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Cryptocurrency gets an invitation to dinner at Gary Vaynerchuk and the VCR Group’s latest project — Flyfish Club, the world’s first NFT (non-fungible token) restaurant, scheduled to open in New York in early 2023. “We’re gonna try and rewrite the game,” says Vaynerchuk.
Vaynerchuk, the Belarusian-American entrepreneur known as chairman and CEO of eponymous media agencies VaynerX and VaynerMedia, has been a vocal supporter of NFTs as they swiftly permeate the cultural and fiscal economy. Are NFTs really everywhere? Well, someone did pay over $400 for an NFT consisting of a 52-minute recording of farts. Yes folks, we are living in a (semi-dystopian?) Jetsons reality!
According to VCR, “Flyfish Club is a seafood-inspired restaurant that caters to private members and their guests. As the world’s first NFT restaurant, membership is purchased on the blockchain and becomes an asset to the token holder, which provides access to our dining club and various culinary, cultural and social experiences.”
For those of us who haven’t, say, mastered digital currency beyond Venmo — here’s a quick primer on non-fungible tokens. Like bitcoin, NFTs are a representation of data stored on a digital ledger, known as a blockchain. Unlike bitcoin, in which each coin is worth an equal (if constantly fluctuating) monetary value, each NFT asset is valued at its own price and is not interchangeable with another — in other words, if bitcoin is the dollar of the cryptocurrency world, then an NFT can be worth as much as the Mona Lisa or as little as a postcard.
At Flyfish Club, interested parties can purchase a lifetime membership (available to lease or sell on the secondary cryptocurrency market) at two levels — Flyfish, a membership to the 150-seat seafood restaurant and lounge listed at 2.5 Ether (a popular cryptocurrency) that translates to approximately $8,500, or Omakase, a membership to the restaurant, lounge, and 14-seat private omakase dining room listed at 4.25 Ether, or approximately $14,500. Have sticker shock? Consider that these prices are only approximate estimates (the value of Ether does fluctuate) — and memberships are, as of this printing, listed on the secondary market for thousands of dollars more. Make sure to save some actual coins, though — food and drink can only be paid for with fiat currency, aka the less-than-trendy dollar.
With few other details available about the restaurant itself, many may wonder — are NFT restaurants really the way forward? Digital currency thought leader, investor, and entrepreneur Peter Shankman thinks it all depends on how Flyfish and other businesses approach their audience.
What Flyfish and other NFT-based companies are selling is access — and NFTs are the “gloried golden ticket,” says Shankman. If Flyfish can attract customers looking for access to the exclusive experience of a private club, then they will have a strong audience base. Shankman elaborates, “Buying an NFT because you like the type of food they serve — and I heard the food is good — is no different than buying a pass to a cigar bar or Soho House. The NFT is the secondary aspect of the business.” But companies that are too focused on the hype-factor of NFTs may eventually suffer, warns Shankman. “An NFT for the sake of an NFT does not have as much merit.” He projects that only 1% of NFTs account for 95% of total monetary value.
And will NFTs replace the dollar? Not exactly, but Shankman predicts that carefully arranged NFT wallet displays will become the newest curated feed to share our personal brand with the world — overtaking the Instagram grid and (most certainly), the Facebook status.
Want to purchase a golden ticket to Flyfish Club for yourself? A location has yet to be announced (they promise “iconic views of New York City”)— but given the glossy, futuristic nature of the project, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to bet a few Bitcoin that Hudson Yards, already close to Gary Vaynerchuk’s offices, might be the future home of Flyfish.