The team behind Solana is opening a permanent physical retail space dedicated to all things related to its cryptocurrency.
The Solana Foundation has opened Solana Spaces at the Shops, an upscale mall located at Hudson Yards in Manhattan. Despite appearing like any other high-end retail store, it accepts cryptocurrency and features an NFT gallery, highlighting the Degenerate Ape Academy collection across its walls.
Upon entering the premises, visitors are greeted with an interactive installation visualizing transactions on the Solana blockchain in real-time, in addition to which NFTs are being minted. Incidentally, NFT sales volumes on Solana have reached an all-time low recently.
While the store includes loads of physical retail for crypto enthusiasts, including branded merchandise bearing phrases common to the crypto community, the Solana team had a different goal in mind by creating the space. According to Solana Spaces CEO Vibhu Norby, its main goal is to onboard onlookers and educate anyone new to the crypto space.
To that end, the store features various stations aimed at onboarding people to the crypto space. This includes a private booth for people to set up a Phantom wallet, the most popular among Solana users, and write down their seed phrase on a card for safekeeping. Other stations provided tutorials on platforms like play-to-earn app STEPN, and Magic Eden, an NFT marketplace. Solana’s Web3 mobile phone, Solana Saga, is also available at the retail location.
Good or bad idea?
Only time will tell whether this will be a good long-term investment for the Solana Foundation. Rent in Manhattan is some of the most expensive in the world, making retail space in Hudson Yards exceedingly costly. However, the short-term pay-off so far for Solana seems to be a good one. Ultimately, Norby believes, the store is “an experiment that we think a lot of people will love.”
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