A filing submitted to the Office of Government Ethics has revealed that Donald Trump holds between $250,001 and $500,000 in Ether, the second-most-popular cryptocurrency by market cap, in an unspecified digital wallet. The crypto holdings, which could include other tokens, are likely connected to sales of a line of $99 NFTs that featured his image.
The NFTs that showed the former president in different poses and wearing different costumes, including those of a superhero and an astronaut, were derided on social media for their crude art, but that criticism didn’t stand in the way of their surprising success.
The first release of the NFTs, which Trump plugged as a “major announcement” on his social media website Truth Social, sold out in one day, netting about $4.4 million for NFT INT LLC, the company facilitating the sale. Although the value of Trump’s NFTs cratered just a month after their release, news of his indictment in March sent prices soaring 400% in a day.
It was a money laundering scheme. Trump’s NFT digital trading cards have plunged in value by 98% since Trump first sold them three weeks ago. pic.twitter.com/Qk2MPeEH4r
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) January 3, 2023
In April, after being allowed back on Instagram after a two-year ban, Trump announced a second set of NFTs that also sold out. For licensing his image to NFT INT LC, Trump also received at least $297,839, according to the filing with the Office of Government Ethics. His campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Despite warmly embracing NFTs, Trump has criticized crypto in the past. In June 2021, the former president called Bitcoin a scam, adding, “I don’t like it because it’s another currency competing against the dollar,” according to BBC News. He later said, in an interview with Fox Business, crypto generally was “a very dangerous thing.”
Trump’s competitors for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination have been more positive toward cryptocurrencies. At a campaign event last month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he wanted the federal government to be more accepting of them.
“We are going to allow Americans to invest in things like Bitcoin and cryptocurrency,” he said, according to Forbes. Another candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy, has said he supports Bitcoin because of its decentralization, adding that it is “…a source of competition to the existing system.”