Earlier this week, former President Donald Trump teased that he would be making a big announcement. Well, today’s the day, and it turned out to be rather underwhelming. The big news is that Trump is selling digital art — known as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs — that feature him as a superhero.
“I’m doing my first official Donald J. Trump NFT collection right here and right now,” he said in a video accompanying the announcement. “They’re called Trump Digital Trading Cards. These cards feature some of the really incredible artwork pertaining to my life. You can collect your Trump Digital Cards just like a baseball card or other collectibles.”
“[They] are $99 … which doesn’t sound like very much for what you’re getting,” Trump concluded. “Buy one and you’ll be joining a very exclusive community.”
That’s right, for the low price of just $99, you can get a somehow unique and very special copy of this gorgeous, high-end, totally-not-photoshopped art that’s already publicly posted online where anyone can look at it and make copies of it.
If this sounds like a rip-off, that’s because it is. I have personally been offered significant sums of money to promote NFTs (I’m talking hundreds of dollars just for a tweet) and have declined because of the many red flags about these “products.” Apparently, Trump doesn’t care.
Additionally, the starting price of $99 isn’t exactly cheap. And, while Trump is touting these as some potentially valuable collectible like baseball cards, there’s no guarantee at all that they will hold any of the purchase value. Some of the most expensive NFTs of all time have later sold for an absolute pittance.
For example, an NFT of former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s first-ever tweet initially sold for $2.9 million. It later sold for $277. Not all NFTs lose their value like this, but enough do to merit some serious skepticism.
What’s more, many NFTs are not actually secure. Digital criminals stole more than $100 million worth of NFTs in 2021, according to the Guardian. This happened through everything from Instagram hacks to phishing schemes. Technology editor Alex Hern explains, “Simply creating a new digital asset with the same name and image as a high-value NFT means some can be fooled into accepting what looks like a ‘like-for-like’ swap, only to find they’ve been left with nothing.”
OK, so maybe Trump fans are getting low-quality digital art tokens with no actual guaranteed value or security. But what if this is just a way people are donating to support the MAGA movement, such as when a charity sends you a bumper sticker for your donation or other such symbolic exchanges?
Nope. According to the product website, the proceeds are not going to any political cause; they are literally just lining Trump’s personal pockets.
Ultimately, anyone choosing to purchase one of these Trump NFTs should know exactly what they are getting themselves into before doing so. And it just doesn’t reflect well on the president to see him taking advantage of his most loyal supporters to line his own pockets.