First NFT Vending Machine Has Landed in New York City

Credit: Neon

In an innovative twist for purchasing non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Neon, an NFT marketplace, set up an NFT vending machine blocks from Wall Street in New York City. The machine contains small rectangular packages with QR codes imprinted inside, which the customer can redeem for an NFT on Neon’s website.

Customers can pay for the NFTs with credit cards, debit cards, and some forms of electronic payment.

Jordan Birnholtz, the Chief Marketing Officer and co-founder of Neon, said a big goal for the NFT vending machine was decoupling NFTs from cryptocurrency. Some say this relationship makes it more challenging for the average person, who may not be technically astute, to buy NFTs.

“Decoupling NFTs” from cryptocurrency will enable the vending machine to reach the largest possible audience, Birnholtz noted. He added that buying and selling NFTs shouldn’t be a mystery, with the implication that cryptocurrency adds a level of complication to the process.

Only two collections in the NFT vending machine have been publicized thus far: Project Color and Party Pigeons. Project Color contains NFTs of differing colors, represented through their six-digit digital code. Party Pigeons is a 10,000 PFP NFT collection that celebrates music culture.

Outside of the NFT world, the reception of the NFT vending machine has ranged from incredulity and bewilderment.

Neon Marketplace Taps Solana Blockchain for Transactions

Using fiat currency to purchase NFTs is not necessarily new. NBA Top Shot, OpenSea, and other marketplaces allow for purchasing NFTs using credit and debit cards. The one key to such an arrangement is using a fast blockchain with near-zero transaction fees.

For instance, NBA Top Shot runs on the Flow blockchain, and OpenSea’s credit and debit card functionality runs on the Polygon blockchain. In its NFT vending machine, Neon utilizes another lightning-quick blockchain with low transactions fees: Solana.

Birnholtz, in an interview, said the Neon team chose the Solana blockchain because it’s “the most energy-efficient,” uses a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, and can process up to 65,000 transactions per second while requiring near-zero fees. Solana effectively renders NFT trading carbon neutral and can meet demand at a “global scale.”

Recent developments in the NFT space have underscored the need for a simplified system, especially for those who don’t want to deal with the hassle of setting up a wallet and paying with cryptocurrency. Perhaps recognizing this, Coinbase solicited MasterCard to allow people to purchase NFTs using credit cards when its marketplace opens.

One thing is for certain: Expect the NFT vending machine to see some traffic especially when NFT NYC rolls around.