Former First Lady Melania Trump's online hat auction was upended after the value of cryptocurrencies plummeted, dealing a heavy blow to investors worldwide.
Trump had earlier announced she'd be auctioning off a hat for a starting bid of $250,000 and her personal website, MelaniaTrump.com, had only allowed bids to be made in cryptocurrency, a decision that backfired after prices for several cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and Ethereum, cratered.
Her website had promised that the proceeds from the auction of her personal items, including the wide-brimmed white hat she'd worn to meet French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, during an April 2018 state visit, would "provide foster care children with access to computer science and technology education."
Reporters with The Washington Post checked the hat auction two days before its indeterminate ending time and found that the starting had dropped–and continued to fluctuate–around $155,916. Ahead of the crash, bids had exceeded $275,000.
The auction was no doubt affected by the crash because it only accepted bids in Solana (SOL), one of the hardest hit, whose blockchain experienced an outage Friday and Saturday.
The auction appeared to close early yesterday morning, with the hat going for $90,000 below the asking price.
News of the auction came as the Trump family faces heightened scrutiny and further financial troubles, just days after the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, in a court filing, accused the Trump family business of enaging in “fraudulent or misleading” practices by misrepresenting the value of its assets.
The news exposed the former First Lady and her family to significant mockery online.
The cryptocurrency crash has rippled all the way to Washington, where regulators, The Washington Post observed, have taken "a fractured approach to crypto."
The White House recently signaled that it will issue an executive order as part of the ongoing effort to set up government oversight of the new asset class, per a Bloomberg report.
While the cryptocurrency crash has spooked many average Americans, including those who'd profited from all-time highs in their value late last year. Still, many crypto-holders have made clear they have not lost faith after both the crypto and stock markets showed signs of stabilization following their respective swings.