After lots of hype that should surprise nobody about Donald Trump, the former U.S. president and media personality unveiled his very own collection of NFTs. These are Non-fungible token digital trading card images.
Many of these are, to say the least, downright amusing in their level of kitsch. The cards essentially feature Trump in a whole range of cosplay-like poses and clothes.
These include fairly banal images of Trump in an open wilderness range, but dressed like a cowboy or sheriff, and other more exotic images of Trump dressed as some sort of superman-type superhero or stripping off his suit to reveal superhero tights (while shooting fire from his eyes. Yes, fire).
Donald Trump just dropped an nft collection
Yes it’s real 🤣pic.twitter.com/Js4tkfCN6w
— Crypto Tea (@CryptoTea_) December 15, 2022
So yeah, they’re certainly funny, regardless of your political affiliation. Indeed, Trump himself hasn’t clearly connected this NFT drop to any specific political project. Instead, they seem to be part of a more general attempt for the ex-president/real estate developer/ celebrity oddball to keep himself relevant in new contexts.
In fact, the business entity that released the cards specifically states:
“These Digital Trading Cards are not political and have nothing to do with any political campaign. NFT INT LLC is not owned, managed or controlled by Donald J. Trump, The Trump Organization, CIC Digital LLC or any of their respective principals or affiliates,”
NFT INT LLC also explains, NFT INT LLC uses Donald J. Trump’s name, likeness and image under paid license from CIC Digital LLC, which license may be terminated or revoked according to its terms.”
Either way, the NFTs started selling for $99 a pop on sites such as the NFT platform OpenSea. Also, before you laugh at any of this, it’s worth noting that the first drop of the digital cards sold out in less than a day.
All of them are now going for a new floor price that’s over twice as high as their release price. More recently, they were auctioning for 0.350 ETH (ether, a very popular type of cryptocurrency), or roughly $415, and the total trading volume for the cards has reached over $7.4 million dollars.
Some of the 1000 or so rarer editions of the total 45,000 tokens released by Trump’s collaborators are even selling for as much as 6 ETH ($7081) or more on OpenSea.
Many non-famous photographers could only wish their work leaped up in price or sold out so quickly. I myself have tried my own hand at selling my photographic work as NFTs, and haven’t uh, quite reached those sales numbers.
Whether Trump’s numbers are a legitimate case of surging organic demand or an example of wash trading at work, it’s hard to say.
Another curious thing about the Trump NFTs is that some of them seem to have been created by digitally pasting Trump’s head over nearly unedited stock images sold under license on sites like Shutterstock.
This seems to apply to a number of the cowboy-like NFT images of Trump and it’s also the case for one with a Space Force astronaut with the former president’s head.
Whether some of these brands and stock image owners consented to Trump using photos of their outfits for his own strange new commercial venture, we don’t know. Banded hasn’t yet responded to an attempt to contact them about the issue.
One other odd detail in this new escapade of Trump weirdness is that NFT INT LLC is based out of a strip mall in Utah, where it presumably shares a real, physical office space with dry cleaners, strip restaurants and a UPS shipping center. The Salt Lake Tribune investigated that particular angle and what it uncovered is worth a read.
For those of you who aren’t clear on what NFTs are, they essentially represent a sort of non-copiable, unique cryptographic token that can be assigned to digital or even physical goods, representing them on a specific cryptocurrency blockchain.
Digital photos, digital art of any kind, and all sorts of assets can be “converted” to NFT versions of themselves and sold on online platforms where NFTs are auctioned. Many photographers also sell their artwork on major platforms like OpenSea.
Trump is essentially doing the same with these pieces of fairly simple digital art. His fame certainly helps drive attention and possible buyers though.