Full Article: Coindesk

Published: 03/09/22

The downtown Miami club is dancing deeper into crypto, partnering with Horizen Labs for the backend.

Miami super club E11EVEN is doubling down on its Web 3 push with a new crypto-dedicated division of its brand called “E11EVEN Crypto,” created in partnership with blockchain firm Horizen Labs, .

The company announced Wednesday the new division’s first product is a soon-to-be-released non-fungible token (NFT) collection titled “11 Captain’s Club” dropping in early April, with artwork inspired by the club’s iconic hat designs and a hefty 1 ETH (around $2,700) mint price.

Since its inception in 2014, the downtown nightclub has prided itself on innovative revenue streams, having created its own apparel company, vodka brand and even a real estate arm that’s partnered with crypto exchange FTX to complement the club’s operations.

Now the company is eyeing NFTs as its next opportunistic frontier, at a time when Miami has begun to embrace digital currencies in a bid to be the U.S. hotbed for crypto innovation and culture.

CEO Michael Simkins first envisioned the crossover years ago, reaffirmed by its potential after E11EVEN began accepting cryptocurrency as a payment method in April 2021.

“We were the first major club to accept crypto as payment, and now we’ve processed over $5 million of it at the nightclub,” Simkins told CoinDesk in an interview. “We’ve always been a preferred entertainment establishment for people in the crypto community, both VCs, founders and investors. So we’ve been in the ecosystem by doing all these things, even before being a direct participant.”

(The publicly traded owner of the Miami area’s Tootsie’s Cabaret and Scarlett’s Cabaret recently followed suit in accepting bitcoin payments.)

E11EVEN’s first foray into digital collectibles came in December, when the club purchased Bored Ape #11 as its first NFT for 99 ETH (roughly $272,000).

While Simkins couldn’t confirm any Bored Ape events being hosted at the club in the near future, he did hint at an in-person get-together for holders of Captain Club NFTs around the time of the upcoming Bitcoin 2022 conference in April.

“We want to listen to the community to hear what utility they want us to offer, especially real-life utility,” Simkins said. “There will be real-life utility and it will be driven by the owners.”

New York-based Horizen Labs, tapped by the club for the project’s backend, raised $7 million in August in a funding round led by Kenetic Capital.