Two weeks ago, I asked if cryptocurrency is the future for bars, nightclubs and restaurants. A week after I posed that question, the American Nightlife Association and Paytomat—a decentralized payment system I mentioned in my article—announced a partnership intended to help operators accept and process cryptocurrency.
Partnership is an important word in this industry. Business partners, banks, insurance and service providers, distributors, local suppliers, influencers, entertainers, the public... Not only is this a business of reactions and revenue, it’s a business of relationships. Reactions, Revenue and Relationships: The Three Rs of Operation.
A new private club, MORE Las Vegas, is a case study in both the adoption of cryptocurrency and the importance of relationships in the nightlife space. MORE the club is a membership perk of the MORE Coin, a utility token based on Ethereum, a name as recognizable as Bitcoin in the cryptocurrency space. (I’ll be addressing Bitcoin, Ethereum, HODL, tokens, fiat, Lamborghini, and much more pertaining to cryptocurrency in an upcoming article.) According to their website, 30 million MORE Coins (traded on the Bittrex exchange under the $MORE symbol) were created and about 5 million are in circulation.
A Private (But Welcoming) Club
People who own at least 5,000 MORE tokens are considered MORE members, which gives them access to the private club-within-a-club concept. It has been reported that MORE Las Vegas serves only their members and accepts MORE Coin exclusively. However, that’s not the case. MORE accepts any coin traded on the Bittrex and Binance exchanges.
In fact, members can pay in cash or by credit card. As I was told by Shawn Chester, a Las Vegas nightlife industry veteran and the president of MORE Management, the cryptocurrency community is inclusive rather than exclusive. Non-members are welcome to experience MORE Las Vegas without having any crypto—to bar the curious would be antithetical to the crypto community’s values. However, non-members won’t be able to take advantage of MORE perks (discussed below).
The Right Partnership
MORE has partnered with SBE, the management company behind brands such as Umami Burger and Katsuya, to operate inside HYDE Bellagio. This is wise for several reasons, one of which is access to skilled nightlife professionals. The hosts who work at the venue have been trained to accept cryptocurrency.
Another benefit of the SBE partnership is an elevated guest experience. Members are advised to not only make reservations before their visit (the only way to access the members-only outdoor patio), they’re encouraged to transfer coins to MORE hosts before they arrive. While not necessary, it helps MORE design personalized guest packages that feature seamlessly integrated experiences like driving exotic cars and riding in helicopters. Other members perks include discounts on Champagne and tabs, and rebates when members pay in MORE Coin.
When asked about accepting crypto and putting it toward operating costs, Chester explained that HYDE handles those responsibilities. That answer leads me to believe that MORE and SBE/HYDE have an agreement in place regarding cryptocurrency and cashing out coins. Some staff members and artists booked to perform or make an appearance at MORE have asked to be paid in crypto. This is an interesting but not shocking development as perception of this type of currency grows more positive.
A Healthy Relationship
Like any good partnership, the MORE-SBE relationship isn’t one-sided; MORE isn’t the only party reaping the benefits. SBE and HYDE Bellagio are learning about the viability of cryptocurrency; learning how to speak the crypto community’s language and serve them effectively; getting the chance to convert first-time Millennial and LDA-plus Gen Z guests (the majority of MORE Coin holders) into loyal nightlife guests; creating relationship within an underserved demographic; and developing a new revenue stream.
Chester told me during my visit to the private club that many MORE Las Vegas guests are inexperienced when it comes to navigating nightclubs: “Some of these people have millions of dollars in crypto but still wait in line like everybody else. They don’t know how it works.” SBE and HYDE, through their partnership with MORE, have the opportunity to familiarize thousands of potential guests with nightlife.
The private club is a place for these people to meet, network, get the VIP treatment and party. MORE delivers on a need shared by many cryptocurrency investors: spending their coins on something they want. Just like this industry has high rollers looking to spend large amounts of traditional and mainstream currencies, there are people with loaded crypto wallets who want to party and pop bottles in VIP.
Crypto in the on-premise space has moved from theory to reality with MORE Las Vegas. MORE Coin plans to open additional private club locations in other cities and is also looking into offering members crypto-only hotel suites. Operators interested in accepting crypto but hesitant to adopt it should keep an eye on MORE Las Vegas and HYDE to see if they prove the concept.
Look out for Nightclub & Bar articles explaining the technical aspects of crypto very soon!
This article does not constitute an endorsement of MORE Coin or any other cryptocurrency, including but not limited to Bitcoin or Ethereum. None of the information contained in this article should be considered financial advice.