Eric Trump pre-records his address to the Republican National Convention at the Mellon Auditorium on August 25, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Eric Trump, as executive vice president of the Trump Organization, likes to have his finger on the pulse of cutting-edge developments, especially when it comes to the use of his family’s name on products that could potentially make him more money.
So when he stumbled across “Trumpcoin” this week, he needed to get the word out there to his supporters.
“Fraud Alert,” he warned his 4 million Twitter followers. “It has come to our attention that someone is promoting a crypto currency called ‘TrumpCoin’ (Symbol ‘TRUMP’). This has NOTHING to do with our family, we do not authorize the use and we are in no way affiliated with this group. Legal action will be taken.”
Unfortunately for Eric, the Trumpcoin token has been out there for six years; it launched in 2016, before his father became president.
The creators of the coin claim to honor former President Donald Trump, billing it as “the #1 Patriot Cryptocurrency”—whatever that means.
When VICE News asked the creators of the coin who they were, the person responding to a Trumpcoin email address declined several times to identify themselves, which isn’t unusual for those involved in the cryptocurrency world.
The creators claim to have thousands of people who are involved in their community, by either buying, trading, or holding Trumpcoins, half of whom are outside the U.S. When VICE News asked what makes them different from the thousands of other digital tokens now available, they said: “Our pure conservative user base is what separates us from all other cryptos on the planet.”
On the Trumpcoin website, the founders expand on who Trumpcoin is for:
“The TrumpCoin Patriot loves Freedom, God, Family and feels a sense of pride in contributing to society. They stand up against corruption, support integrity, preserve our individual rights in a free society and respect those flags around the world that represent freedom. We stand firm against leftist groups and intimidation. Patriots have sacrificed their time, energies, careers, families and their lives for the good of all people.”
Of course, this word salad of right-wing talking points means absolutely nothing, and provides zero insight into how a cryptocurrency with no inherent value will achieve any of these goals.
But after six years operating in the shadows, the creators have what they’ve been waiting for: the attention of the Trump family.
“We ask Eric Trump to continue direct communication with us so he can understand our background and introduce the Trump organization to the Army of supporters waiting for this moment of recognition,” the creators wrote in a statement posted on the company’s website after Eric Trump’s tweet.
On the group’s Telegram channel, which has seen an influx of new members in the wake of the tweet, the group went further, posting a Direct Message Eric Trump had sent them, seeking a contact name and number for someone involved in Trumpcoin.
Asked if they have had any further conversations with the second oldest Trump son, the creators responded: “He has not responded since posting the screenshot so he may not have liked that too much.”
It may also have something to do with the fact that the former president has been highly critical of cryptocurrencies, last year calling Bitcoin “a scam against the dollar.”
After its introduction in 2016, Trumpcoin reached its peak in January 2018 with a value of $1.67 per coin. Today the coin is trading for just over 25 cents, an 85% drop in value, according to cryptocurrency price-tracking site CoinMarketCap.
“The price of all cryptocurrency is very volatile. We are no exception; like all cryptocurrencies, we rise and fall with supply/demand and accessibility,” the coin’s creators told VICE News, when asked why no one wanted to seem to buy their coin.
But some of those involved with the coin believe Eric Trump’s silence is the result of his realization that he made a mistake, believing that Trumpcoin was another one of the dozens (possibly hundreds) of companies shilling physical gold and silver coins that are sold under the assumption that their value will rise in the near future–which they won’t.
“With so many people blurring the lines between the physical coins and true cryptocurrency, Eric might have done the same thing,” an admin of the Trumpcoin Telegram channel called Vegas James, wrote. “Now he may have realized his public blunder, and it’s easier to just drop it after making a fool of yourself.”
Others are speculating that Eric’s seemingly sudden realization that Trumpcoin exists indicates he’s losing a lot of money investing in the coin itself. Or, some think, he’s investigating the launch of an official Trump-branded cryptocurrency that could be used to purchase a Trump steak, washed down by a nice bottle of Trump wine, or—if like the former president you don’t drink alcohol—a bottle of Trump water.
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