NFTs are entering the world of politics. Ever since the Federal Elections Commission announced last year that congressional candidates could use NFTs for fundraising, quite a few have jumped on board. Most recently, ex-president Donald Trump is reported to have collected anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million from sales of NFTs bearing Trump's likeness.
However, Trump's official website explains that proceeds from the NFT sales won't go into his reelection campaign. The project has made $19 million in sales since its inception, but it is unclear how much of that goes into Trump's personal pockets.
It is unclear how much the ex-President makes from this initiative since he is not in charge of minting the NFTs. That is done by NFT INC LLC. The registered agent used to incorporate the LLC is Wyoming Corporate Services, a service that registers companies. Among the many scenarios this company is involved with is the issue of US military equipment sold to Turkey for cheaper reproduction, involvement in telemarketing scams, as well as links with former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, who was once ranked the eighth-most corrupt official in the world by a watchdog group.
However, it is unclear how much of this money is making its way into Trump’s personal use. Moreover, ever since the launch of Trump Trading Cards, multiple Twitter users have alleged a series of misdemeanors:
- The company that created the collectibles has stockpiled its rarest NFTs
- The project relies on badly edited stock photos
- Most of the buyers of the collections created new wallets without retaining any crypto in them and linked them with an NFT
In regards to the stockpiling allegation, NFTHerder told CoinDesk : “If this was a 10,000 unit collection about monkeys, the whole discord would be blowing up about how this is a rug and a scam and that the team is holding one fourth of the most rare supply.”
NFTs for political fundraising:
Unlike Trump, though, some election runners are actually considering NFTs as a source of funding for their election campaigns, with some success.
- For example, Democrat Shrina Kurani’s NFTs “ Shrina Kurani for Congress” went live for 72 hours. It racked up to $6,610 which was part of the final $412,000 her campaign was able to amass by the end of the campaign in March last year.
- Similarly, Olikara, an activist who was running in the Democratic primary in August of last year in opposition to Republican Sen. Ron Johnson in Wisconsin released 30 NFTs for $50 dollars each, raising $1500 in total.
- Republican Blake Masters who ran for the Senate from Arizona sold 99 NFTs and reached $5,800 in sales. His plan was made in cohort with billionaire Peter Thiel, who proposed that the NFTs carry pictures of their co-written book Zero to One. According to Masters’ tweet, owners of the NFT will have exclusive access to parties with him and Thiel and a private Discord group.
These NFT-forward political hopefuls are promising to bring a fresh attitude to how Web3 technologies are viewed by the government. At the same time, there are concerns that charitable fundraising through NFTs may be harder to track and may raise issues of transparency.
Moreover, unlike regular ol' small donors, donations made by buying NFTs may not be coming from a place of holistic political agreement. Instead they may be driven by crypto enthusiasts and those who would like access to powerful people and thought leaders.