Right before the holidays, we reported on an officially sanctioned (presumably minted in Hell) line of Melania Trump NFTs, the first of which was a watercolor of her eyes... or something. Whatever, it sucked, and whoever bought it sucks, too.
Unsurprisingly, it hasn’t taken long for the craven cash grabs to raise some serious red flags among people who monitor this kind of thing. According to a recent rundown from VICE, one of Melania’s newer auctions for a physical “millinery masterpiece” alongside yet another boring watercolor NFT sold for an infuriating 1,800 SOL, or around $170,000 at the time of auction close. The proud new owner of a piece of digital hucksterism alongside its real world ugly counterpoint worn by a fascist sympathizer? The person who made the art in the first place...? Maybe. It’s complicated. And probably suspect.
Keep up as best you can — Alright, we’ll try to make this as simple as possible. Which really isn’t all that simple, if we’re being honest with you.
One of the genuinely good things about purchases on the blockchain is that there is a permanent receipt and transaction history, allowing anyone to hypothetically trace a purchase. Here’s what happened with Melania’s NFT, according to independent analyst @zachxbt:
- Last month, the Melania Trump NFT Creator sent nearly $470K in USDC (crypto whose worth is tied to the U.S. dollar) to Suspect A
- Suspect A converted around $166K USDC to 1,800 SOL, then sent that to Suspect B
- Suspect B bid on and subsequently won the Melania NFT for 1,800 SOL
- Melania Trump NFT Creator claims the 1,800 SOL, then sends it back to Suspect A
- Suspect A, if you’ll recall, was using a wallet address utilized by the creator of the NFT itself
Still with us? — Why would the NFT creator purchase their own NFT? One theory is that the actual person who wanted the Melania Trump NFT either didn’t own cryptocurrency themself or didn’t know how crypto works in the first place... kind of believable when you consider who is still glomming onto the Trump Train these days. Therefore, they paid real money in advance, which was then converted by the NFT owner to facilitate the blockchain sale.
And yet, once again, why? If you’ve learned nothing else from all this, it’s that it’s all very weird and sketchy and confusing and totally on brand for Trumpworld.