By Arun Kumar Shrivastav
Former Slovenian model Melania Knauss who became Melania Trump after her marriage to Donald Trump in 2004 has been a notoriously private person as the First Lady of the United States. After leaving the White House in January this year, Melania has been more reclusive. Nevertheless, her social media pages are regularly updated, but with only low-key events that don’t generate eyeballs.
However, as the year is drawing to its end and the United States is all set to embark on the longest holiday from Christmas to the first week of the New Year – the only time Elon Musk takes a leave from his 16-hour 350-day gruelling work schedule – Melania has made news that even Elon Musk may find noteworthy.
Melania has launched her NFT titled “Melania’s Vision”, featuring watercolour by Marc-Antoine Coulon and her voiceover. The NFT will also feature Melania’s famed cobalt blue eyes, said an official statement released on social media on her behalf on December 16.
The NFTs are available at her personal website. A husky pair of watercolour eyes of the former First Lady features as the first item right on the home page. Priced at 1 SOL, the native coin of the Solana network currently trading in the range of $170-180, these NFTs are available for purchase between December 16 -31. Going forward, auctions of one-of-a-kind pieces of historical importance are expected in January 2022.
Elon Musk’s now “semi-separated” girlfriend, the Canadian singer-musician, Claire Elise Boucher, who goes by the popular name Grimes had hit the celebrity chart with her NFT sales worth $6 million in March 2021. And, Musk’s Tesla invested $1.5 billion in bitcoin in early February that catapulted and kept the crypto market on a high note throughout the year, which saw Solana (SOL) appreciating 3500% in year to year in August 2021.
Solana is also the fastest blockchain network available at the moment capable of processing 65,000 transactions per second. Together with a few other networks, Solana is popularly dubbed as Ethereum Killer, given its potential to compete and outperform Ethereum, the de-facto network that supports the $3 trillion cryptocurrency market.
In contrast, Elon Musk is a fan of meme coins that do not bring any intrinsic value to the table but are popped up and hyped by super rich investors such as Musk. Nothing else can explain his fascination with Shiba Inu (the Japanese dog breed)-themed coins such as Dogecoin and Shiba Inu.
With Melania taking a full-plunge in the NFT pool and going with a network that is smartest, fastest, and glowing-hot on the markets, Melania may give Musk a run for his money. Musk’ Tesla, and most of his other businesses, doesn’t spend money on advertising. His brands ride on his popularity, such as 63 million followers on Twitter, to be recognized globally.
But this column is not on Musk and our intention is not to show the ‘Time’s Person of Year 2021’ in poor light. But Melania’s entry into the crypto sphere may make Musk rethink his social media strategy that largely depends on one-liner trolls and memes crafted on the porcelain seat.
In the latest troll, Musk made fun of Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin who had earlier apologised for attending a late-night party where she was seen drinking Corona beer. Musk’s meme was spot-on as it shows a man whispering into the ears of a lady: what do you do?
To which, she replies I am the prime minister of Finland! The man is shocked! The 36-year-old leader is at the centre of global outcry for neglecting Corona protocol with a disdain accentuated by her drinking Corona brand beer.
Former US president Donald Trump has been a staunch critic of cryptocurrency and Melania turning to NFT and crypto space underscores a moment of truth in the Trump family.
If you think NFT is still a distant concept and has not reached our continent, check your facts again. Indian film superstar Amitabh Bachchan launched his NFT in the first week of November and the auctions ran up to Diwali.
In the four days, digital collectibles mostly vintage posters and materials related to his career and stardom saw the bids reach to $966,000 (Rs 17.8 crore). The recital of his father Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s Madhushala was auctioned for an eye-popping $756,000.
After the auction, the 79-year-old actor said on Twitter, “In this world of digitisation, NFTs have opened a new realm of opportunities to engage with my fans even more than before. The successful auction of my NFTs, some of the most treasured and personal moments of my life and career were so well received and invested in by my supporters.”
Others from the Indian film industry who are testing the NFT waters include Sunny Leone, Salman Khan, Kamal Hassan, Rajnikanth, and Manish Malhotra. (IPA Service)