Is Buying an NFT from a Vending Machine as Easy as It sounds?

Paigambar Mohan Raj
Source: Time Out

The world’s first NFT vending machine opened shop in Manhattan’s Financial District. While it is easy to miss the small counter, one can easily spot the store upon close attention. The windows are drenched in pink neon light, with flashing lettering that announces “NFT ATM,” squished between a sandwich store and a tailor.

Walking in, you enter a tiny booth with the vending machine, which is stocked with rows of miniature paper cartons, as you walk through the entryway. There are only two items available: a $5.99 “color” and a $420.69 “party pigeon.”

Now, smart contracts and the process of minting an NFT can be tedious. Using NFTs and smart contracts is not a layman’s know-how. In order to simplify the process of owning an NFT, Chicago-based firm Neon conceptualized the idea of an NFT ATM. However, is it really that easy to still buy an NFT?

Well, yes and no.

What is the idea behind the NFT ATM?

Neon founder, Jordan Birnholtz, is convinced that one can purchase an NFT without using crypto. According to him, the customer of today does not want to get into the economics of the system, but rather just wants to support their favorite artist. Or so he thinks.

Firstly, let’s take a look at how NFTs are traditionally minted. We send our crypto into a smart contract, and we get a “receipt” saying that we own said Non-Fungible Token. Although it is easier said than done, that’s pretty much how the process works.

Although everyone else can still right-click-save and share the NFT image, you’ll know it’s yours, as will anyone else looking at the blockchain. That is the logic behind the protocol.

Birnholtz wants to make purchasing a Non Fungible Token, as easy as purchasing a toothbrush, i.e. using a credit or debit card to mint the NFT, without getting into smart contracts. Upon purchasing an NFT from Neon’s vending machines, one only gets a paper receipt with the code that confirms the ownership. However, one does not get the NFT until they go onto the Solana Marketplace to actually complete the process.

The Guardian had a discussion with Birnholtz regarding how the NFT ATM works. He said that;

“It’s impossible to own a color. What you own is a ledger on the Solana blockchain that represents that particular color. And we allow people to collect those colors to trade them, and sell them.”

Well, then I guess it doesn’t serve its purpose of removing crypto as one would still need to understand how on the Solana blockchain would one get their hands on their NFT. This ultimately creates more questions than answers.

To be honest, in my opinion, using crypto would be a far less complicated process than using a credit or debit card, as it creates an unnecessary layer of purchase.

Birnholtz further clarifies that one should only purchase an NFT if they feel sentimental about it. Or if they have some kind of connection or love of the art. For most people, this doesn’t mean much. And the ones that are interested in Non-Fungibles and the crypto space are more likely to already know how a minting process works.

In all likelihood, an ATM for Non-Fungibles is probably a little farfetched in today’s time and technology. For an average consumer who is not aware of how smart contracts work, it creates more problems than it solves.