NFTs are on fire right now. Having seemingly sprung from nowhere, with the help of a little celebrity stardust they grew into a US$40 billon market last year. For the uninitiated, ‘non-fungible tokens’ are unique units of data linked to virtual or physical assets, which are stored on a blockchain – a decentralised digital ledger. NFTs can be sold and traded, and come with certificates of ownership and authenticity, which give them their value. In March 2021, digital artist Beeple made history when an NFT collage of his sold at Christie’s for US$69.3m, placing him among the world’s top three most valuable living artists.
Keen to capitalise on the current buzz around NFTs and the emergence of a new cultural class of crypto elite are business partners Adriano Karok and George Scholey, who met at school in Marbella. Karok runs nightclubs in Berlin and hails from German banking stock, while Scholey worked as an FX trader in London. Having witnessed the crazy levels of demand for memberships to wine-turned-tech entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk’s NFT-backed New York restaurant, FlyFish Club, Scholey and Karok were inspired to create the world’s first crypto-friendly private members’ club that will exist both in the physical and virtual realm, serving as a networking space for the world’s crypto elite.
Slated to open in early 2023, Coin Club will be housed across five floors in an old bank in London’s financial heart. Members will enter the City of London space via a ground floor boasting soaring ceilings, Corinthian columns, and a show-stopping circular bar.
The basement will be home to a nightclub, which will play host to a revolving roster of big-name DJs. On the upper floors you’ll find The Coin restaurant, specialising in high-end Japanese cuisine, private dining rooms and a rooftop cocktail bar, where members can drink in the London skyline. The middle floor, meanwhile, will serve as a gallery space showcasing the latest in contemporary art, taking in ‘analogue’ and digital works, which will be displayed on giant Samsung screens.
While the food and drink offering is yet to be finalised, Champagne will feature heavily on the wine list, and members will be able to buy their bottles of Dom Pérignon and Cristal with Bitcoin.
Membership to the club is granted via the purchase of a bespoke ‘Fat Cat’ NFT artwork, which gives you lifetime access to Coin Club venues around the world – Karok and Scholey have bold expansion plans, with a second Coin Club due to open in Paris in late 2023, and further sites planned for New York, LA and Tokyo down the line.
‘Fat Cat’ community
To coincide with the London launch, Coin Club will be releasing a collection of irreverent Fat Cat NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain in May. Dressed in pinstripe suits and top hats, the monocle-wearing, cigar-smoking felines are highly collectible. ‘We’ll be doing a whitelist drop of 111 Fat Cats at the end of May as part of pre-sale for close contacts,’ says Scholey. ‘We’ve collaborated with New York-based urban artist Spraykid on the artworks, who used London’s history as his inspiration, giving each cat its own backstory. We’ll be releasing 2,222 Fat Cats in different drops, culminating in a final drop of the two rarest cats.’
Due to be sold on NFT marketplace OpenSea, the floor price for a Fat Cat will be £50,000, and if they prove popular, their cost could quickly shoot up. The Spraykid artworks – created with the assistance of artist Kirsty Bynam – can be flipped on OpenSea whenever a Coin Club member fancies cashing in their kitty.
Putting his nightclub experience to good use, Karok is planning a launch party in September to give prospective Coin Club members a taste of what’s in store. ‘A big draw of Coin Club will be the 24-hour “Coinceirge” service we’ll be offering our members via an app, which will cover everything from securing tickets to concerts and major sporting events to fine wine sourcing,’ says Karok.
The crypto factor
Scholey believes the arrival of Coin Club comes at an exciting time for the financial sector, when the traditional old world and brave new world are colliding. ‘Our goal is to merge these two worlds at the club and offer the best of both. Coin Club will have the look and feel of a private members’ club and will also have an important presence in the digital space,’ he says.
In addition to the London flagship, members will be able to hang out at a digital twin of the club in the metaverse on The Sandbox gaming platform. ‘We want Coin Club to be a hub for the fast-evolving crypto world, a showcase for emerging digital artists, and a place where our members can launch new coins and NFTs,’ says Karok.
Coin Club is being targeted at London-based, ultra-high net worth individuals working in the crypto space, or those interested in investing in the burgeoning industry. ‘Crypto-friendly spaces are hard to find, so our goal is to create a place where the crypto community feels welcome and can share their ideas,’ says Scholey. Karok, meanwhile, is hoping that Coin Club will add credibility to the crypto space, which isn’t without its sceptics. ‘Rishi Sunak has asked the Royal Mint to create the UK government’s first NFT, and Amazon will soon be accepting Bitcoin, so crypto currency is very much here to stay,’ he says.