Web3 Co-Working Hub EmpireDAO Closes Amid Bear Market Woes

The hopeful “WeWork of Web3” is closing its doors and looking for a new home just months after it opened at 190 Bowery in Manhattan.

AccessTimeIconJan 3, 2023 at 9:55 p.m. UTC
Updated Jan 10, 2023 at 3:33 p.m. UTC

As an extended crypto winter continues to put pressure on Web3 businesses, EmpireDAO, the crypto co-working space founded by entrepreneur Mike Fraietta in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan, is feeling the frost.

The New York City office building was tapped to become the WeWork of Web3 at the historic 190 Bowery, but less than a year after opening Fraietta is looking to move elsewhere.

“We tried every which way to get new sponsors, partnerships and even crowdfunding,” Fraietta said. “But we needed more help to sustain at 190 Bowery.”

Fraietta attempted a last-minute crowdfunding campaign to save the EmpireDAO office space in December 2022, with hopes of raising 215 ETH (about $260,000). But the effort ultimately fell short, receiving just 27 donations for a total of 6.71 ETH, or about $8,100 at the time of writing.

Since Fraietta began leasing the building in March, EmpireDAO has amassed a community of over 1,500 members and around 300 visitors each day to its office. It officially opened its doors in June, according to Fraietta.

While EmpireDAO’s SoHo location is shutting its doors, Fraietta has plans to eventually re-open in another spot for “Season 2” of the decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), along with potential EmpireDAO pop-ups at upcoming crypto conferences, as well as this year’s SXSW in Austin, Texas, in partnership with ATX DAO.

“The focus is now on making a clean exodus at 190 Bowery,” Fraietta said.

The announcement of EmpireDAO’s closure was met with hundreds of supportive comments in the group’s Telegram chat.

“Thank you for opening the doors both literally and figuratively to so many people, projects, minds and movements,” one user wrote. EmpireDAO “really became my home,” said another.

The news comes amid a larger crypto winter that has shuttered momentum for many Web3 startups, with new capital hard to come by. When EmpireDAO began its lease in March, the price of ETH was around $3,140, 163% higher than its current price of roughly $1,210.

Solana, the underlying blockchain for many projects that worked out of EmpireDAO, has also taken a hit since March 2022; its native cryptocurrency SOL is down almost 90%.


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Eli is a news reporter for CoinDesk. He holds ETH, SOL and AVAX.

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