Solana Spaces, a retail storefront chain focused on the Solana blockchain, has announced that it will be closing its New York City and Miami stores by the end of February. Solana Spaces had launched its first physical store in Hudson Yards last summer, aimed at providing an onboarding space for newcomers to the Solana blockchain to purchase their favorite Solana-branded merchandise. Another store opened in Miami’s Wynwood district in August of the same year. However, the prolonged crypto winter has forced the team to pivot their efforts into digital products like DRiP, their free NFT product with more than 100,000 sign-ups.
Solana Spaces was founded in 2021 as a physical retail storefront concept that focused on the Solana blockchain. Its goal was to act as a Web3 onboarding space for newcomers to the blockchain ecosystem, where Solana enthusiasts could buy their favorite Solana-branded merchandise.
The company launched its first store in New York’s Hudson Yards in the summer of 2021, followed by another store in Miami’s Wynwood district later that year. Solana Spaces joined a growing list of IRL (in real life) projects like Bored & Hungry, a Bored Ape Yacht Club-themed fast food restaurant based in Los Angeles. The closure of the Solana Spaces stores is another ambitious initiative frozen by the prolonged crypto winter. Solana Spaces founder Vibhu Norby said that the team found more efficient ways to onboard people from both a product and financial standpoint.
The following is a note from our founder, @vibhu.— Solana Spaces (@solanaspaces) February 21, 2023
Dear @solanaspaces community,
We’ve made the difficult decision to sunset our stores in NYC and Miami by the end of February, and to pivot our Solana onboarding efforts into digital products like DRiP, our free NFT product with… https://t.co/kjNu9Ay4Gk
According to Norby, the focus now is on DRiP, an online platform where collectors can receive free Solana NFTs that are airdropped weekly. Norby says the interest in DRiP surprised the team, with sign-ups surpassing 50,000 as of this week, with another 175,000 on a waitlist to join. While the New York and Miami stores onboarded between 500 and 1,000 people per week, DRiP onboarded that same quantity every day.
The Solana Spaces stores will close on February 28th, and Norby says this isn’t the end of Solana Spaces. He added that the team has open-sourced its stores, with one franchise set to open in India in the coming weeks. Solana Spaces will continue to have a smaller presence in Miami within other apparel stores in the area.
The closure of Solana Spaces’ physical stores is a significant shift away from brick-and-mortar gateways to onboard people into Web3. It reflects the current market reality that digital products are more efficient and cost-effective in onboarding people into the Solana ecosystem than physical stores. However, the Solana Spaces team remains optimistic and focused on the growth of their DRiP platform, with plans to expand their franchise presence globally.