Former President, Donald J. Trump has moved on to a new venture. Tantalizing followers on his Truth Social app with news of a major announcement, the reveal came on Thursday, December 15: consumers can now access a website to purchase NFTs, or digital images of Trump, for the starting price of $99.00. The digital trading cards show Trump's head superimposed on powerful images, such as a cowboy, an astronaut, an elephant rider and a superhero shooting lasers from his eyes.
NFT stands for a non-fungible token. Each NFT has a unique identification code and metadata that establishes ownership and helps to create a contrived scarcity which increases value. It is a way of collecting digital art. NFT's exist on a blockchain and cannot be duplicated. Initially, collectors lunged at the products as they are less likely to fall victim to fraud; however, enthusiasm for NFTs has cooled considerably in recent months.
In a Truth Social post, he wrote: "My official Donald Trump Digital Trading Card collection is here! These limited edition cards feature amazing ART of my Life & Career! Collect all of your favorite Trump Digital Trading Cards, very much like a baseball card, but hopefully much more exciting." He then reminded his audience that they "would make a great Christmas gift." The website prompts viewers to "instantly become part of a new league of collectors" by filling in their email address and paying via credit card.
Once the card is bought, purchasers are automatically entered into sweepstakes for "thousands of incredible prizes" and to "meet the one and only #45." Some of the prizes include having dinner with Trump, a meet-and-greet cocktail affair at Trump's Mar-A-Lago estate, a Zoom call from the former president, hand-signed memorabilia, and a one-on-one meeting with Trump where you can, according to the website, "Ask all the questions you want and get all the advice you can handle from the man that has changed business and America."
Critics of the cards point out that the art and graphic execution of the cards is sophomoric and some of the clothing Trump is depicted wearing is taken directly from clothing catalogs and may be subject to copyright infringement.
Despite criticism, the undertaking has been successful: 45,000 of the digital cards were sold out in only a few hours. The former-president-turned-politician's cards are now being traded on the NFT marketplace, OpenSea, with starting bids more than double the initial 99.00.
Neither Trump himself nor the Trump Organization are connected to the cards. Trump's likeness is licensed via a company called NFT International LLC. A search in public data reveals that NFT Internations LLC is based in a UPS store located in a Park City, Utah shopping mall, situated between an Asian restaurant and a vape shop. NFT INT LLC purchased rights to Trump’s image from another obscure company called CIC Digital.
In a thread on Twitter, Ken Bensinger of the NY Times claims CIC Digital is a company formed by former Trump Advisor, Nick Luna, and current Trump Lawyer, John Marion.
Comments / 23