Melania Trump’s much-discussed online auction, featuring a hat she wore at the White House during a 2018 visit by French President Emmanuel Macron, is turning into a potential victim of the market crash. cryptocurrency.
Mrs. Trump has decided to hold an online auction combining the wide-brimmed white hat and a watercolor of her wearing it, as well as a virtual work of art, called a non-fungible token, or NFT, which shows a animated version of her wearing the hat.
The three-piece package, called “Head of State Collection, 2022,” was set to open with a minimum bid of around $250,000, according to a press release from Mrs. Trump early January announcing the sale. But offers were only accepted in the Solana blockchain cryptocurrency called SOL, which was then trading at a price of around $170 per token.
“The one-of-a-kind NFT will be minted on the Solana blockchain,” the website vaunted sale promotion.
But in the weeks that followed, SOL, along with most other cryptocurrencies, suffered. steep declines in value. The day before the auction closed on Tuesday, each SOL was worth around $95.
Only a few bids appeared to have been made on Mrs. Trump’s items early Tuesday evening, and the dollar value of the highest bid was around $170,000, with the exact dollar value fluctuating with market volatility. of cryptography.
The auction was due to end at 2:59 a.m. Wednesday. The winning bid could still exceed the dollar value Mrs. Trump had targeted. But it will start from a much lower opening bid, in dollar terms, than she had set.
Ms Trump said “a portion” of the proceeds will be used to help provide children in foster care with access to computer and technology-focused educational programs. But she didn’t say how much of the proceeds she would keep herself.
Mrs. Trump could keep the Solana tokens and hope that their value will increase. Or the decline in value could continue, leaving it with an even smaller take.
This is the second NFT sale Mrs. Trump has held since December. In the first, a group of limited-edition NFTs by the same French artist, Marc-Antoine Coulon, featured a virtual watercolor of Mrs. Trump’s eyes, titled “Melania’s Vision”, which sold for $150 each.
The deflated results show that while NFT-backed cryptocurrency auctions have become a magnet for celebrities — others who have jumped into the game include Justin Bieber, Lindsay Lohan and Snoop Dogg — it remains unclear whether the virtual currency system is reliable enough to build a profitable business.
“This is just proof that none of the cryptocurrency assets provide a good, stable enough means of payment,” said Dan Awrey, a Cornell University law professor who studies currency and payment systems. . “It’s just too volatile.”