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Did Melania Trump Buy Her Own NFT For $356,000?

Reports suggested that Melania Trump might have placed the winning bid for her own NFT auction. The former first lady denied the accusations.

Melania Trump is facing scrutiny for her NFT business. In particular, reports suggest that the crypto for the winning bid for her NFT auction came from the same wallet that launched it.

The auction in question was for a collection inspired by her 2018 state visit to France, featuring physical and digital items.

For $250,000, the first lady offered the hat she wore during the visit and a watercolor painting of herself in it. The collection also includes a “Digital Artwork NFT with Motion.”

The collection has both Melania Trump and artist Marc-Antoine Coulon as authors.

Melania Trump listed the winner of the auction, saying that the NFTs sold for 1,800 SOL, about $356,000 at the time. Since then, Solana and other cryptos lost value, and that sum would now be worth $185,000.

Blockchain Transactions

However, on-chain data painted a different picture. On Jan. 23, the wallet listed as the creator of these NFTs first transferred 372,657 USDC – a USD stablecoin, to a second wallet. That wallet then sent 1,800 SOL to a third address.

That is the same address listed as a winner of the auction. Five days later, the third wallet sent 1,800 SOL back to the second wallet, on-chain data shows.

Still, Melania Trump denied buying her own NFTs. Instead, she said that they made the transactions for a buyer that wanted to be anonymous.

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.

Transactions on most blockchain networks are public, transparent, and pseudonymous. If someone publishes their address,  anyone can check all the transactions they made in the past.

That is why it’s common for investors to have multiple wallets. Some even try and move funds between their wallets, risking making their other wallets public.

Securities and Exchange Commission bans wash trading, which means buying and selling from oneself. However, crypto is a new asset class, and the SEC does not yet consider it to be securities.

Earlier NFT Collection

Back in December, the former first lady released her first NFT collection. Created by the same artist as the last one, it featured visual and audio elements. For one Solana – $185 at the time – her fans could get the NFTs for a limited time.

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