Political Fund Raising and the Use of NFTs

NEST®
6 min readMay 16, 2023

Hey there, fellow NFT enthusiasts! Are you aware of the tremendous impact NFTs have been making across diverse industries? They are not only fulfilling their initial purpose but also surpassing it, pushing boundaries further! Interestingly, NFTs have even found a significant role in politics, acting as a powerful tool for fundraising campaigns.

Picture the collaboration between NFTs and political campaigns, merging forces to create something truly exhilarating. In this article, we will delve into the revolutionary impact of NFTs on political fundraising, injecting a vibrant and dynamic twist into campaign financing. Let’s embark on this exciting journey together!

What is Political Fundraising?

So, let’s talk about political fundraising in the United States election scene. It’s basically the lifeblood of campaigns, allowing candidates to promote their ideas, connect with voters, and get their message out there. Candidates from all levels of government, from local state, to federal government and president, rely on donations from individuals, organizations, and political action committees (PACs) to fund their campaign operations. This cash helps cover stuff like advertising, staff salaries, travel expenses, and other essential costs. In a nutshell, political fundraising is the fuel that keeps election campaigns going and helps candidates get their voices heard!

When donating to political parties, supporters can expect a variety of perks and gifts as a token of appreciation for their contributions. These rewards may include campaign merchandise like t-shirts and buttons, invitations to exclusive events, access to webinars or conference calls, signed memorabilia, personalized thank-you notes, early access to campaign news or updates, and membership to donor clubs. These incentives help strengthen the connection between supporters and the political party or candidate while also encouraging further donations.

What do NFTs bring to the table?

Change

By incorporating NFTs into their campaigns, candidates can demonstrate their commitment to change and progress. Supporters are often drawn to candidates who are in tune with current societal issues and eager to bring about improvements. Embracing NFTs and blockchain technology showcases a candidate’s forward-thinking approach and support for NFTs and cryptocurrency. This could lead to regulations and practices that favor these emerging technologies.

Better Perks

NFTs can provide a significant upgrade to the perks traditionally offered in political fundraising. Instead of just t-shirts, hats, and tote bags, NFTs can present art that is more closely associated with the candidate, textual representations of their political party platform, or other forms that better capture the essence of the candidate’s campaign. Additionally, NFTs can give supporters a sense of ownership and a cost-effective way to engage with their preferred candidate while receiving something valuable in return for their contribution. NFTs’ benefits, such as easy storage, durability, exclusive event access, and future airdrop availability, make them an attractive alternative to conventional fundraising incentives, providing a more meaningful and lasting connection between supporters and candidates.

Easy Access

NFTs offer an advantage in political fundraising by providing easy access to supporters. Donations made through purchasing NFTs in primary markets are fully online and secured with smart contracts, ensuring quick and safe transactions. This approach is accessible to all citizens, regardless of geographical limitations, making it a more inclusive option for political fundraising. Furthermore, as NFT perks are entirely virtual, they can be delivered accurately, instantly, and at a low cost. For younger generations who may be less familiar with traditional campaigns and not inclined to learn about them, the process of making donations via NFTs can feel as easy as online shopping, encouraging their participation in political fundraising efforts.

Lower Cost

NFTs bring the advantage of lower costs to the realm of political fundraising. Traditional campaigns often involve significant expenses, such as producing and distributing thousands or even millions of physical items like t-shirts, hats, and tote bags. Additionally, transporting these items across states during a campaign adds to the overall cost. In contrast, using NFTs as perks only requires an initial design fee. The cost difference between minting thousands and millions or even billions of NFT editions is negligible. Moreover, adding attributes and variations to NFTs is far more cost-efficient than producing different versions of physical goods. This cost-saving aspect of NFTs makes them an attractive option for political fundraising.

Attracting Young Potential Voters

NFTs can potentially attract young voters in the context of political fundraising. Many young Americans are not actively participating in political campaigns due to various reasons. They may perceive campaigns as outdated, unappealing to their generation, or feel out of place among older crowds. In the 2020 U.S. presidential election, only 52% of eligible voters aged 18–29 participated, which was the lowest voter turnout among all age groups, highlighting the low involvement of this age group in the political process.

The adoption of NFTs and cryptocurrencies can pique the interest of young people, as it demonstrates that candidates share similar interests and are willing to embrace innovative technologies. Furthermore, young Americans form a significant portion of the crypto-supporting population in the U.S., making this an effective way to draw their attention. The ease of access and participation offered by NFTs can act as a starting point for young people to engage in politics, ultimately leading to a more active role in future elections. By incorporating NFTs into political fundraising, candidates can appeal to this demographic, giving them an opportunity to foster a connection with a younger voter base.

Examples

Trump NFT

On December 15, 2022, former U.S. president Donal Trump debuted his collection with a total of 45,000 NFTs, each costing $99, and sold out early Friday, the day after its initial release, netting U.S. $4.5 million in sales. Each card portrays Donald Trump as a different heroic figure, such as a sheriff, an explorer, a superhero, or a NASCAR racer.

People who bought these digital trading cards also went into a competition to win prizes, including dinner with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, golf with the former president, or a Zoom call with him.

Blake Masters

Blake Masters, a Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Arizona, sold his supporters limited edition NFTs depicting the cover of his co-written book “Zero to One,” a New York Times bestseller, and raised nearly $575,000 for his Senate campaign.

For those who purchased Masters’ digital tokens, the perks included receiving a signed copy of his book and an opportunity to meet him and his co-author, tech billionaire Peter Thiel, who helped develop the NFT collection.

Regulation Concerns

Incorporating NFTs in political fundraising presents some regulatory concerns, as legal and policy frameworks around cryptocurrencies and NFTs are still evolving. Although the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has issued guidance for accepting cryptocurrency contributions, the sale of NFTs might still trigger regulations aimed at investment products, particularly if individuals start trading fractions of individual NFTs.

It’s essential for campaigns to remain aware of these regulatory challenges and seek legal advice when implementing NFTs for fundraising. While guidelines for accepting cryptocurrency contributions are available, consulting with legal experts can help ensure compliance and mitigate any risks associated with this new fundraising approach.

Final Thoughts

As we’ve explored, NFTs have the potential to revolutionize political fundraising, offering benefits like better perks, easy access, lower costs, and the ability to attract younger voters. These advantages make NFTs a powerful tool for not only political campaigns but also fundraising for various social issues, such as climate change, gender equality, and mental health awareness. When considering adopting NFTs for fundraising purposes, it’s crucial to choose a platform that provides the necessary support and features to create a successful NFT collection. Just remember to stay informed about the regulatory landscape and seek legal advice to ensure compliance. Embracing NFTs can truly make a difference in the world of fundraising, opening new doors and opportunities for campaigns and social causes alike.

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