Melania Trump reportedly sold a $170,000 NFT of a hat she wore during her meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. The NFT was eventually sold to its founders, according to blockchain data. The NFT in question is from the “Head of State Collection, 2022,” which contains “three essential one-of-a-kind signature pieces” of clothes she wore during France President Emmanuel Macron’s 2018 visit to the White House.
However, an analysis of blockchain data reveals that the account that minted the NFT delivered $473,000 in USDC to an address that subsequently changed some of the funds into 1816 Solana units. The funds were then transferred to another address, which eventually won the auction.
According to a statement provided to Motherboard, “The essence of Blockchain protocol is entirely transparent,” Trump remarked in her office. As a result, any transaction on the blockchain may be viewed by the whole public. The transaction was facilitated on behalf of a third-party buyer.”
NFTs and wash trading
The acts of Melania Trump and her staff in the crypto world are often referred to as “wash trading.”
In basic words, wash trading is frequently done to portray a misleading impression regarding an NFT asset. In wash trade, the vendor is the same individual as the buyer. The offenders transmit funds within wallets they manage to carry out the transaction and trick the people into believing there is a massive demand for the item.
Reports showed that NFT scammers had made at least $9m through wash trading.
Motherboard shared the blockchain data with pseudonymous blockchain gumshoe zachxbt, who released the following analysis showing that the NFT creator donated the crypto for the winning bid:
If we visit Solscan.io (a Solana Blockchain Explorer) we see Melania Trump’s Head of State Collection, 2022 NFT was created on 01/11/2022 by 39ui using Metaplex.
01/23/2022 – 39ui sends 473,657.64 USDC to 3CTu.
01/25/2022 – 3CTu swaps 166,900 USDC for 1,816.08 SOL using Raydium (Solana decentralized exchange). A few minutes later 3CTu sends 1,799.5 SOL to 497Z.
01/26/2022 – 497Z makes a bid on the NFT for 1,800 SOL and wins the auction.
Later that day the NFT creator 39ui claims the 1,800 SOL and sends it back to 3CTu.
01/29/2022 – 3CTu swaps 1,800 SOL for 168,313.24 USDC using Raydium.
As of 02/08/2022 all of the USDC sits in 3CTu’s account and the NFT in 497Z’s account.
Follow-up inquiries about the identity of the supposed mystery buyer, how the transaction was performed, if it was conducted in USD, and how much USD the buyer eventually paid were not answered by Melania Trump’s office.