Now, “phygital” NFT collections have a new biggest fan: Donald J. Trump.
On Tuesday, Trump announced his third NFT collection, which, like the last two, features a buffed up, thinned out version of the former president performing a variety of tasks, from traversing fields on horseback to entering space as a cyborg.
Unlike the previous two trading card collections, though, which were completely digital, Tuesday’s set features a very unique physical perk: collectors who purchase at least 47 of Trump’s newest trading cards (at $99 a piece) will also receive a tiny, little piece of the navy suit he wore while having his mugshot taken earlier this fall in Georgia, while being booked for allegedly violating state racketeering laws in efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
There are reportedly 2,024 such fabric swatches up for grabs, plus a further 225 pieces of “suit and tie” from the same outfit that are only available to buyers of over 100 “Mugshot Edition” Trump cards. You’d effectively need to buy nearly all 100,000 of the latest NFTs to collect Trump’s entire mugshot-day suit, which would only run you about $10 million or so.
While Trump’s newest venture certainly makes for a uniquely colorful example, the concept of tying NFTs to physical collectibles is nothing new. In the last year, digital fashion startups and dominant fashion houses alike have gone all-in on tying collectible NFTs to physical objects such as shoes and luggage.
This fusion of innovative digital collectibles with more tangible, traditional perks and products has been popularized with the term “phygital”—a word despised by many in the digital fashion industry that nonetheless has yet to be usurped by anything stickier.
Increasingly, phygital collections have become a safer bet for mainstream brands attempting to attract existing customers who may not see the value in exclusively virtual items. Whereas many fashion houses first dipped their toes into crypto via metaverse activations and one-off digital collectibles during the NFT frenzy of 2021, the crypto bear market cratered enthusiasm for such experiments, turning major brands back to what they knew best: limited drops of exclusive items, with some on-chain flair sprinkled on top.
It would appear that Trump is now taking a page out of Louis Vuitton’s book, by attempting to entice his fans with something allegiant worshippers of a political leader understand better than blockchain networks and on-chain tokens: pieces of stuff that touched their idol’s body. He’s already done the celeb NFT thing along with tokens tied to real-world perks; now he’s augmenting all of that with physical goodies for die-hard fans.
It’s unclear whether that tactic will prove successful. Just hours after Trump announced his new phygital collectibles series, his first two NFT trading card collections cratered by 30% and 41% in floor price, respectively, according to NFT Price Floor.
Perhaps Trump just hasn’t found the right NFT trend to glom on to yet. Should he find himself behind bars in the coming months, the embattled politician could partner with Mattel to release a line of NFT-backed action figures depicting him engaged in a range of jailyard activities. At least for now, the NFT market is loving those sorts of merchandise collabs.
Edited by Andrew Hayward