From actor Louis Koo to Michelin-starred restaurateurs, Hong Kong businesses are turning to NFTs to keep customers hooked
Hong Kong business owners are increasingly turning to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to help monetize their brands and reward customers and staff.
A group of local restaurants has partnered with a blockchain investor to create a market for Michelin-starred tables and reduce the queue.
Jia Group, owner of AndO, Louise, Mono and Duddell’s, all of which received a Michelin star this year, has teamed up with Jehan Chu, the founder of blockchain-focused venture capital firm Kenetic, in a NFT project called Gourmeta.
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Gourmeta co-founders Yenn Wong, chairman of Hong Kong-listed Jia Group, and her husband, art collector Alan Lo, made a soft launch in May by auctioning off several tables – some with access directly to the chefs. The highest bid was US$1,218 for an NFT entitling the winner to a reserved table for six people.
“The restaurant business is capital intensive, with thin margins and high costs. People get involved primarily because they’re doing what they’re really passionate about,” Lo said. “But with Web 3, we can now tap into the creator economy and generate additional value for restaurateurs and chefs.”
A new iteration of the internet based on decentralization, blockchain, and the token-based economy, Web 3 promises to return the value of digital data to the owner.
Gourmeta is not trying to replace the traditional online reservation system, which still has value, Lo said.
But by allocating a certain portion of tables through NFTs, it can create “trade liquidity” for hard-to-get restaurant reservations and make fine dining more accessible. It changes the hidden rule that “unless you know someone, you can’t skip the queue,” Lo said.
Using a blockchain-based smart contract, NFT holders who wish to give up their reservations can sell them on a secondary market, allowing restaurateurs and chefs to also automatically get a discount in selling fees when the token is sold. to each subsequent buyer.
Gourmeta aims to initially build a network of 50 restaurants worldwide with Michelin star quality or equivalent.
Meanwhile, the city’s movie scene is integrating NFTs with mobile games, expanding channels for IP monetization in the entertainment industry.
One Cool Group, a film company founded by actor Louis Koo Tin-lok, is working with Gusto Collective, a brand management company, to create NFTs for the upcoming SciFi movie, Warriors of Future, which Koo produced with a budget of “several million” dollars. . The NFTs include a collection of 10,000 unique 3D avatars featuring four types of soldiers from the film – Koo included – slated for release later this month.
NFT holders will be able to use the avatars in a mobile game associated with the film, which will launch in mid-August.
NFTs will be minted on the Ethereum blockchain on Saturday, with the first batch of 2,000 tokens carrying a fixed price of 0.15 ether, or $243 based on the August 4 price.
“These NFTs are the first series of a long-term integration project of Web3 and entertainment IP. They provide utilities to users by merging the virtual and physical worlds,” said Ella Wong, CFO of One Cool Group.
Collectors had sent more than US$37 billion to NFT marketplaces as of May 1 this year, according to data from Chainalysis, not far off the US$40 billion sent in all of 2021.
As they grow in popularity, the Securities and Futures Commission has reminded investors of the risks of NFTs. He said NFTs “that cross the line between a collectible and a financial asset” will need to be regulated.
“NFTs that are commonly associated with digital arts would not be considered securities,” said Ian Lau, partner at law firm Deacons.
This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice journal on China and Asia for over a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2022 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.
Copyright (c) 2022. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.