You're not going to believe this, but one of the main men of the QAnon movement is grifting people. That's right: Ron Watkins is turning his tweets into NFTs. The man is thought to be behind the QAnon character that has swept up millions of people into a cult-like movement is auctioning off screenshots of several of his tweets that were retweeted by Donald Trump — you know, prior to both of them getting banned from Twitter for their role in encouraging an attempted coup. The money, Watkins says, will go toward "a secret project" that he says "will help save America," and definitely won't just be used to cover his rent, if that's what you're thinking.
Watkins put the first of the screengrabs up for auction Monday on OpenSea, a platform where users can bid on pieces of digital art using the cryptocurrency Ethereum. The tweet in question is one that he sent out on Jan. 3, just days before the riot at the Capitol, which states: "If you are planning to attend peaceful protests in D.C. on the 6th, I recommend wearing a body camera. The more video angles of that day the better." Trump, who was at that time the president, you may remember, retweeted that message, because of course he did.
According to Vice, Watkins's first auction has received bids as high as $500, an amount that is unquestionably too damn high but still somehow not high enough to meet the reserve price.
If the name Ron Watkins isn't familiar to you, you may better know him as Q of QAnon fame. While it has never been officially confirmed that Watkins is Q, the supposed high-level official who claims to leak information about what is truly happening behind the scenes in the federal government, multiple people in the know have pointed the finger at him, and he himself has let slip more than a few hints that he's behind the whole thing. Watkins is also the administrator of 8chan, the forum where Q does most of his posting. During an interview for Q: Into the Storm, a documentary about the QAnon movement, Watkins accidentally revealed that he was making anonymous posts at one point before using his real identity, leading some to believe that he meant that he was posting as Q. The founder of 8chan, Fredrick Brennan, has also pointed to Watkins as the person behind Q's posts on the platform.
Regardless if Watkins is Q or not (and he probably is), he is a gatekeeper within the QAnon movement, positioning himself as the go-between for Q and the general public and anointing himself the primary Q whisperer. It's a role that has given him a significant amount of power: He got retweeted multiple times by Trump following the 2020 election, becoming a primary source for conspiracy theories about election fraud.
If that was Watkins's high point, the NFT grift may be his new low. Because both he and Trump have been suspended from Twitter, the actual tweets — both the originals and Trump's retweets — are no longer available on the platform. That's why Watkins is auctioning off these screenshots, which appear to be taken from the Trump Twitter archive.
Anyway, good luck to Watkins in selling screenshots of his bad tweets. Nothing better captures the legacy of QAnon than a costly and ultimately pointless grift that benefits no one at all.