Fair launch? † Former First Lady Melania Trump recently got into NFTs. She first put an initial collection on the Solana blockchain for sale, before repeating the operation last January. The arrival on the NFT stage had already generated a lot of reactions and the doubts surrounding the second auction will not dispel anything.
Melania accused of laundry trade by NFT
After a first collection that went on sale in late 2021, Melania Trump did it again by launching her second collection titled “Head of State”. It contains hat white (signed) she has worn at his first state dinneron the occasion of the reception by Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron in 2018† It is accompanied by a drawing by Marc-Antoine Coulon and a digital and animated version of the latter.
Posted on Jan 11, the auction was swept up at the end of the month by a lucky owner, delighted to get rid of 1800 SOL to get these 3 collector’s items. At the time this was equivalent to: $270,000 (compared to $178,000 today).
Since the blockchain collects all transactions, it is possible to have more details about this auction. From big doubts were therefore quickly expressed about the fairness of this auction. Doubts supported by the blockchain and its register very simple.
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NFT: Easy to Make but Less to Sell?
Launching an NFT collection is an exciting adventure for any content creator. The experience has recently been democratized thanks to a plethora of tools. the OpenSea market leader (on the Ethereum and Polygon blockchains), for example, has put a solution online that makes the mint free (the costs go to the buyer). But alternatives to the prohibitive cost ofETH have also surfaced on other layers 1 as Solana and his Solsea. But once online, the work must ‘meet its audience’.
However, after investigating and following up the addresses involved in Melania Trump’s auction, it appears that there is a connection between:
- the wallet that placed the auction on the Solana blockchain
- the wallet that won the auction for 1800 SOL
In summary, on January 25, the new owner received 1800 SOL froman address A† This address A has received the money itself via theB address who created the auctioned NFT. B address (thus representing the portfolio of the rights holder, who put the sale online and thus in theory the artist) 1800 SOL returned to address A shortly after the sale. A pixel is stuck.
Why would the artist refund the full amount he just received? Even more for the buyer? This would amount to an NFT airdrop, but then why go through an auction and complicate the task?
Doubt is allowed
Cited by Vice, the expert and researcher specializing in blockchain transactions, zachxbt verified the transactions. It’s hard to be categorical and definitive about a potential laundry trade as Investigator 3.0 points out:
† Since the money used for the purchase was provided by the creator of the NFT and then returned to an address associated with the creator of the NFT. It is possible that the actual buyer is not familiar with cryptos and sent the money to Melania’s team to buy by proxy. Not impossible, but a strange request. †
You will have understood that there are great doubts about this purchase of NFT, but it is impossible to be affirmative. Especially since the practice of laundry trade it too is becoming more democratic, even if in practice it only benefits from a very small number of highly competent players, as evidenced by the latest Chainalysis report on NFTs.
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