Solana Spaces CEO Vibhu Norby said the new physical Solana stores will introduce up to 100,000 people a month to the Solana ecosystem, while also signaling plans to open a virtual store in the near future.
Leveraging a grant from the Solana Foundation, the first Solana Spaces store opened in the elegant Hudson Yards New York mall on July 28.
Norby addressed the community in an impromptu Twitter AMA on launch day, explaining that the store was meant to teach new users how to use Dapps and noted that it would introduce thousands of people to the Solana blockchain.
“I don’t think people realize this, but we’re going to bring 50 to 100,000 people into Solana every month through these stores — and that’s just this year.”
Speaking to Cointelegraph in a phone interview after the AMA, Norby said the store had 400 visitors and also hinted that new physical stores in the US are in the works and that “the store is designed for people who are brand new to blockchain.”
Solana (SOL) is home to over a thousand decentralized applications (Dapps), ranging from trading platforms, games and non-convertible tokens (NFTs) to social media.
Solana Spaces NYC is now open: https://t.co/jZcZ99l5Cj
We are the world’s first commercial and educational site dedicated to Web3.
— Solana Spaces (@solanaspaces) July 28, 2022
While it’s technically a store that sells a limited line of Solana-based merchandise, it mainly serves as a retail-as-a-service learning center where new users get free tutorials on how to set up crypto wallets and connect to various Dapps.
“This is not a store designed to be a place where you buy things. This is a store designed to be an educational experience. We do sell merchandise, Solana socks and hoodies and other fun stuff, but that’s not the main thing.”
Retail-as-a-service refers to stores that serve as showrooms for the products that customers can buy online. This encourages display of the products and reduces inventory requirements.
Norby added that the people who will get the most out of the store are those who have little or no exposure to blockchain. He said half of those who visited on launch day either had some exposure to Ether (ETH) or Bitcoin (BTC), or had no idea what any of it was. He said:
“You don’t have to be here unless you want the sick goods.” If you are trading NFTs full time, there is only so much value we can offer.
So far, shoppers have responded positively to the new store. Mutual VC partner Craig Burel called it “pretty epic” on Twitter entry July 28, echoing the sentiments of other shoppers.
— Austin Federa | sms (@Austin_Federa) July 28, 2022
The Solana Foundation helped finance the opening of the shop with a grant, but each lesson is funded by a project running on the blockchain. Notably, Stepn, Orca, Solana Pay, Metaplex, and Magic Eden are hosting tutorials in the store. Clients receive NFT for completing tutorials.
While Solana Spaces opened its first branch on Thursday, Norby hinted that a virtual store is also in development along with other physical stores. He also added that he eventually wanted stores in every country around the world.
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Solana is in the process of expanding the reach of its network through the new store and a new Android mobile phone called Saga. Cointelegraph reported on June 24 that the reaction to the new phone was generally positive, with one person even calling it Web3’s “iPhone moment.”
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