In brief

  • Former U.S. first lady Melania Trump is releasing NFTs on Solana.
  • A Solana Labs representative tells Decrypt that it wasn’t a “Solana-led initiative."

The benefit of a permissionless, public blockchain network is that anyone can build on it—but such an open approach means creators and projects can potentially bring controversy or notoriety along with them.

Solana's creators might be feeling some heat today after Melania Trump, former First Lady of the United States, revealed her first NFT collection on the network. Trump announced her plans this morning, and soon after, a Solana Labs representative reached out to Decrypt to clarify that it isn’t responsible for the project coming to its network.

“I wanted to inform you, to avoid any confusion, that her choice to use the Solana blockchain was completely organic, and this project is not part of any Solana-led initiative,” the representative told Decrypt in a statement.

Solana Labs represents the core team building the blockchain ecosystem, including the original founders of the platform. The Solana Foundation, meanwhile, was announced in June 2020, and Solana Labs transferred over all IP and a considerable amount of SOL cryptocurrency to the foundation to support its long-term development.

Trump’s NFT, a painting called “Melania’s Vision” (seen below) by artist Marc-Antoine Coulon, is available through her website from today through December 31, and sells for a price of 1 SOL—currently worth about $185.

Melania Trump's first NFT, "Melania's Vision"

She plans to release additional NFT collectibles in the future, as well as host an auction on January 11, 2022 that includes both digital and physical artwork, as well as an unspecified “physical one-of-a-kind accessory.” An NFT acts like a blockchain-backed receipt for a unique digital item, including images, video files, and video game items.

According to Trump’s statement, her NFT platform is “powered by Parler,” a social networking service that has gained favor amongst far-right conservatives and extremists. Parler was removed from various app stores and marketplaces following the January 6 insurrection at the United States Capitol. MoonPay is handling credit card payments for Trump’s NFT platform.

Trump said that the NFT initiative will support her Be Best public awareness campaign, and that she will donate an unspecified portion of proceeds from the NFT sale to “assist children aging out of the foster care system.”