In this article, we dive deep into the new Solana Spaces retail stores and cover the background, motive, and launch details of the flagship store in New York. This includes location details, opening hours, and launch-week promotional offers. Also, we’ll explore the vast range of activities, opportunities, and services available. For example, there’s an NFT gallery, a Solana blockchain visualizer, limited edition merchandise, and more! Plus, we’ll evaluate whether Web3 brands really need physical storefronts.
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What is Solana Spaces?
The Solana Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the security and growth of the Solana blockchain, is pioneering a novel Web3 marketing scheme by introducing a physical storefront for the brand. The Solana Foundation, in conjunction with “b8ta” founders and engineers, has launched a new concept called “Spaces”. The overall objective is to educate people about Solana’s utility and onboard new users to the Web3 industry. Moreover, featuring an immersive learning experience, the avant-garde “Solana Spaces” promises a retail store adventure like no other. The CEO of Solana Spaces, Vibhu Norby, believes the brick and mortar stores will “bring 50k to 100k people into Solana every month through these stores – and that’s just this year”.
The Solana Spaces flagship store opened in Manhattan, New York, on July 28th, 2022. In collaboration with leading Solana ecosystem projects, Norby states Solana Spaces will offer “an introduction to crypto-tech that is open and accessible”. Moreover, anticipating the majority of foot traffic to have minimal or no experience or exposure to Bitcoin or Ethereum, Solana Spaces facilitates a space for a Web3 onboarding community. The store will offer wallet tutorials, immersive educational experiences, an NFT gallery, and more. Also, people who visit Solana Spaces in New York can get an exclusive look at Solana’s soon-to-launch smartphone. In addition, Solana Spaces is the ideal way to bag some limited edition merchandise unavailable online.
Solana Spaces plans to hold regular Web3, crypto, and blockchain programming events to expand the adoption and interaction of the Solana blockchain. Some of the ecosystem partners include Ledger, Decaf, Blank Soles, and Metaplex.
Solana Blockchain Overview
The Solana blockchain is a long-standing top-ten cryptocurrency project in terms of market capitalization. Further, Solana is one of the fastest blockchains in the industry, with a capacity exceeding 60,000 transactions per second (TPS). This is predominantly due to Solana’s novel infrastructure and innovative solutions to the industry’s “blockchain trilemma” of scalability, security, and decentralization. In line with the Web3 ethos of decentralization, the Solana blockchain project is a joint effort between Solana Labs, Solana Foundation, and a global network of Solana validator nodes. Validator nodes receive the native SOL asset as a reward for supporting and securing the network.
Moreover, Solana appeals to a wide demographic of users by offering sub-second transaction finality and fees of less than a cent. As a result, Solana is a popular choice for developers to design, deploy, and manage an array of decentralized applications (dapps). This is largely thanks to its low development cost and technical barriers. To learn more about development on Solana, save our “Rust & Solana” article for later! Or, dive deep into Solana dapp development with our Solana Programming 101 course at Moralis Academy!
Furthermore, Solana is ideal for content creators with no programming experience. The blockchain hosts a wide range of dapps that offer code-free tutorials for tokenizing artwork and intellectual property rights as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Overall, the number of active Solana wallets has nearly doubled since the beginning of 2022, from 20 million users to 37 million users in May, according to data from CoinMarketCap.
With the aid of Solana Spaces, the blockchain network offers a user-friendly experience for onboarding new users. In particular, Solana is catering to the inexperienced who may feel intimidated by learning new technology.
Exploring Solana Spaces: New York
The brand-new, world-leading Solana Spaces flagship store opened its doors for the first time at the end of July 2022. Here, people have the opportunity to “experience Solana and Web3, IRL” (in real life). Located in a Manhattan mall, The Shops at Hudson Yards on level two, the New York Solana Spaces store is open all week. People can browse the store from Monday to Saturday between 10 am and 8 pm. On Sundays, the store is open between 11 am and 7 pm.
Solana Spaces hosts a wide selection of experiences, activities, merchandise, and community opportunities. This includes the likes of an NFT gallery wall displaying top NFT assets on Solana and the Solana blockchain visualizer. Naturally, the first NFT collection to be displayed is Solana’s most iconic NFTs from its ”Degenerate Ape Academy”. Also, Solana Spaces offers its customers a world-exclusive physical preview of Solana Saga, the project’s upcoming smartphone. Shoppers can hold and interact with the device while asking as many questions as possible to knowledgable Solana Spaces staff. At the time of writing, Solana states the phone’s release will be in the early months of 2023.
Learn and Earn
One of the key motivations for creating Solana Spaces is education. Therefore, the retail store offers an engaging and immersive educational experience around Web3 basics to help with attracting new users. This is a pioneering move blending mixed online learning styles in a retail environment. Plus, the Web3 retail and community space allows customers to earn rewards in cryptocurrency for participating in learning activities.
Solana Spaces offers a welcoming and non-judgemental environment for people to learn about Web3. This includes a “Solana 101” presentation educating those unfamiliar with crypto about the underlying technologies of the blockchain project. Tutorials include setting up a Web3 wallet with Solana’s leading non-custodial wallet application, Phantom. Then, users can discover how to safely interact with decentralized finance (DeFi) applications. This includes using NETGEAR’s Meural Digital Canvas to allow users to project their NFTs in the Phantom wallet to the in-store wall display.
Also, people can learn about non-fungible tokens (NFTs), play-to-earn blockchain games, and other Solana projects to earn instant rewards. Furthermore, many other learn-to-earn opportunities and digital tutorials are available with partnership projects, including Magic Eden, Solana Pay, Orca, and STEPN.
For readers who would like to learn more about metaverse and NFT programming, see our NFT coding community!
Available solely in Manhattan, Solana Spaces is the only physical store to grab yourself the latest Solana merchandise. In addition, the merchandise range will feature a rotating roster of limited edition collaborations with makers, artists, and brands in and out of the Web3 space. The website currently states that the store plans to produce exclusive new collections monthly. Throughout the launch week of the flagship store, Solana is displaying the limited edition Blanksoles x Solana shoe with accompanying NFT. During the first week of opening, people can also browse the in-store Degen Ape pop-up merchandise collection.
The Solana merchandise range comprises a collection of clothes, shoes, and accessories. For example, you could get a hat, tote bag, or water bottle. Plus, merchandise includes socks, trainers, hoodies, and t-shirts featuring the Solana brand colors. Everything in the store is available to purchase via debit or credit card. In true Web3 fashion, the store allows users to purchase items with Solana Pay, and shoppers receive a healthy discount in return. According to website terms, when utilizing Solana Pay, shoppers can receive up to 50% off on merchandise (up to a value of $200).
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Group Sessions and Community Space
Alongside education, another catalyst for the fruition of Solana Spaces is creating a Web3-centric community space. A recent tweet from the official Twitter account states: “…we also designed Spaces to be cultural centers, embassies for Solana…”. Accordingly, businesses and managers can arrange for corporate team training or group tours. Furthermore, the retail space will be available for group tours, private events, and custom programming consultations.
Solana Spaces is a physical, convenient, real-world location for brands in and outside the Web3 industry to collaborate. Also, the store plans to be an event host, launchpad facilitator, and purveyor of the Solana culture and brand. At the time of writing, the Solana Spaces website is teasing users with an upcoming non-fungible token (NFT) event. Although the details surrounding the date and time are yet to be confirmed, we know Solana Spaces will host the world’s first “Degen Apes Academy In-Store” event.
Are Physical Stores Still Important?
Well, no, and yes. From a retail standpoint, if Solana was creating a brick-and-mortar store for the sole purpose of selling merchandise, it would inevitably become null and void rather quickly. As the world transitions to an online-first retail experience, many clothing brands are closing down stores as in-person sales decrease. However, Solana Spaces is far more than the “everyday clothing” or merch store. Rather, Solana Spaces is a pioneering business model blending online and offline brand collaborations and featuring an immersive learning experience. Moreover, there is an opportunity for shoppers to walk away with more cryptocurrency than they came in with.
The interior design of Solana Spaces has been likened to Apple storefronts, with a chic, monochromatic, and airy atmosphere with employees walking around with iPads. Following the adoption curve of blockchain, it appears to be a positive move for Web3 brands to have physical stores. Asking a human for help is often far easier and more efficient than researching something alone. Also, it allows people to ask more nuanced questions beyond standard automated frequently asked questions (FAQs).
A large part of the Web3 ethos is collaboration, community, and innovative solutions for social good. Ergo, Web3 brands creating physical stores as community hubs and education centers recreates the industry ethos with IRL (in real life) experiences. During times of war, inflation, and an increasingly polarized political and socio-economic system, the world could do with more friendly IRL community interactions. Further, Solana Spaces provides valuable information for Web3 newcomers to dip their toes in the crypto industry. Although Solana Spaces are predominantly education and community hubs, fans speculate that the stores will be used for selling and repairing future Solana smartphones.
Exploring Solana Spaces – Summary
The Solana Spaces flagship store in New York began greeting shoppers and onboarding users to Web3 applications in late July 2022. The launch of such a novel marketing scheme has questioned whether Web3 brands need physical stores. However, Solana Spaces offers a brick-and-mortar experience far beyond the typical retail outing. Rather, Solana Spaces is a community hub for education, crypto events, and expert advice on getting started in crypto. Moreover, the facility offers an immersive learning experience, exclusive merchandise, and engaging learn-to-earn activities.
The launch of Solana Spaces coincides with a world-preview of the Solana Saga smartphone, anticipated for release in early 2023. In addition, shoppers can receive generous discounts on merchandise when opting to transact with Solana Pay. Alongside educating the everyday public, Solana Spaces is available for corporate training, private events, and custom programming advice. Furthermore, the bold move from the leading Web3 brand is poising itself at the forefront of physical Web3 establishments. With many projects focusing on social developments online and within the metaverse, Solana is refreshingly reminding users of the value of human-to-human interaction and IRL experiences.
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