The winner of Melania Trump’s first NFT auction appears to be the former first lady herself.
A Bloomberg News analysis of recorded transactions on the Solana blockchain, which hosted the auction of Trump’s “Head of State Collection, 2022,” has linked Trump, or at least members of her team, to the winning bid of 1,800 SOL, the equivalent of $185,000.
Trump debuted the auction in January, offering up to bidders a collection that included one of her hats, an original watercolor, and an NFT of a digital artwork.
The analysis revealed that a digital wallet tied to the creator of Trump’s NFT transferred over 370,000 USDC stablecoin to a second digital wallet. That second digital wallet then transferred 1,800 SOL to a third wallet, which placed the winning bid. The original wallet eventually sent 1,800 SOL to the first wallet, implying that owners of the digital wallets were cooperating and orchestrating a purchase.
The Bloomberg analysis follows a previous report by Vice’s Motherboard tech news site that reached the same conclusion. “In other words, the winner of Melania Trump’s NFT got the money from none other than the creator of the NFT itself, and an address linked to the NFT creator got the money back,” the report said.
The office of Melania Trump said in a statement: “The nature of Blockchain protocol is entirely transparent. Accordingly, the public can view each transaction on the Blockchain. The transaction was facilitated on behalf of a third-party buyer.”
The bizarre NFT auction underscores the rapid rise of nonfungible tokens that have raised concerns about a much-hyped investment trend that some fear may go bust.