NFTs — they’re everywhere! They’re nowhere! Are they art? Are they the future? Are they proof that we’ve all lost our collective minds? A $69 million Beeple sold at Christie’s last year; Jack Dorsey sold an NFT of his first tweet. Martha Stewart got in on it. So did Edward Snowden, Melania Trump, the NBA, MF DOOM, and the Associated Press.
It was only a matter of time before this digital sensation came for restaurants. And now, the moment has arrived: “NFT guru” Gary Vaynerchuk and his hospitality company, VCR Group, have announced they will open what they are calling “the 1st NFT Restaurant,” and it will be right here in New York City. What does this mean? Why is this happening? What on earth are we even talking about right now? All good questions! And we’ve got some answers!
What is the world’s “first NFT restaurant”?
The restaurant in question will be called Flyfish Club, according to its own marketing materials. It will be a members-only restaurant. The membership will be the NFT. You will pay for it with cryptocurrency.
Remind me what NFTs are again?
An NFT is a non-fungible token …
… So the restaurant won’t serve mushrooms?
I see what you did there, but no — a non-fungible token is a unique digital asset stored cryptographically on the blockchain.
I won’t even bother to ask you to decipher all of that.
Right. It’s a computer thing that can’t be copied, essentially.
Right, right, right. So to go to this restaurant, I need to buy one of these NFTs?
Which is a membership.
Sort of. An NFT is an asset. You can sell it; you can transfer it. Because there is a leasing mechanism whereby the token holder can lease their token to a non–token holder on a monthly basis, there is even, Flyfish Club’s website explains, a “potential ‘passive income strategy’ that could exist here,” although that depends largely on the existence of a constant stream of would-be diners hungry for temporary access to your membership, which is why it is “potential.”
But it’s just … a restaurant?
Oh, definitely not. It will have a cocktail lounge, an upscale seafood restaurant, an omakase room (reserved for top-tier members only), and outdoor space spanning more than 10,000 square feet “in an iconic New York City location,” although that exact location has not yet been announced.
Is this a metaverse thing, or will it physically exist?
Flyfish Club is slated to open — at a real-world location — sometime in the first half of 2023.
And it will have real food?
The food will be corporeal, yes.
And I’ll pay for it with cryptocurrency?
No. You pay for your membership with crypto. You pay for food with fiat currency.
What kind of food?
Honestly, after these past couple of years, I would love to belong to something — anything! How much will this cost me?
Well … it’s complicated. When the company released 1,151 tokens on Friday, the regular membership, which gets you into a lounge and the high-end seafood restaurant, was going for 2.5 ETH (about $7,900). An omakase membership, on the other hand — which includes access to reservations at a 14-seat omakase room, in which a still-unspecified master sushi chef will prepare you fish newly arrived from Japan — was going for 4.25 ETH (approximately $13,485).
Those aren’t the prices now. If you want a membership now, you’re looking at the secondary market. On OpenSea — which you can think of as NFT eBay — standard memberships are currently going for somewhere around 3.4 ETH, or (as of this writing, at 9:23 a.m. on Wednesday) $11,527.77.
I don’t think I have $11,000 available just to buy the ability to go to a specific, as-yet-unopened restaurant.
Don’t worry — it all fluctuates wildly. By next week, it might be even more expensive or, alternatively, a bargain!
But it’s definitely going to open?
And this would be a … good development?
Think of it this way: If Flyfish Club really does open during its announced time frame of sometime in the first half of 2023, then it at least means we’ve all made it to 2023. At this point, that’s at least something to hope for.