Solana Cancels Saga Orders After Selling Phones It Didn’t Have

It’s been a wild week for the Solana Saga smartphone

It won an award from a prominent YouTuber… for worst phone of the year. And it started flying off the shelves… because buyers discovered it came with crypto perks more valuable than the phone’s sticker price. And now, Solana Labs says, some units of the smartphone that were sold last week never existed in the first place. 

Due to an “inventory management issue,” Solana Labs announced late Thursday, the company says it accidentally oversold the Saga phone and has run out of units with an undisclosed number of orders still pending. Solana Labs claimed the mistake was the fault of a third-party distributor, which it did not name. 

All affected customers have already been informed of the issue and will be refunded in the coming days, the company said. 

Decrypt reached out to Solana Labs to confirm how many customers were impacted by the error, but did not immediately receive a response. 

After months of middling sales, Saga phones started flying off the shelves last week when intrepid consumers realized that the smartphone came with access to an airdrop of 30 million BONK, a Solana meme coin. 

While that amount of BONK equaled about $11 just months ago, by last week, thanks to BONK’s astonishing rise, it was worth $865: far more than the Saga’s $599 price tag. All in all, Saga owners who claimed every airdrop or free perk affiliated with the phone netted tokens now worth over $3,000.

All 20,000 units of the phone sold out within days, in somewhat of a pyrrhic victory for Solana Labs: the phone was a hit, but in large part due to incentives tied to it. Days later, the phone received the 2023 “Bust of the Year” Smartphone Award from technology reviewer and YouTuber Marques “MKBHD” Brownlee. 

“No amount of BONK or [Claynosaurz] could save this phone,” Brownlee wrote to his millions of Twitter followers.

Solana Labs attempted to pivot the potential embarrassment into a tongue-in-cheek viral moment, embracing the designation and referring to itself in subsequent marketing materials as an “award-winning” phone.

The company even went so far as to ask Brownlee to ship the “Bust of the Year” trophy to their office, and the Solana project 3.land created a “Saga: Bust of the Year” NFT collection inspired by the award. Nearly $3 million worth of the Solana NFTs have been traded following a free mint on Wednesday.

Some disgruntled Saga purchasers who had yet to receive their phones, however, weren’t having a laugh this week. Others took the opportunity to meme on the situation.

Edited by Andrew Hayward

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