We bought an NFT from NYC's first NFT vending machine
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Tucked between a bodega and tailor shop in the heart of New York's Financial District is a small but eye-catching storefront with the promise to change the world of NFTs forever.

It's a 24/7 NFT vending machine, that everyday people can afford and access, unlike traditional NFTs that require digital wallets and an understanding of cryptocurrency.

It's hard to miss if you're walking along John Street, it's lit with pink and purple lights, disco balls, and neon signage. The intoxicating design is begging for people to see what it's about and the inside is even more interesting.

With already a few thousand NFTs sold in the vending machine, we decided to purchase one ourselves to see what it was about.

This NFT vending machine is the first of its kind in New York City Ariana Baio

The NFT vending machine, run by Neon, is the first of its kind in the world. Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer Jordan Birnholtz, says they wanted to create a fun way for people to get introduced to NFTs which he believes are important for digital artists and creators.

"We wanted to come up with the simplest NFT that people could buy into they could get experience doing it and we could tell a story about how easy it is to support other artists and creators," Birnholtz says.

Easy it is. All users need to purchase their own NFT is a credit card. The vending machine works just like a regular one -once making a selection, you punch in the numbers and tap or swipe your card.

Options range from $420.69 for a Party Pigeon NFT or $5.99 for a Color Project NFT. But once you've decided how much you're paying, it's out of your hands which version of the NFT you're going to get.

When you make your selection - a small cardboard box drops down and inside is a slim piece of paper with a code that is redeemable on Neon's website.

So, we headed down one night this week, paid our $6, and out came our box.

The small cardboard box that drops down when you've made your selection Ariana Baio

NFTs are all the rage right now and at first, they seemed exclusive to high net worth or high profile people. Popular NFTs like Bored Ape Yacht Club or CryptoPunks cost anywhere from $14,000 to over one million.

Everyone from Ozzy Osbourne to Jimmy Fallon is paying big bucks for a customized NFT from an exclusive designer.

But Birnholtz thinks we should look at NFTs as a way to pay artists the monetary value they deserve for work they give for free on the Internet.

"I don't think people need to think about 'oh should I be in NFTs or not?' I think they should ask 'Oh is this creator, is this artist is this musician doing something I want to be a part of, and do I want to buy into it?" Birnholtz says.

And Neon's vending machine is the perfect introduction for people who want to buy into their favourite digital artist's creations. The vending machine is accessible and the Project Color NFTs are inexpensive.

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The process to obtain the NFT is relatively simple as the vending machine functions like any other. However, redeeming the code can be a bit tricky. Users have to make an account first, which sends you a verification code rather than a password. From there, you can find the redeem button under your profile settings.

Once inputting your code, your NFT will be revealed! Congrats, you have mined your very own NFT. And if you're like us and chose the Colour Project one, then you have your very own colour.

When we redeemed it online, our colour was a shade of dark grey, maybe black.

"You don't actually own the rights to a colour," says Birnholtz. "It's more of a game in the same way people buy Baseball cards and trade and sell based on what they like."

So what do you do with your colour? Well, that's up to you. You can buy and trade other colours, create a collage on your profile page, or do nothing with it.

We told a few people that we had an NFT - the instant response from many was to assume we spent thousands (given Bored Apes are infamous NFTs with million-dollar price tags to match). Informing them that it was just $6 surprised many.

Once we'd done that, we kind of hit a wall. We'd heard that Twitter lets premium subscribers use their NFT as their profile pic, and get a special hexagonal avatar shape to prove ownership - but it turns out that feature only works with Ethereum NFTs and not these Solana NFTs. Maybe that'll change in the future.

For now, the little box sits on our desk at work and we've got a screenshot of our colour somewhere in our downloads folder. Was it worth $6? You be the judge of that.

If your answer is yes, you can visit the Neon NFT vending machine at 29 John Street in New York, New York.

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