On February 21, Solana Spaces announced that it would close its two retail stores in New York City and Miami at the end of the month. The Solana-themed, community-oriented stores intended to onboard more users but didn’t reach their goals. In a tweet accompanying the announcement, founder Vibhu Norby gave his reasons for the store shutdowns.
The ambitious initiative of opening two stores in the Hudson Yards neighborhood of Manhattan and the Wynwood section of Miami was relatively short-lived, having only officially opened in late July and August. Founder Norby explained that Solana Spaces reached an “inflection point” with the stores, prompting them to shift their investment focus to “DRiP,” their new nonfungible token artwork airdrop platform. With DRiP onboarding the same quantity of people every day as the stores onboarded, between 500 and 1,000 each week, the decision to close the shops was made “a few weeks ago,” and they will “sunset” at the end of February. Norby stated that this was part of a broader plan to onboard more people into the Solana and Web3 ecosystem.
“Our endowed mission from day one was to experiment with new and disruptive models to bring people to Web3 and to serve the community on behalf of the Solana Foundation.”Vibhu Norby
As CEO Norby explained, the stores successfully brought people into Solana—but they ultimately felt that focusing on its new NFT airdrop platform DRiP would be a more efficient way to build their user base.
The space featured wallet onboarding tutorials, rewards, merchandise shopping, and events for customers to attend. Initially, Norby had hoped to bring in over 100,000 people per month – but unfortunately, only 75,000 managed to visit the store during its seven-month run. Despite this setback, Solana Spaces was still sponsored by the Solana Foundation, Orca, and Phantom wallet provider – and while it wasn’t able to continue running, it was still able to win over a lot of fans.
Other industry players, such as Star Atlas and Aurory, have acknowledged Solana Spaces’ contribution to the crypto space.