NFTs have broken into politics.
Whereas buying a button or T-shirt is usually how the public shows their support for a candidate, some tech-savvy politicians have found success raising funds by selling non-fungible tokens, digital collectibles recorded on the blockchain that can be an image, video, or the deed to a plot of metaverse real estate.
Arizona GOP Senate candidate Blake Masters raised more than $575,000 in 36 hours after selling several NFTs in December, according to Bloomberg. In California, Democratic congressional candidate Shrina Kurani raised $6,600 that same month by selling 21 of the total 2,022 tokens she put up for sale in a 72-hour time span.
Masters, who is running to replace Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, sold his supporters digital tokens depicting the cover of Zero to One, a book he wrote with major GOP donor Peter Thiel. Kurani’s NFTs contained her crypto policy agenda.
NFT technology exploded in popularity in 2021, especially after artist Beeple’s landmark $69.3 million NFT sale in March 2021. Last year, the NFT market saw more than $40 billion in sales, according to crypto data firm Chainalysis. And now, it seems, the political world is getting in on the action.
Even political action committees are adopting the technology. HODLpac, a political action committee focused on crypto interests, told Politico it was planning to sell NFT membership cards or campaign pins.
Although political NFTs have the potential to attract a new younger audience, they also come with a few regulatory questions.
The Federal Election Commission approved political cryptocurrency donations eight years ago, but since then, very few campaigns have taken advantage of blockchain technology to raise funds.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is still deciding how it will regulate cryptocurrency and NFTs, and some lawyers worry using the technology could put campaigns at the will of regulations meant for financial products.
Never miss a story: Follow your favorite topics and authors to get a personalized email with the journalism that matters most to you.