Private members club Mandala Club’s new Genesis Pass is touted as a first-of-its-kind NFT membership.
Private member clubs seem to be springing up faster than you can figure out how to buy an NFT.
And for a one-time fee of S$15,000, you’ll get both with Mandala Club’s new Genesis Pass membership.
For the uninitiated, NFTs refer to non-fungible tokens built on blockchain technology guaranteeing the ownership of a unique digital asset – and Mandala Club is offering just 250 of these exclusive NFT-based memberships.
Mandala Club, which took over another private members club, Straits Clan, on Bukit Pasoh Road, just celebrated its one-year anniversary and in October launched Genesis Pass.
Already, more than 50 of them have been snapped up.
“We’ve got a hyper-engaged community of just over 2,000 members, and this Genesis Pass is potentially a concentration of 250 even more engaged members,” said Drew Mills, group head of marketing of Mandala Group.
Intriguingly, the Genesis Pass offers insight into how Web3 technology could in future influence culture and build community within the private member club space. “It goes way beyond the four walls of the club,” Hong Kong-based Mills said.
For Mandala Club, this translates to a “phygital” model that provides next-level VIP access to an exclusive eco-system of IRL (in real life) and virtual experiences encompassing talks, summits, mixers, parties, festivals, culinary events and more – above and beyond the club’s S$5,500 regular membership.
After all, the success of NFTs beyond being speculative – and possibly dubious – digital assets tend to be those that come with some sort of real-world use, and that is therefore how the Genesis Pass has been structured.
“There’s a reassurance knowing that you’re buying into something that is already a physical space. You know where we live, we’ve [shown] our faces, we talk to journalists. I think there’s a level of reassurance particularly when we’re promoting the utility being very IRL,” Mills remarked.
A 12-MONTH ROADMAP OF EXCLUSIVE PRIVILEGES
Existing Mandala Club members can “top-up” their initial membership fee to convert to the Genesis Pass, which also gives holders access to 40 reciprocal clubs within the Mandala Club network worldwide in London, Paris, San Francisco, Sydney and the Philippines, to name a few.
“The 12-month roadmap that we’ve published on our website is actually the tip of the iceberg to what we’re offering,” Mills said.
Early adopters of the Genesis Pass, for instance, had the privilege of attending an intimate showcase with the Wailers, Bob Marley’s original band, at Ulu Cliffhouse in Bali in October.
In November, pass holders were treated to an intimate 90-minute DJ set and closed-door Meet & Greet with Grammy-award-winning artiste Anderson .Paak within the club premises.
Members can also expect private previews of the Mandala Masters series with world-renowned chefs, such as the recent culinary residencies with three Michelin-starred Mirazur from France and acclaimed chef Gaggan Anand.
THE ART FACTOR
Where, then, does the NFT component come in? With NFTs being so intrinsically linked to digital art, the initial art “drop” for newly-minted Genesis Pass members is just the beginning of a never-ending digital journey, said Mills.
The first drop will comprise 250 pieces of original digital artworks by Adelaide-based James Brown Collective, which has also created and curated some of the art you’ll find on the walls at Mandala Club.
Members who sign on before the official public mint will get to pre-select their artwork of choice, and those who come in later will get to choose from the remaining artworks available.“We’ve got a great connection with a lot of local artists and some members of the club are also NFT-led artists so there will be collaborations and a continuous art component moving forward,” Mills shared.
JOURNEYING INTO THE “MANDALAVERSE”
While there’s talk of a “Mandalaverse”, the company is not in the midst of building a virtual reality space in which members can congregate, says Mills. Not yet, at least. “It’s not about jumping headfirst into the metaverse. It’s about building on the track record that we already have by delivering amazing events and experiences for existing members – and taking it to another level; be that in the club or outside the club. That’s what people seem to be excited about,” he explained.
For now, there’s still a lot of education to be done when broaching the NFT space, Mills acknowledged.
At one end of the spectrum, he has observed the “NFT natives” of Mandala Club’s member pool more readily embracing a product like the Genesis Pass. And at the other, an earnestness for another group of non-natives, if you will, keen to learn about this new, digitally-forward world and its applications.
“We’re bringing these blue chip NFT communities together so they can meet one another and build a community around that. These are people who own NFTs worth maybe a hundred thousand dollars. So they already are very future-thinking,” Mills offered. For the second group, which could even include CEOs and C-suite professionals in different fields, the club conducts monthly educational talks and events that can be as basic as how to set up a digital wallet.
These are vital given the cyber security and other concerns around digital asset ownership from NFTs to cryptocurrency that can sometimes feel like the Wild West of technology, particularly in the wake of the eruptions of scandals triggered by the collapse of crypto exchange and hedge fund FTX and the criminal charges against its founder and CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried.
“We’re confident in the product, and we also know it’s not for everyone. But we’ve seen real interest in our members wanting to find out more. So the Mandalaverse is essentially the start of a journey to demystify the NFT space and almost handhold the great majority of our members through this process,” Mills assured.
“We don’t know where [this NFT-led digital journey] is going to end, to be honest, but we’re confident we’re going to deliver the roadmap we’ve published. And I think anybody who tells you they do know where it’s going to end should be approached with real caution.”