Yet another crypto “world first”

It’s the fate of all radical art to eventually morph into the mundane and mass-produced, but it’s still impressive just how quickly non-fungible tokens have tracked this well-established course.

Exhibit number 23,458 is a set of “Fat Cat” NFTs up for sale later this year (and yes, that Feline Times logo looks familiar to us, too):

Joining this group of “super achievers and like-minded individuals” at their soon-to-open city of London HQ is simple. All you have to do is buy one of Coin Club’s “Fat Cat” NFTs, each of which was designed by US graffiti artist Darrius “Spraykid” Ford and has a fixed price of just 11 ethereum.

Fat Cat’s include; Queens Guard, F1 Cat and Elton John © Designed by Darrius Ford

That’s about, erm, $22,000 at pixel time — roughly 10 times more than the joining fee for London’s Devonshire Club — yet might be viewed as a relative bargain given Ethereum is down 54 per cent from its January peak.

After being reassured that the entire project wasn’t an elaborate prank, FT Alphaville caught up with Coin Club founders and life-long best friends Adriano Karok and George Scholey for a few extra details. We began our trip down the rabbit hole by asking the pair (who also run Mirox Group, an “asset securitisation” business based in Luxembourg) whether they were concerned that pricing of their anthropomorphised cats might be a little top-of-the-market .

“Now’s a great time to get into it, as the membership is cheaper than it would be at a later date, probably,” former Berlin nightclub owner Karok told us over Zoom. “Look at it as an investment.”

Just over 100 Fat Cat NFTs will be airdropped in June “for exclusive people only,” including family, friends and celebrities, Karok added. He wouldn’t divulge any names. A further 2,900 or so are set to be minted for Joe Public later this year — though in a sign of how derivative the nascent market for digital art has become, FTAV found half a dozen separate Fat Cat-themed NFT projects already prowling blockchains.

Given how male-heavy interest in NFTs seems to be, was Karok not worried his club might end up overrun by bros? “We have, obviously, through our network, invited a lot of other people, women as well, celebrities, and they love the NFT space,” he said.

What if crypto prices keep falling, opening up club membership to riff-raff like us? “I still believe that bitcoin will be at $100k at the end of the year”, said former forex trader Scholey. “If you look at the historical charts the prices have always moved that way.”

“We’ve seen crypto crash before in 2014, in 2017, so it’s a pretty similar cycle,” he went on. “Markets are down all around the world due to what’s happened in Ukraine. . . We’re not concerned [about crypto prices] at all.”

And why the FT themed logo? “A fat cat would read that,” Scholey said. “They’d read the Financial Times. A fat cat is what we associate with wealth. Your readers are the sort of people we’re targeting.”

So, which Fat Cat NFT would you choose?

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