In December 2021, Donald Trump announced plans to launch a series of digital trading cards as NFTs (non-fungible tokens) featuring himself and other conservative figures. However, the project sparked immediate controversy and ultimately never came to fruition.
Reviewing what is known about Trump’s attempted NFT launch provides insights into the challenges of his post-presidency business ventures.
While in office, Trump displayed little involvement with cryptocurrencies or blockchain technology. Upon leaving office, Trump moved to capitalize on the NFT craze as crypto asset values soared in 2021. He announced a partnership with NFT platform Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC) to create and sell 45,000 NFT trading cards . But the project ran aground almost immediately amid questions about its financing and political implications.
In this article, we review what happened with Donald Trump’s NFT trading card venture and why it failed to progress beyond its initial announcement.
Original Plan and Offering
Trump outlined ambitious plans for the NFT collection in partnership with DWAC :
- 45,000 total digital cards would be created featuring Trump’s photo along with other images and political slogans.
- The cards would be sold in random assorted packs with different rarities and values.
- Prices started at $99 for a pack of two NFT cards selected at random.
- DWAC said secondary sales could reach into the thousands of dollars for high value cards.
The offering essentially sought to create a political fantasy football experience around prominent conservatives.
Intended Purpose and Appeal
The NFT cards were aimed to capitalize on Trump’s political brand and MAGA supporters :
- Supporter collection and trading of the cards would help fundraise for Trump’s political action committees.
- Collectors could potentially profit from resales on NFT marketplaces.
- The trading card model mimicked successful NFT projects like NBA Top Shot and Bored Ape Yacht Club.
Trump likely saw NFTs as a innovative way to monetize his base beyond conventional merchandising.
Immediate Political and Legal Questions
However, Trump’s plans quickly raised ethical and legal concerns :
- Watchdog groups argued the undefined nature of the fundraiser and financing arrangements created accountability issues.
- Marketing NFTs of political figures risked running afoul of Federal Election Commission (FEC) regulations.
- Previous Trump promotional ploys like multilevel marketing vitamin schemes had come under close regulatory scrutiny.
These warning signs turned the launch into a political and legal liability.
Public Reactions and Media Coverage
The NFT announcement also generated an overall negative public response :
- Trump supporters showed limited enthusiasm for or understanding of NFTs as an asset class.
- The project was lampooned as an attempt to cash in on a fad already past its peak in early 2022.
- Art critics panned the uninspired design of the NFT art itself.
- The cards were not integrated with leading NFT marketplaces like OpenSea.
Lacking a supportive community or buzz, the cards failed to gain sales momentum.
Development and Launch Stalls
Within weeks of the NFT project’s unveiling, concrete signs of trouble emerged:
- In January 2022, DWAC revealed the SEC was investigating the NFT fundraising plans .
- By Spring 2022, no launch timeline had been announced and the project appeared abandoned.
- In summer 2022, DWAC referenced transitioning the NFT project to a partner .
DWAC likely deemed the controversial NFTs presented more risk and liability than potential reward.
Ongoing Questions Before Revival
If the NFT cards eventually launch through a different platform, key unanswered questions still remain:
- Will SEC concerns around political fundraising be resolved?
- Can a compelling economic value proposition be articulated given high minting and transaction fees?
- Will Trump supporters buy in at needed volumes to sustain a trading ecosystem?
- How will proceeds be transparently tracked and reported?
Addressing these open issues will determine if Trump’s NFT vision remains viable.
Donald Trump’s attempt to leverage the NFT phenomenon to his political advantage quickly ran aground amid amplified scrutiny and doubts around purpose. The episode reflected failed oversight preparing a half-formed concept still working through fundraising legality and platform logistics.
While perhaps ahead of the curve in exploring digital assets, Trump’s hasty rollouts require discipline to properly organize if they are to progress beyond PR stunts. With NFT skepticism already growing in 2023, resurrecting the troubled cards may prove challenging unless meticulously orchestrated to align incentives and engender organic community buy-in.
Regardless of one’s stance on Trump, the NFT project offers lessons in carefully scaffolding innovation so bold vision is paired with meticulous execution.
Hi y’all, I’m Caroline Webster, your proud Texan source for everything related to our 45th president, Donald Trump, and the GOP.
Along with my husband, Bill, I run Trump Scoop, born out of our ranch in the Lone Star State, offering insightful and unbiased commentary on conservative politics.
With a degree in Political Science and years immersed in local politics, my aim is to keep our readers informed and connected.
For me, it’s not just about delivering news—it’s about standing up for our values and the spirit of American patriotism.