Solana (SOL) opened its flagship Solana Spaces store in a Manhattan mall on July 28, 2022. The first Solana Spaces store is located in the upscale Hudson Yards shopping center. The store offers services for crypto beginners like DeFi education and Phantom wallet setup, as well as Solana apparel and NFTs for sale.
The first Solana Spaces store looks like an Apple store. It has a concrete floor and white walls, and its employees carry iPads and wear t-shirts. For now, the main purpose of the store is to act as a tutorial hub for crypto, especially DeFi and NFTs. In the future, these stores could be used for selling and repairing Solana smartphones.
According to Solana Spaces CEO Vibhu Norby, the stores are expecting mostly crypto beginners with no exposure to Bitcoin or Ethereum. Given that Solana is a fun blockchain to actually use, this seems like a good way to onboard new crypto users straight to Solana. At launch, several Solana ecosystem projects are giving tutorials at Solana Spaces, including Magic Eden, Solana Pay, Stepn, Orca, and Metaplex.
Solana is also expecting serious foot traffic from its Solana Spaces outlets. Norby says Solana Spaces is "going to bring 50k to 100k people into Solana every month through these stores–and that’s just this year."
So why does Solana need a physical presence, and why is it in a mall? Solana believes it can reach a million new crypto users per year in America's shopping malls, and I suppose that's a good place to find people with money who don't own any crypto yet. There's also a good chance that Solana phone users would prefer to have a physical location to purchase, set up, and service their phones–like an Apple store.
Solana Spaces display NFTs for sale in special frames. Solana offering a physical location for retail NFT sales could help attract top artists and IP to Solana's NFT ecosystem.