A Non Fungible Token (NFT) is a digital asset – typically pictures, songs, or videos – bought in an online marketplace and stored on the blockchain, a secure public ledger. Blockchain allows anyone to verify the NFT’s authenticity and keeps a record of who owns what.
An NFT christened Melania’s Vision is available from 16th to 31st December with the SOL cryptocurrency or an old-fashioned credit card.
Melania Trump onto the NFT bandwagon
Melania, 51, joins a growing list of celebrities offering lucrative digital memorabilia. Earlier this year, Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi, Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt, and American football player Tom Brady launched their collections of NFTs. Singer Justin Bieber and K-pop group BTS have also dived in.
Cost of Melania’s NFT
Melania’s NFT retails for one SOL, a cryptocurrency that runs on the Solana blockchain, currently priced at $187.
While some series of NFTs like CryptoPunks and the Bored Ape Yacht Club sell for thousands or even millions of dollars, other tokens command much lower sums, and their prices are notoriously volatile. And the complexities of the real world are already bleeding into the digital realm.
Melania in the spotlight after shying away from it for a year
Erstwhile first lady Melania Trump has finally acquiesced to making peace with the spotlight after almost a year with the launch of her NFT. She has maintained an extremely low profile after her exit from the White House.
This is Melania’s first venture since leaving the White House almost a year ago.
‘Melania’s Vision’ for her new venture
An irony-free statement from her office says it is “a breath watercolor art by Marc-Antoine Coulon, and embodies Mrs. Trump’s cobalt blue eyes, providing the collector with an amulet to inspire.”
“The limited-edition piece of digital artwork will be 1 SOL (approximately $150) and includes an audio recording from Mrs. Trump with a message of hope.”
“I am proud to announce my new endeavor, which embodies my passion for the arts, and will support my ongoing commitment to children through my Be Best initiative,” Melania is quoted as saying. “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 statement notes that “a portion” of the proceeds from Melania’s NFTs, which will be released regularly at MelaniaTrump.com, will support children ageing out of the foster care system. But it does not say where the rest of the money will go.
Erstwhile First Ladies and their history with art
Former first lady Jackie Kennedy was a noted art lover who negotiated a temporary exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting, Mona Lisa, in Washington and New York. Michelle Obama sat for a portrait by artist Amy Sherald that draws crowds on a nationwide tour.
Melania’s Vision receives Twitter backlash.
Melania’s announcement on Thursday was met with some skepticism. Richard Hine, a novelist, commented on Twitter: “I’m not saying most #NFTs are scams operated by grifters and money launderers. I’m just saying Melania Trump is launching an #NFT.”
Also implied in the Twitter response was the accusation that Trump was ‘cashing in’ on political success. Also hailed as a ‘pedestrian’ venture of no significance to politics or art, Twitter-nazis also celebrated the launch of Melania’s NFT as the ‘next publicity stunt in the pro-Trump propaganda’ that has been ensuing ever since Biden assumed the office of president.
A tweet by @OceansAngela dated December 16th reads:
“Melania Trump – TFG’s biggest supporter and her NFT is another way to grift the uneducated. She never cared about children before.”
The tweet was followed by the following caricature inspired by Melania’s olive green coat bearing the legend “I really don’t care, do you?” that had invited hell’s wrath in the form of backlash.
Another tweet from the same day by @T3rriClark reads:
‘How is this worth $150 when you can just see it & save it if you want?’
Melania- Moonpay partnership shrouded in controversy
According to a report by Forbes, Mrs. Trump announced on Thursday that she was planning to use the cryptocurrency exchange MoonPay to process payments. Still, Moonpay denied any official involvement in the former first lady’s NFT venture.
MoonPay spokeswoman Cat Ommanney told Forbes on Thursday afternoon that Trump representatives had never contacted the company, and MoonPay “has no official role in the effort.”
Trump’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes.