Solana Spaces, a company that aimed to promote its blockchain by using storefronts in New York City and Miami, announced on Tuesday via Twitter that it will be closing its locations by February 28th, 2023.
Solana Spaces: A Brief Look at the IRL Retail Run and Closure
In July 2022, Solana Spaces opened its first store in level 2 of Hudson Yards retail space in New York City, in partnership with the Solana Foundation. The Solana-themed store was promoted as an in-real-life (IRL) embassy for Solana, providing services such as wallet setup, NFT tutorials, and Solana merchandise to onboard new customers.
Following this, Solana Spaces opened a 4,200-square-foot lounge and community space in The Annex Wynwood at 15 NW 24th St. in Miami in August 2022, which served as both a Solana ecosystem learning center and a high-profile crypto event venue.
Instead of selling a product, Solana Spaces marketed its storefronts as an interactive billboard for crypto brands such as FTX, Phantom, and Orca, which paid for exposure to mainstream audiences. The stores’ operations were funded by advertising dollars, and they gained over 50K followers on their official Twitter handle @solanaspaces, creating significant buzz in the cryptocurrency sphere.
It is not the first time that an influential crypto project has opted for a brick-and-mortar approach. In April 2022, the Bored Ape Yacht Club, one of the largest NFT collections by sales volume, opened its IRL restaurant, Bored & Hungry, in Long Beach, California, which accepts Ethereum and ApeCoin as payment.
However, while the BAYC restaurant is still in operation, Solana Spaces is unfortunately shutting down due to the high operational costs associated with brick-and-mortar stores. The stores attracted a total of 60,000 visitors over six months and completed over 15,000 onboarding tutorials.
CEO Vibhu Norby expressed satisfaction with the success of the IRL retail stores, particularly with the response generated by DRiP, a hub for Solana Spaces NFTs and loyalty rewards. Collectors could receive free Solana NFTs airdropped weekly through DRiP. While the retail stores onboarded between 500 and 1,000 people per week, DRiP onboarded that same quantity every day, with over 50,000 sign-ups to date and another 175K on a waitlist to join.
He remains hopeful that Solana Spaces can still sustain itself using his “retail-as-a-service” (RaaS) model and suggested that the company may rebrand itself as a DRiP boutique NFT distribution platform, which he had already successfully promoted in his stores.