Melania Trump ‘buys own artwork’ in first sale on her new NFT platform – report

The winner of Melania Trump’s first NFT auction appears to be the former first lady herself, according to a report.

The Bloomberg News analysed transactions on the Solana blockchain and found links between her — or at least her team members — to the winning bid of 1,800 SOL [the equivalent of $185,000].

Solana blockchain hosted the auction of Melania Trump’s “Head of State Collection 2022.”

In December last year, the Office of Melania Trump announced in a statement that the former First Lady was starting an NFT “platform, which will release NFTs in regular intervals” on her website.

Ms Trump said: “I am proud to announce my new NFT endeavour, which embodies my passion for the arts, and will support my ongoing commitment to children through my Be Best initiative.”

She continued: “Through this new technology-based platform, we will provide children computer science skills including programming and software development to thrive after they age out of the foster community.”

The Bloomberg News investigation revealed that the cryptocurrency used to purchase Ms Trump’s first NFT came from a wallet that belonged to the entity that originally listed the project for sale.

Here is what happened: The former first lady listed the winner of the auction on her website and that the NFT sold for 1800 SOL (which is now worth about $185,000) three weeks ago.

An analysis of the recorded transactions on the Solana blockchain showed that on 23 January, the digital wallet that was listed as the creator of Ms Trump’s NFT transferred “372,657 USDC, a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar, to a second wallet that later sent 1,800 SOL to a third address.”

The investigation revealed that the “third one is listed as the winner of the auction on Trump’s website.”

Further, it was reported that on 27 January, the original wallet sent 1800 SOL back to the second wallet.

Ms Trump has denied this. In a statement, the Office of Melania Trump said: “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.”

​​SOL is the seventh-largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalisation of $38bn.

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