Freed’s Bakery, a family-owned business in Las Vegas, Nevada, known for their over the top cakes and confections, has entered the crypto-sphere by launching the world’s first non-fungible token (NFT) wedding cakes. The tokens, which are gifs of their handmade cakes, retail for .1 ETH (roughly US$337 at the time of publishing).
NFTs are cryptographic tokens that have taken the world by storm. The digital assets are commonly associated with the art world. They allow for artists, Meme-creators, or just people who Tweet, to monetize their work. Popular NFTs sell for millions of dollars, and their rise in popularity has created a new industry of digital collection.
Recently, NFTs have been trickling into the food space. Pringles and Taco Bell have jumped on the trend, and Oslo-based microbrewery Himkok collaborated with an artist to drop an entire cocktail menu as an NFT. My personal favorite example is Quality Eats’ digital ‘Into the Ether’ cocktail, which sold for .75 ether six months ago. At the time, that equated to roughly $1,400. Today, that amount of Ethereum is worth $2,559.41.
‘Into the Ether’ was made with Angel’s Envy Rye, and the digital token came with some snazzy ‘in real life’ perks too, like ownership of a blockchain-protected secret recipe, one free ‘Into the Ether’ cocktail at all current and future Quality Eats locations per visit, and a free dinner for six at Quality Eats. All proceeds from the sale of the NFT were donated to ROAR Fund, which supports New York City restaurant workers facing unemployment. The NFT was purchased by user @KW7__, who has collected 32 other NFTs through opensea.io, the world’s first and largest NFT marketplace where NFTs are traded.
So far, none of Freed’s Bakery’s NFTs have been purchased, but according to the transaction records on www.opensea.io, someone did bid .09 ETH ($304.37) for their ‘Taste the Rainbow CAKE#ONE’. The bid expired.
Bar & Restaurant spoke with Max Jacobson-Fried, co-owner of Freed’s Bakery, to find out more about their NFT Wedding Cakes, and try to make sense of this digital craze.
So, how does this work? What’s the process of buying an NFT cake – do you get the edible cake, too?
At the moment, the NFT exists separately from the cake itself. It’s kind of "new frontiers", so perhaps in the future a guest could purchase an actual cake with a matching NFT alongside, though for the moment it’s just the digital asset. That said, customers can choose an actual, physical cake version of the NFT if they were visiting Las Vegas. You can find the physical representation of the cakes created as NFTs on our website. We’re also taking a look at custom NFTs. So, if customers are interested in creating a “custom cake” that would then get converted to an NFT that could be sent their way. We’re still exploring what guests are interested in!
How many cake NFTs are available, and how can people buy them?
For the moment we’ve created four distinct NFTs and have plans to add more! We don’t have a set schedule on releases, we’re randomly releasing the cakes and making them available for auction which feels a bit more fun.
What inspired you to start offering NFT cakes?
We’ve always loved utilizing new technologies before we can understand where they may end up. We launched our first "Freed’s Bakery" website back in the early 90s, when it felt weird for a small family-owned cake shop to have a website. Our first online ordering system was this Frankenstein mashup of an e-commerce-solution that allowed customers to order a wedding cake from anywhere in the world and have it delivered directly to their venue here in Las Vegas. It’s exciting to be a part of some of these shifts and explore what’s possible. Every now and then everything clicks together just right, and it becomes a cool part of what we do.
What was the discussion like when this came up with your staff?
Our team’s response has been anywhere from totally ambivalent to very excited. Disinterest might be chalked up to my own inability to properly describe an NFT, or why a guest might be interested in purchasing one. A few of our cake consultants have really latched onto the idea as a possible item that could be offered alongside someone’s special event. Imagine an NFT created totally uniquely from your actual wedding cake! You could even mint one for each partner. [EN: Minting is the process by which digital art becomes ‘official’ and added to the Ethereum blockchain, meaning it’s a legitimate NFT. This process mirrors how traditional currency is put into circulation and is what separates an NFT from a regular picture of gif. More on that here.]
How do you describe NFTs to potential customers?
I’m not sure that I’ve figured out a good description of an NFT to a customer who doesn’t have any prior interest in the crypto-industry. I’ve tried relating it to a “collectible” of a cake that comes with a special digital certificate of ownership that exists in your very own special digital wallet. But then I kind of fall apart when I have to elaborate.
How do you see people using their NFT cakes? Is there an ‘end game’?
Would it be weird if I said I’m not really sure? It feels “collectible” in nature, but it also feels like more than that. Right now, it feels like a neat gift to create for someone that can basically belong to them forever on this ledger that exists out in the ether. Eventually, it would be cool to tokenize specific designs that could generate royalties for a token holder or create some sense of ownership of specific designs that has some sort of payoff or value. That feels far away and kind of strange, but who knows?
What makes these NFTs different than getting a photograph of your wedding cake at the ceremony?
In terms of the actual digital asset, the spinning GIF is way more interesting than a static photo of a cake. Aside from the visual, the “non-fungible” portion of NFT means that it’s unique and can’t be replaced with something else, so I suppose it would be like comparing it to a single Polaroid of your wedding cake? It would be the only version of that asset to exist, except you don’t have to worry about losing or damaging it like a Polaroid since it's digital and stored on the blockchain. Maybe? I’m still learning about all of this too.
Do you own any NFTs?
I do! I have some cake NFTs.
What forms of currency does the bakery accept?
We now accept payment through online ordering in Bitcoin, ETH, Litecoin, and USDC. It’s pretty neat!