Apr 13, 2022 - Technology

New York's NFT vending machine

An NFT vending machine.

The Neon NFT vending machine at 29 John St. in Manhattan's Financial District. Photo: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Vending machines dispense all sorts of offbeat things these days — like hamburgers and pizza — and now it's time to add non-fungible tokens to the list.

Why it matters: While most people would be hard-pressed to define what an NFT is, the tokens were all the rage at SXSW this year, and their arrival in an ATM in New York City's Financial District may mean NFT-dispensing machines could grow as ubiquitous as cryptocurrency ATMs.

What they are: NFTs are "unique digital assets — often works of art, game characters and other creative products — that are recorded on a blockchain, or persistent digital ledger," writes Axios tech editor Peter Allen Clark.

  • "Think of them as digital collectibles."

How it works: The ATM at 29 John St. in lower Manhattan was put there by Neon, which calls itself "a marketplace and gallery built on the Solana blockchain." Neon sells unique digital pieces of art, in familiar forms like Baby Yoda.

  • "The NFT ATM works very similarly to traditional ATMs," according to Cointelegraph. "You can purchase NFTs through the machine with your credit or debit card, and it will dispense boxes that contain unique codes that you can redeem through Neon’s platform."
  • "Much like Easter egg capsules, buyers will not know what NFT they’re getting until they redeem it."
  • Prices range from $5.99 to $420.69 (a tongue-in-cheek number derived from 420 — a marijuana reference — and a sex joke).
  • Once a QR code inside the box is scanned, "the user can see their new piece of art on any smartphone, laptop or tablet," Reuters says.

"As an NFT collector, over time, one of the things you love is the randomness of, 'Which one are you going to get?'" Kyle Zappitell, CEO of Neon, said in an interview with Reuters.

  • The target customer is "the crypto curious, the people who tried to buy cryptocurrency or they were interested in buying an NFT, but they just hit too many barriers."

What's next: Neon plans to add more artists to its platform and open more NFT ATMs in different cities, Jordan Birnholtz, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Neon, tells Cointelegraph, a news outlet that covers fintech, blockchain and the future of money.

  • "NFTs are going to let a variety of visual, multimedia and performing artists create new ways to build relationships with and monetize their audience," Birnholtz told the publication.
Tweet from a user of the NFT ATM
A tweet from a satisfied customer. Screenshot:@DRIFTER1117/Twitter
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