Making money in Web 3.0: Membership Club NFTs

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Savvy entrepreneurs are building real businesses using blockchain technology right under our noses. These are not far off, obscure concepts, but very real use cases that are being developed, tested and applied right before our eyes. And those not paying attention run the risk of missing out on their opportunity to win in web 3.0.

An NFT is a token used to represent ownership of a unique asset and this token is then stored on a public blockchain like Ethereum, Cardano or Solana. The asset that an NFT on the blockchain will represent can be anything from artwork to land in a metaverse game to sports collectables.

And, of course, one of the most promising things that an NFT can represent is a membership. NFTs are effective identification tools and so are perfect for acting as proof of membership because by living on the blockchain, they are impossible to counterfeit or duplicate. There are many examples of how this is already a thing.

Everyone is familiar with Bored Ape Yacht club and how owning one of these incredibly expensive jpegs gets you into the best parties at NFT NYC and other global NFT gatherings and potentially so much more. But there are other examples of this NFT membership model you should be aware of.

Let's start with Maxwell Tribeca an ambitious NFT social club expected to rival the likes of Soho Houses' Meatpacking district location. With a focus on creating a homely vibe, members can serve guests from a kitchen and the space will be kitted out to look like a lavish living room.

Membership at Maxwell Tribeca will include access to an 8,000-square-foot space in New York City where you'll have a personal or shared locker to stash drinks which you can enjoy when visiting. This members-only club will of course require an NFT to join and gain access.

Another example is happening in the Hospitality space. Gary Vee has pulled no punches in expressing his passion for all things Web 3. He has already demonstrated his commitment to NFTs by creating his Veefriends NFT collection which acts as an access pass to his popular Veecon conference. Now, he has set his sights on the membership hospitality space. Partnering up with VCR group, a well-known hospitality organisation, Gary Vee is set to open his luxury “seafood-inspired” dining club in Manhattan in 2023. To gain access to the “Flyfish Club,” members must own a flyfish NFT.

The membership comes in two tiers, a basic option that allows you to eat in the restaurant and a second more expensive option which grants access to the Omakase room with specially curated dishes.

Members do not have to apply or pay any re-occurring fees like most other social clubs and they can lease or resell their membership. Customers do still have to pay for their food in USD so apart from the NFT membership, it will operate like any other high-end social dining members club.

So why does the NFT element matter? Well, their website explains the utility and value:

"As an NFT, the membership becomes an asset to the token holder, which can later be sold, transferred or leased to others on the secondary market. By utilizing NFTs, FFC is able to create a loyal, member-community that we can provide special experiences for. NFT's create new modernistic financial models, which will allow FFC to deliver an exceptional and sustainable product for years to come.".

Here we have a high-quality restaurant and hospitality business, partnering with a prominent and influential Web 3.0 figure. Both come together to leverage the popularity, interest and hype surrounding the NFT space, to appeal to a luxury consumer who is probably already invested in crypto and inclined to seek out the finer things in life. A winning model, no doubt, as the Flyfish NFT collection sold out with prices sitting in the 2.5 -3.5 ETH range.

Another example is DJ Steve Aoki, jumping in with both feet. His A0K1VERSE club will use an NFT Passport to give members perks such as live concerts and metaverse events.

Created in collaboration with smart contract startup Manifold, A0K1VERSE club is the latest in a long line of projects the prominent DJ has undertaken in the crypto space. Selling his artwork and collaborating on a Solana marketplace with comic artist Todd McFarlane, are just a few of the ways DJ Steve Aoki has dabbled in the space.

Set to be an Ethereum NFT-driven membership community the club will give its members exclusive access to live and virtual concerts and a private Discord server with access to Aoki himself.

Looking at this from the outside, it may seem like any normal fan club but with a hefty price tag. However, in the purest Web 3.0 fashion community is at the heart of it. Manifold co-founder Richerd Chan—told Decrypt

"An NFT-centric membership club changes the dynamic from a typical celebrity fan club structure. Normally, a musician or entertainer is simply pushing content toward fans, and it’s a one-way street. With NFTs, holders can choose to engage if they want, will earn additional perks by participating and contributing, and can even sell and move on if they please. It also aligns incentives between artists and holders."

And, there are so many more examples:

  • The Drunken Monkey Club offers access to luxurious nightclubs, restaurants, bars, discounts and global member’s clubs.

  • Tiger Being, and NFT travel club membership which provides holders admission to various exclusive travel experiences and top hotels.

  • The Linked Collection is uniting members over a shared love of art offering members the chance to become collectors with access to exclusive art drops and galleries.

And, it isn't all about the non-fungible tokens. Take the example of now a very well know social club called 'Friends With Benefits" or FWB for short. Being a member of this exclusive club means you enter into a sort of pay to play agreement. 5 FWB tokens will grant you access to some local events and 75 gets you global access and voting rights in the DAO. So we are seeing organisations using the membership business model to create and leverage crypto tokens as a form of membership verification.

We are at the very beginning of the membership potential of NFTs and blockchain technology. We are witnessing the emergence of a whole new type of membership business model, one where members are partners and not just customers. Web 3.0 is centred on the premise or circulating value and building community. A lot of this happens online only, so perhaps this is one of the most exciting ways it can start to happen more IRL.

For those building members-only clubs with NFTs, they get to offer a high-quality experience that allows members to get their investment back by selling when they are done. Also, members can rest, assured knowing that the price they pay is defined by the market.

These businesses can look to profit through reoccurring membership fees alongside the initial NFT purchase but a more common practice in Web 3.0 is collecting a percentage on resales of the original NFT. This model of recycling value is central to the web 3.0 space and something we expect to see crop up across many business use cases as more ambitious entrepreneurs look for ways to win in web 3.0.