Trump Digital Trading Cards might just be the silliest NFTs of 2022

2022 was not a good year for cryptocurrency.

“Crypto winter” is in full swing now after a series of unfortunate but not unexpected events: the collapse of the so-called stablecoin Terra, the bankruptcy of major crypto exchange FTX, and the failure of multiple crypto lenders like Celsius. It seems the whole market is basically in turmoil. 

And, of course, all this market uncertainty has hit NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, too. For example, the biggest NFT brand, Bored Ape Yacht Club, is now trading down 80 percent from its peak value just eight months ago. 

But that’s not the only thing hurting NFTs. Many online communities have come out strongly against the idea of tokenizing everything on the blockchain, effectively turning their favorite brands and hobbies into speculative assets. 

Yet, some brands are still buying into the NFT-hype. And Mashable couldn’t help but take a look back at some of the more bizarre ones from this past year.

Donald Trump Digital Trading Cards

Getting in at number one on the list (and just under the wire, too) is the 45th president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

In the final weeks of 2022, Trump posted on his social network, Truth Social, that he had a major announcement to make on Dec. 15. His supporters all speculated that it had to be something big for Trump to tease such an announcement. Dilbert comics creator Scott Adams guessed that since Trump had already announced his 2024 presidential campaign, this big reveal could be his VP pick announcement.

Low and behold, Dec. 15 came and Trump announced…an NFT collection called: Trump Digital Trading Cards.

And it was great timing, too! Smack dab in the middle of the biggest crypto downturn in years, Donald Trump has decided to enter into the NFT market.

The Trump card collection includes 45,000 NFT pieces consisting of badly photoshopped portrayals of the former president as a superhero and a professional football player, as well as riding an elephant, and much more. Priced at $99 each, the Trump NFT collection includes a chance to win prizes such as a dinner with Trump, a group Zoom call with Trump, or “autographed memorabilia.” If someone buys 45 NFTs — yes, $4,500 worth of NFTs — they receive a guaranteed ticket to a Trump gala event in Florida.

The whole thing is very weird and poorly timed, but once you see the infomercial Trump released when announcing the NFTs, you’ll find that it’s very on brand for Trump, too.

Starbucks’ Loyalty Program (now with Web3!)

Coffee giant Starbucks has long offered rewards to its customers via its successful loyalty program. It’s fairly simple: Customers download an app and get exclusive offers, as well as earn food and drink rewards based on their purchases.

Then Starbucks decided to experiment with a new loyalty program…powered by NFTs.

The coffee chain started rolling out its Web3 rewards program, called Starbucks Odyssey, in early December. The new program on the Polygon blockchain appears to mostly gamify the old, already existing program. Instead of just buying your favorite drink and earning rewards, Starbucks wants customers to go on “journeys” and accept challenges from the company. For example, users can earn NFTs by going to a new Starbucks location that they haven’t previously visited. These NFTs act as “stamps” and each stamp has a certain number of points associated with it. Users can earn more points by completing challenges which give them additional NFTs or by trading NFTs on the aftermarket.

Starbucks has not yet divulged just how many users are currently beta testing the program, but it did share that there was “unprecedented interest” in Starbucks Odyssey.

Why just passively buy your morning coffee on your way to work when you can spend your day completing challenges and then speculatively trade NFTs on the crypto markets in order to earn that free latte? 

But, really, the most incredible NFT-related Starbucks moment of the year came in April. During a time when unionization campaigns were spreading across Starbucks locations nationwide, CEO Howard Schultz attempted to rally his employees during a company-wide meeting. Right there, before a live and livestream-viewing audience, Schultz excitedly announced that Starbucks was looking into entering the NFT space. His audience — the workers at his company — looked like they couldn’t have cared less.

NFTs “R” Us?

Who doesn’t remember Toys “R” Us?

If you’re reading this, it’s possible you have fond memories of going there yourself as a kid. It was once the biggest toy store chain in the United States.

Then in 2017, Toys “R” Us declared bankruptcy. Stores closed. In fact, some of the biggest Toys “R” Us locations actually still remain empty to this day. The company and its beloved mascot “Geoffrey the Giraffe” all but disappeared in the U.S. for a while. There were attempts to bring the brand back as new management companies opened up seasonal locations for the holidays over the years. A deal was finally made with Macy’s to basically open up toy sections with the Toys “R” Us name within its department stores.

Oh yeah, and there’s Toys “R” Us NFTs now, too.

Toys “R” Us began selling 10,000 NFTs of digital animated versions of Geoffrey the Giraffe toys that are apparently “inspired” by physical toys available in the company’s stores. According to the official website for the Solana-based NFTs, all seem to have sold out.

Who is the market for NFTs, again essentially speculative volatile assets, from a toy store?

“I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys “R” Us kid,” went the lyrics to the earworm tune that was the Toys “R” Us theme song. So perhaps this was more a nostalgia play, trying to hook in those adult fans of the toy store who have fond memories running down the aisles when they were a kid. 

Still, the hook here, if not for pure speculation, includes exclusive discounts, in-store experiences, and events for NFT holders. As one Twitter user discovered when inquiring about the NFTs at a physical retail location, Toys “R” Us employees aren’t aware of the program.

NFT sharks doo-doo, doo-doo

One can buy that Toys “R” Us NFTs are for adults looking to reminisce about good times at their favorite childhood toy store. But what’s the deal with these Baby Shark NFTs?