‘Grift of the week’: Melania Trump criticised for launching NFT venture, starting with painting of her eyes

Portions of the sale proceeds will go to help children exiting foster care find jobs

Graig Graziosi
Thursday 16 December 2021 16:58
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Related video: What is an NFT?

Former First Lady Melania Trump has announced her plans to continue her Be Best campaign by selling an NFT of her eyes.

On Thursday, "The Office of Melania Trump" announced in a statement that the former First Lady was starting an NFT "platform, which will release NFTs in regular intervals" on her website.

"I am proud to announce my new NFT endeavour, which embodies my passion for the arts, and will support my ongoing commitment to children through my Be Best initiative," Ms Trump said in a statement. "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 first NFT Ms Trump will release is called "Melania's Vision," which is essentially a watercolour painting of the former First Lady's eyes and eyebrows.

Ms Trump's website claims the NFT provides "the collector with an amulet to inspire." The NFT will cost 1 SOL (approximately $150) to purchase and will use the Solana blockchain, powered by right-wing social media platform Parler.

It's unclear exactly what value investors in the NFT are getting for their money. Generally NFT collectors purchase a token of ownership that is stored on the blockchain, connecting them to a photo or other image that essentially acts as an avatar for their investment. The collector then hopes the token's value will appreciate and eventually attract interested buyers.

On Ms Trump's NFT platform, the tokens will all be linked to the same image. While her press release does state that the digital artwork is "limited-edition," it does not say how many tokens will be available during the half-month sale period beginning on 16 December and ending 31 December.

Naturally, the announcement that Ms Trump was stepping into the already controversial world of NFT trading fuelled plenty of sceptical reactions on social media.

On Twitter, Axios fintech reporter Ryan Lawler called the move “the grift of the week”.

Not all the feedback was critical, however. Many crypto enthusiasts celebrated the announcement as a sign that NFTs had gone “mainstream” and that the tokens were thriving.

“Everyone is getting in on the #NFT craze for raising money. Glad to see it going to a good cause,” a Twitter user with the handle CryptoBro4 wrote.

According to the press release, "a portion of the proceeds" from the NFT sale will "assist children aging out of the foster care system by way of economic empowerment and with expanded access to resources needed to excel in the fields of computer science and technology."

"Excited for this new venture, which combines my passion for art and commitment to helping our Nation’s children fulfill their own unique American Dream," Ms Trump tweeted.

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