Neon Introduces NFT Vending Machine in New York City
Love them or hate them, NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have exploded over the past year. However, despite the growing popularity, navigating the purchasing process remains a mystery for many — especially those not well-versed in cryptocurrency. Thus, Neon has unveiled a new solution it believes will help revolutionize the industry: an NFT vending machine.
This week, Neon announced the opening of a new NFT vending location in New York City’s Financial District. Specifically, the machine is located at 29 John Street, between Broadway and Nassau. Using the machine, customers can use any USD credit card or debit card to make a purchase. Once they’ve selected an NFT to buy, the machine dispenses a box with a unique code that can then be redeemed on the Neon platform. The machine is accessible 24 hours a day.
As Neon CMO and co-founder Jordan Birnholtz notes, the ability for consumers to purchase NFTs with cards instead of crypto makes the technology more approachable. Birnholtz points out that, while only 2% of Americans currently have digital wallets, 80% have a credit or debit card.
Elaborating in a statement, Birnholtz explained, “Giving people the choice to use vending machines and an easy online platform that decouples cryptocurrency from NFT participation means we can engage the widest possible audience. NFT buying and selling doesn’t need to be a mystery and you shouldn’t be required to hold Ethereum, write a smart contract, pay gas costs or bridge blockchains to participate.”
Furthermore, he hopes that this move will help the platform further support artists, stating, “We want to empower creators and digital artists whose work has often been undervalued because it’s not tangible in a traditional sense. We make selling digital art even simpler than selling physical art. If creators want to make NFTs based on their existing content or based on new material, we want them on Neon.”
The arrival of Neon’s NFT vending machine happens to come right after the company managed to raise capital for itself. Last month, the startup raised a $3 million seed round.
While the single NFT vending machine is limited in scope and is likely meant to be more gimmick than gamechanger (the proximity to Wall Street is also not a coincidence), Neon’s attempt to broaden the appeal of the medium is a smart one. After all, while NFTs have been attracting some investors and collectors, they’re openly mocked by many others. What’s more, among those inclined to purchase NFTs, the learning curve could dissuade them from following through. Therefore, while this may be a small gesture now, perhaps Neon could evolve this concept into much more down the line.