito and Kim would be participating in Flyfish Club.
Nevertheless, the NFT launch was welcomed with both excitement and skepticism. Cryptocurrencies are making inroads into conventional banking, and VRC Group wasn’t the only restaurant owner looking at the possibilities.
In the months ahead, Cincinnati-headquartered Wings and Rings will take Bitcoin as payment of franchise fees, for example, while the Starbucks app has already integrated Bakkt digital wallet which facilitates loyalty members to recharge their Starbucks cards using digital assets.