Did Barron Trump Launch DJT Crypto With Martin Shkreli?

Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photos: Getty Images

During an X Spaces event earlier this week, Martin Shkreli claimed that he and Barron Trump are behind a mysterious new Trump-branded cryptocurrency. If you think this sounds like a Mad Libs about some of the most controversial topics of the 21st century, you’re not alone. But is it true? Let’s investigate.

A Trump-themed memecoin was registered on the Solana blockchain platform earlier this week. The coin’s value quickly shot up more than 385 percent, generating more than $363 million in trading volume, following rumors that Donald Trump’s 18-year-old son was behind it. As The New Republic explained, a hefty reward was offered to anyone who could figure out who was really responsible for the DJT token, which led convicted former hedge-fund manager Shkreli to speak up:

It wasn’t long before Arkham Intelligence, a data analytics firm, promised a $150 thousand bounty to anyone who discovered who was behind the asset. Within hours, blockchain sleuth ZachXBT posted a series of screenshots to X, formerly Twitter, claiming that he’d cracked it: The token was invented by the infamous “Pharma Bro” himself …

Shkreli sent a series of DMs to ZachXBT in which he claimed that he and Trump’s youngest son were behind the coin. “I have over 1000 pieces of evidence, I created it with Barron,” read one message.

Shkreli elaborated during a live X Space event on Wednesday, saying that he had originally been approached by a friend of Barron’s and that Trump’s son was on the 40-to-50-person team behind the coin.

The so-called Pharma Bro said he had formed a friendship with Barron and even advised him on where to go to college.

“We’re friends; he wants to make money,” Shkreli said during the event.

It’s unclear what’s actually going on here, and not just because the whole crypto world is fairly shady and confusing. Shkreli has yet to produce any of these “1,000 pieces of evidence” that prove Barron’s involvement. And he’s not the most trustworthy source: The former pharmaceuticals CEO was once dubbed the “most hated man in America” after jacking up the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000 percent; he was convicted of securities fraud in 2017 and served more than six years in federal prison.

Yet this is a pretty weird story to make up. While the office of Melania Trump quickly shot down a recent report that Barron would be a delegate to the Republican National Convention, it has yet to confirm or deny this far wilder story about the former president’s youngest. Both of Barron’s parents have dabbled in blockchain-based moneymaking schemes: Melania has released several NFT ornament collections, and Donald put out two batches of NFT trading cards. So perhaps Barron is just looking for a way to join the family business. DJT crypto certainly beats selling T-shirts emblazoned with his mug shot.

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