Crypto market collapse derails Melania’s hat auction

The former first lady is selling a hat she wore for the visit of Emmanuel Macron, amid huge volatility in the value of the digital currency

Tom Fenton
Wednesday 26 January 2022 15:25
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A Cryptocurrency collapse has played havoc with Melania Trump’s recent online auction, where the former first lady has been attempting to auction off an iconic hat of hers.

The hat in question was worn in 2018 when French President Emmanuel Macron visited the White House. However, the online auction in which it was due to be sold – as part of a package alongside an NFT and a watercolor – was massively impacted by one digital blockchain currency plummeting in value.

The three-piece package titled the ‘Head of State Collection, 2022’ was expected to open with a minimum bid of around the $250,000 mark, according to a news release directly from Ms Trump.

Bids for the white, broad-brimmed hat were only going to be accepted via the cryptocurrency Solana, also known as SOL, which had been trading at $170 per token earlier this month.

What followed in the second half of January was a crypto crash, with SOL being one of the worst affected currencies. Early on Wednesday morning, its value had sunk to as low as $95, severely denting Ms Trump’s ability to get a worthwhile bid for the hat.

“The one-of-a-kind NFT will be minted on Solana’s blockchain,” the website promoting the sale announced before it got underway.

According to The New York Times, only five bids appear to have been made since the auction started, with each of them hovering around the 1,800 Solana token mark. The paper adds that, as of early Wednesday morning, the final listed bid was worth around $170,000.

Solana certainly isn't the only cryptocurrency to have lost almost half of its value in the space of a week. The value of Bitcoin dropped to as low as $35,000 over the weekend, after previously topping out at $67,500 last November.

Melania Trump is auctioning the white hat she wore when she met French President, Emmanuel Macron.

Ethereum has been similarly affected by the so-called ‘Crypto winter’, after dropping below the $2000 mark for the first time since June 2021.

“This is just evidence that none of the cryptocurrency assets provide a good, stable enough means of payment,” said Dan Awrey, a Cornell University law professor who studies money and payment systems. “It is just too volatile.”

Ms Trump has claimed that “a portion” of the proceeds will be used to help provide children in foster care with access to educational programs focused on computer science and technology. Nevertheless, she is yet to state how much of the proceeds she will keep herself.

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