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Did Melania Trump Buy Her Own NFT?

Wash trading -- buying and selling assets to oneself in the hopes of influencing future purchases -- is a common practice on the cryptocurrency exchanges

melania trump nft white hat wash trading
Melania Trump, photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto
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    Melania Trump auctioned off an NFT last month for about $170,000, but as Vice reports, the funds for the winning bid came from the same crypto wallet that created the NFT. So did the former First Lady buy her own NFT? And if not, what happened?

    Trump first got into selling NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, last year. Her latest auction involved the “Head of State Collection, 2022”, which included an NFT, a water color, and a white broad-brimmed hat that she wore for a visit from French President Emmanuel Macron in 2018 (pictured above).

    The sale took place three weeks ago on the Solana blockchain for 1,800 SOL (about $182,000 today, but closer to $170,000 last month). As The New York Times reported at the time, this was significantly below the $250,000 that Trump had been seeking. Furthermore, interest in the package seemed low; there were only five bids, and they all came in around the minimum.

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    Eventually, a minimum bid of 1,800 SOL was accepted. This is where things get weird.

    Solana is a public blockchain, with every transaction linked to an address and no way to delete records. If you follow the money, you’ll find that the cryptocurrency from the winning bid came from a wallet funded by the same address that created the NFT.

    Vice explained it thus: “The auction winner’s address was funded with 1,800 SOL on January 25, which came from an address (let’s call it Address X) that was itself funded by the address that created Melania’s NFT. After the auction, the NFT creator address sent 1,800 SOL back to Address X which converted it into USDC, a stablecoin pegged to the U.S. dollar.”

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