When Maxwell Tribeca opens in July, it will have all of the characteristics of a specific type of social club: a prominent address, elegant design, exclusive amenities for participants, and a well-heeled and well-connected founding team. But it’s not enough for David Litwak, the creator and former CEO of the internet travel portal Mozio. To become a participant, you must also be active in one of the most buzzed-about areas of the cryptocurrency industry.
The 8,000-square-foot venue, which will be situated at 135 Watts Street, is inspired by San Sebastian, Spain’s txokos dining clubs. Ownership of a so-called nonfungible token, or NFT—a type of crypto asset advocated by everyone from Tom Brady to Melania Trump—will be required for entry.
NFTs are digital tokens that serve as certifications of authenticity for, and in certain circumstances reflect ownership of, assets ranging from costly ape drawings to rarities like as celebrity signatures and tangible commodities such as a case of rare whiskey. As with Maxwell Tribeca, they are increasingly serving as a type of passport to exclusive locations and experiences—access that, in this case, includes your own booze vaults.
The venue will function “much like a house party.” Rather of ordering a negroni at the bar, you go grab your own gin from your locker and make yourself a gin and tonic,” Litwak tells Bloomberg.
“We’re attempting to build thousands of second homes, not third places, where people belong,” he adds, adding that NFTs are just a means to a goal. “Web3 frequently regards them as a goal in themselves,” he says, referring to the phrase used by venture investors to refer to internet services built on the decentralized blockchain technology.
Memberships in the Maxwell Tribeca start at $1,000 for shared liquor lockers, $5,000 for small liquor lockers, and $8,000 for big liquor lockers; the monthly membership charge is $250.
“I think NFTs basically allow us a different method to communicate that as customers and a different way to generate exclusivity as a company owner,” says Nick Casares, head of development at PolyientX, a platform that gives tools to build incentives for NFT communities.
Litwak, who is working on another NFT club with professional football player Kyle Martino, believes that a crypto-based subscription makes the experience more available than more traditional processes. Using NFTs as the cost of admission makes it “easier to democratize your fundraising base,” according to Litwak.
Buying and selling NFTs often necessitates incurring transaction fees, which can amount to a large portion of the sale, in addition to the complication of needing to open and fund crypto accounts and wallets. Litwak hopes to circumvent these obstacles by creating a totally new marketplace, Maxwell Social, rather than depending on organizations like OpenSea, which function as a sort of EBay for NFTs. “Whereas OpenSea excels in offering art NFTs to the highest bidder, we aim to offer membership NFTs to the appropriate bidder,” Litwak adds. “Communities curate in ways other than financial. However, OpenSea does not.”
He stated that there will be no transaction costs for purchasers, but a 2.5 percent fee on membership resale. There will also be no time limit on the selling of their NFTs: “We will sell them for as long as we need to in order to recruit members for our social club.” Litwak says he hopes to have 600 members.
Litwak intends to offer a concierge service to help prospective members get started with cryptocurrency and overcome any technological challenges: “The minting will take place in person, in our location, during a planned event.” This will make it easier for people to join the community and allow us to assist them in minting the NFT in person and resolving any wallet or crypto concerns.”
However, Maxwell Tribeca will have to compete for the attention of NFT-minded New Yorkers, as there is also Flyfish Club, a high-end seafood experience. Flyfish Club is run by VCR Firm, a hospitality and restaurant group founded by Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder of online reservation system Resy.