The Flyfish Club isn’t scheduled to open until 2023, but it’s already generating a buzz among the most tech-savvy foodies. The seafood restaurant will offer guests “iconic views of New York City,” according to a promotional video. 

While its exact location has not yet been revealed, the managers of the establishment have announced that it will only be accessible to holders of NFTs, digital assets that are all the rage in the cryptocurrency world. But not just any NFT: only those of the Flyfish Club. They are currently available for purchase on the specialized platform OpenSea, for amounts up to 551 ethers (about $1.8 million). 

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These NFTs depict yellowfin tuna as well as different varieties of sushi and sashimi, in reference to the Flyfish Club’s marine-themed menu. These digital objects are classified into two categories, according to the trade publication Nation’s Restaurant News. The first, which is the most accessible, offers access to the main room of the restaurant as well as the cocktail bar. The second and more exclusive one allows its holder to eat in a special room where an internationally renowned sushi master officiates.

The restaurant industry turns to cryptocurrencies

While it’s necessary to present its NFT Flyfish Club to access the restaurant, customers will still have to pay for their meal. And not in cryptocurrency, but in dollars. 

(Related: Meet the Asian millennials making millions selling NFT art)

The New York restaurant is the latest project from the VCR Group. For David Rodolitz, co-founder of Flyfish Club, this business model based on NFT membership is a real opportunity for the restaurant industry.”We love food and drinks, but it’s a very difficult business model. The industry is very competitive, whether it’s rising rents, minimum wage, labor costs, it’s just very difficult, the margin is very small,” he told Nation’s Restaurant News. “There’s a limit to what you can charge the consumer and it’s getting to a point where the [business] model is not sustainable.” 

The Flyfish Club is the first restaurant in the world to call itself an “NFT restaurant.” However, other restaurants are copying their initiatives to surf on the craze around non-fungible tokens, and more generally around cryptocurrencies. The Wings and Rings chain recently offered its franchisees the possibility of paying part of their expenses in bitcoin. A choice that reflects the zeitgeist since 16% of Americans say they have already invested, exchanged or used virtual currencies, according to the Pew Research Center.

-Caroline Drzewinski