Although the blockchain allows anonymity, it is not exactly the best place for keeping secrets; especially if you are the former First Lady of the United States.
This particular tokenized mystery, however, entangled the wife of former President Donald Trump. As blockchain records soon revealed, the recently released NFT collection by Melania Trump was sold to none other than the creator herself.
Last month former First Lady Melania Trump launched her own non-fungible token collection called the “Head of State Collection.” The set reflected the Trump Administration’s first official state visit and featured three items, including the iconic white hat worn by Melania Trump, a signed watercolor painting by Marc-Antoine Coulon, and a piece of animated digital artwork.
The ‘Head of State Collection’ was minted on the Solana blockchain and opened for auction with an initial bidding price of $250,000, denominated in SOL tokens. The Office of Melania Trump publicized that part of the proceeds would be dedicated to scholarships for science and technology students in foster care communities.
The two-week NFT auction closed on January 25th with the ‘Head of State Collection’ eventually being sold to an anonymous bidder who paid 1,800 SOL tokens, worth $195,282 USD at the time.
But as blockchain records later revealed, the 1,799.50 SOL payment in fact came from an intermediary address, which had itself received those same funds from the address of the Melania Trump collection’s creator not long before. The same creator’s wallet then sent 1,800 SOL tokens back to the intermediate address, from which the crypto was exchanged for USDC stablecoins.
The Office of Melania Trump has not yet offered any explanation for the mysterious transaction, but no vacant place stays empty for long, and the crypto community has come up with its own version of events for the high-profile NFT mystery.
Some Twitter users accused Trump of tax evasion and stealing from charities:
Others, on the other hand, tried to justify the mysterious movements of the NFT fund by suggesting that the transactions were made in order to facilitate a transaction by an anonymous buyer who did not use digital currencies for the purchase:
A third, and more popular narrative, simply interpreted First Lady’s NFT mystery as creating artificial demand. Some tweets even referred to the common practice of art auctions during which fake buyers appear when no bids arise:
Imitating buyers for your own NFTs is not exactly a new strategy in the world of digital assets, in fact the technique was quite popular back in the golden age of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), when the original owners used it to boost their project’s price. However, until an official statement is released by Melania Trump’s NFT collection creator, the crypto space will remain in the dark.