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A vending machine in New York City has stepped away from the drinks and snacks game to sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Located between a sandwich shop and a tailor on John Street, near Broadway, the vending machine has been created by the company Neon and allows customers to purchase digital art in exchange for a swipe of a credit or debit card.
The machine is the first of its kind, and had to be restocked soon after opening due to its popularity with customers venturing into the newly popularised world of NFTs.
#NFT ATM in #NYC wow!!! Make sure you #crypto folk check out @neon_gallery when you are in the city. This concept is epic and I can't wait to see what is next. I just picked up three "Project Color" #NFTs and soon hopefully a "Party Pigeon" 😎. I love this! pic.twitter.com/vUVXasmvmf— DRIFTER (@DRIFTER1117) February 28, 2022
According to The Guardian's Wilfred Chan, who ventured out to give the machine a try, customers are met with the sight of numerous rows of paper cartons, similar to packs of cigarettes. There are apparently only two products available to buy, namely 'color' and 'party pigeon', but the choice between the items will likely be impacted by your dedication to NFTs – or funny numbers – as they are priced at $5.99 and $420.69, respectively.
Though NFTs can be bought online using cryptocurrency, Jordan Birnholtz, the Chicago-based co-founder of Neon, believes the process as it stands is too complicated and wants to make it 'as simple as buying a toothbrush'.
By providing the opportunity to buy NFTs through vending machines, Neon hopes to target customers who don't want to get into '19th and early 20th century lessons about economics', but who want to support artists and get a token of 'conspicuous consumption', The Guardian reports.
After opting for a 'color', Chan learned he was now in possession of a randomly generated code that allowed him to 'mint' an NFT and claim ownership over one of 10,000 different colours.
Birnholtz clarified that while it is 'impossible to own a colour', the purchase actually allowed the customer to own 'a ledger on the Solana blockchain that represents that particular colour. And we allow people to collect those colours to trade them, and sell them'.
Unfortunately, Chan's particular experience didn't quite go to plan as he appeared to buy a 'misprinted' code that ended up with him owning a blank square. However, for those who are more successful with their purchases, Birnholtz explained, 'You are buying it to show it off.'
She is stunning. Protect her at all costs. https://t.co/xt2PRMzAKI— Neon (@neon_gallery) March 1, 2022
He continued: 'We make no promise of future value. I would never sell something to someone as, oh, this is a great investment. That’s bullsh*t. I think you should buy something if you like it and you connect with it.'
With the vending machine venture officially underway, Neon now plans to open more vending machines in six cities in the coming months, likely including Las Vegas, Chicago, LA and Miami.
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