It seems that aspiring NFT artist Melania Trump has been be bested at her own game. The former First Lady minted her first NFT, Head of State Collection, on January 11, and put it up for auction, where it sold for $180,000 (1,800 Solana). A month later, it looks like she bought it herself.
Public records on the Solana (SOL) blockchain indicate that the auction winner is the same address that minted the piece—albeit through a very convoluted process. Solana is a public blockchain, like Ethereum and Bitcoin. This means that anybody with internet access can follow where NFTs are sold.
Trump’s website discloses that the buyer’s digital address is 497Zu5gfWSv4VNsoQfjixWXQZmKZ2pDzkVSASDBqnFL2. This is where she got creative. At the end of last month, that address was given 1,800 SOL by an address that was itself funded by the very address that created Melania’s NFT. Once the auction concluded, the original creator’s address sent 180,000 SOL back to this newly invented and self-funded address, which converted it into USDC (a stablecoin linked to the U.S. dollar). Dizzy yet?
The piece is classic Melania: weirdly formal and a flagrant money grab gone awry. In Marc-Antoine Coulon’s digital portrait, Melania sports a white suit and wide-brim hat that she once wore during a visit with Emmanuel Macron. (The hat itself came with the purchase, so we may well be seeing her sport it at Mar-a-Lago this summer).
Representatives for Melania Trump did not respond to a request for comment or confirmation. But Vice’s Motherboard spoke to blockchain expert zachxbt, who shared his analysis on why the winning bid of the auction came from its creator, which is either Melania herself or whoever set up the NFT’s sale.
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