Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are all the rage these days. The NFT market surpassed $40 billion in 2021, according to an estimate from blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis Inc., and celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Snoop Dogg, Ellen DeGeneres, Cara Delevingne and Kate Moss have joined the craze.

Now, it seems, NFTs are coming to Sonoma County. Last week, Guenerville’s Big Bottom Market announced that it will be releasing a series of NFTs to celebrate its 11th anniversary this year.

“That sounds interesting, but what exactly is an NFT?” you might ask. Here’s the short answer: A non-fungible token is essentially a unique digital form of art  — it could be a photograph, video or even piece of music — that can’t be replicated. (Unlike a fungible item or currency, like the U.S. dollar or Bitcoin, NFTs can’t be traded for or replaced by another item or currency of exactly the same kind or value.) NFTs are bought and sold online (in many instances with cryptocurrency) and are recorded on what’s called the blockchain, a digital ledger of transactions.

While the most expensive NFTs have sold for millions of dollars, they can also be free. And that’s the case with Big Bottom Market’s NFTs. Those interested in acquiring Big Bottom Market NFTs can visit the restaurant’s page on the Cent social network platform where they can subscribe to the page and create an account. Every account will automatically be assigned a crypto wallet in which the owner can collect the restaurant’s NFTs for free. A new NFT will be released every week and will work similarly to a digital coupon that gives the owner a discount at Big Bottom Market.

Big Bottom Market co-owner Michael Volpatt announced the NFT release on Instagram. He believes the Guerneville market is the first restaurant in Sonoma County, and possibly the Bay Area, to test the marketing power of NFTs.

“I’ve always been kind of an early adopter of new technology,” said Volpatt. “To utilize NFTs that we give away for free, that will help promote what we’re doing.”

Big Bottom Market Guerneville NFT Parson Jones Tree Courtesy Photo
Big Bottom Market’s first NFT. (Courtesy of Big Bottom Market)

Big Bottom Market’s first NFT is a picture of the Parson Jones Tree, the tallest tree in Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve in Guerneville. Those who collect it will receive a 50% discount on the restaurant’s popular Parson Jones sandwich with garlic and herb roasted turkey, havarti cheese, arugula, garlic aioli and housemade jalapeño ham on a soft French roll.

When a new Big Bottom Market NFT is released, the NFT from the previous week can no longer be collected. The older NFT disappears from public view and only remains in the wallets of subscribers who stored it for safekeeping; they will have the NFT forever and can redeem it at any time.

Subscribers can expect the NFTs to be linked to a number of hunger-inducing food photos, including a biscuit or two. (The Big Bottom Market biscuits made Oprah’s “Favorite Things” shopping guide in 2016.) But don’t be surprised if wine makes regular appearances, as well. (Yes, NFTs have also arrived in the wine industry.)

“NFTs are an innovative and fun way to celebrate our success and give back to our customers who have supported the Market since we opened in 2011,” said Volpatt. “We hope that our fans will collect the NFTs and redeem them in store for some tasty deals.”

Big Bottom Market, 16228 Main Street, Guerneville, 707-604-7295, bigbottommarket.com

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