The much-discussed online auction of Melania Trump, wearing a hat she wore to the White House during a visit by President Emmanuel Macron of France in 2018, is becoming a potential victim of the cryptocurrency market crash.
Ms. Trump decided to hold an online auction that paired the white wide-brimmed hat with a watercolor of her wearing it, along with a virtual artwork called a nonfungible token or NFT, which features an animated version of her portraying the wearing a hat. hat.
The three-piece package, dubbed “Head of State Collection, 2022,” was intended to open with a minimum bid of approximately $250,000, according to a press release from Ms. Trump in early January announcing the sale. But bids were only accepted in the Solana blockchain’s cryptocurrency called SOL, which was trading at the time at a price of around $170 per token.
“The unique NFT will be minted on Solana’s blockchain,” boasted the website promoting the sale.
But in the weeks since then, SOL, along with most other cryptocurrencies, has experienced major drops in value. On the night before the auction closes on Tuesday, each SOL was worth approximately $95.
Only a few bids appeared to have been made on Ms. Trump’s items as of early Tuesday evening, and the dollar value of the highest bid was about $170,000, with the exact dollar value fluctuating along with the volatile crypto market.
The auction was set to close at 2:59 am on Wednesday. The winning bid could still be higher than the dollar value that Mrs. Trump had targeted. But it will assume a much lower opening bid, expressed in dollars, than she had stated.
Ms. Trump has said that “a portion” of the proceeds will be used to give children in foster care access to educational programs focused on computer science and technology. But she hasn’t said how much of the proceeds she will keep for herself.
Mrs. Trump could hold the Solana tokens and hope their value increases. Or the depreciation can continue, giving her an even smaller yield.
This is Ms. Trump’s second NFT sale since December. In the first, a limited-edition group of NFTs by the same French artist, Marc-Antoine Coulon, featured a virtual watercolor of Mrs. Trump’s eyes, titled “Melania’s Vision,” which sold for $150 each.
The deflated results show that while NFT-backed cryptocurrency auctions have become a magnet for celebrities — others who have jumped into the game include Justin Bieber, Lindsay Lohan and Snoop Dogg — it remains unclear whether the virtual currency system is reliable enough. is to be a profitable business.
“This is just proof that none of the cryptocurrency assets offer a good, stable enough means of payment,” said Dan Awrey, a Cornell University law professor who studies money and payment systems. “It’s just too volatile.”