At NYC’s New NFT Vending Machine, You’ll Have No Idea What You’re Buying

The vending machine was conceived to appeal to the "crypto curious."

People walk past an NFT vending machine location on February 24, 2022 in New York City. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Is it any wonder that New York City’s first NFT vending machine can be found in the Financial District? According to new reports, a digital art platform called Neon has installed just such an apparatus at a storefront in FiDi where visitors, for prices that range between $5.99 and $420.69 (get it), can purchase slips of paper enclosed in boxes that bear scannable QR codes. These codes can then be used to collect works of digital art, but there’s a catch: customers will have no idea what kind of art they’re buying. This commitment to anonymity reflects the mentality many still have about NFT art: the actual design or aesthetic creativity is perhaps seen as secondary to the novelty of possessing an NFT in the first place.

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“It’s 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,” Neon CEO Kyle Zappitell told Reuters. He also added that the blending of old technology (a vending machine) and fresher technology (NFTs) is part of the appeal. “As a NFT collector, over time, one of the things you love is the randomness of, ‘Which one are you going to get?’ So that’s one of the exciting aspects.”

There are other crypto vending machines in New York and indeed around the country, but Neon is the first company to offer one exclusively devoted to NFTs. Whether the idea will catch on or not remains to be seen, but there’s a certain cleverness in introducing NFTs to the physical plane in a way that feels non-intimidating and in tune with everyday life. Neon is aspiring to install more NFT vending machines in high-traffic public areas in the near future.

At NYC’s New NFT Vending Machine, You’ll Have No Idea What You’re Buying