Earlier in the week, Donald Trump teased a “major announcement” on Truth Social, the platform he took to after being banned from Twitter last year. Some speculated Trump would be announcing his running mate for the 2024 presidential election, or some other key detail for his campaign. The news turned out to be a disappointment even to some of Trump’s supporters: A Trump-themed NFT collection.
“My official Donald Trump Digital Trading Card collection is here!” he posted on Thursday. Trump never used the abbreviation “NFT” in the post, but that’s indeed what the “digital trading cards” are: 45,000 NFTs on the Polygon blockchain, priced at $99 each.
Though the NFTs were widely mocked by both Trump supporters and detractors alike, all 45,000 sold out in around 12 hours, according to OpenSea data. At $99 each, that means $4.45 million has been raised. The collection’s creators also recieve 10% of every sale on secondary markets like OpenSea. Thus far traders have spent $406,000 (320 ether) buying and selling the NFTs on OpenSea. Who that money goes to and how it’s used remains a mystery.
NFT INT, the company behind the collection, says on its site that the money raised won’t be funneled into Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign. A blurb on its site states that NFT INT LLC is not owned by Trump or any of his organizations, and that Trump himself isn’t actually behind the collection. Instead, Trump licensed his name, image and likeness for the project.
Even if the money being raised by NFT INT isn’t funding Trump’s 2024 campaign, however, the money Trump makes through licensing his name and likeness may.
NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, are tokens on a blockchain that prove ownership of a digital asset. They are to digital goods what a deed is to a house. The first NFT collections date back to 2017, but the market exploded last year as a powerful wave of speculation drove prices up to stunning levels. The most famous collection, The Bored Ape Yacht Club, launched at around $250 and peaked in price earlier this year at $400,000 a pop.
Yet economic uncertainty and rising interest rates have greatly dampened excitement. Trading volume on OpenSea, the biggest market for such wares, hit $250 million last month — compared with $2.5 billion in May. Trump’s foray into NFTs follows his wife Melania’s but comes at a much less auspicious time.
Trump described the art as “very much like a baseball card, but hopefully much more exciting.” Buying a Trump NFT enters you into a raffle to win a number of prizes, including a one-on-one meeting with Trump at Mar-a-Lago. Those who purchase over 45 of the cards automatically get to meet the former president at a gala dinner in Florida. Thus far 202 people have more than 45 of the NFTs in their digital wallet, according to Dune data.