In the grand political tradition of campaign buttons – think “All the Way with LBJ” or “I Like Ike” – the crypto world is trying its own version, with a non-fungible token (NFT) firm seeking approval from the U.S. Federal Election Commission to offer souvenir tokens to political committees.
Data Vault Holdings is seeking an FEC stamp on its plan to market political NFTs to campaigns as an incentive for supporters. The digital items’ ownership – and the campaign supporter’s political sentiment – could be forever recorded on a blockchain. As an example, a $10 contribution might earn a specific level of token, while Data Vault takes $3 to process it.
“The NFT would be offered by the political committee with a focus on high-volume low-dollar donors consistent with the federal contribution limits,” according to the company’s FEC request. “The NFT could contain artwork, campaign literature, position papers and other campaign approved and compliant digital content including video, audio and interactive social media.”
The commission has previously favored campaigns issuing their own tokens, when a congressional candidate in Florida’s 2020 election asked for permission to hand out tokens to campaign workers. As long as they had no monetary value, the FEC ruled that “the distribution of valueless blockchain tokens is not a form of compensation for volunteers' services but rather a novel means for volunteers and supporters to show their support for the campaign.”
Based in East Brunswick, N.J., Data Vault has previously worked with other organizations to handle crypto technology on their behalf. In this case, it would be a paid vendor offering fundraising services to U.S. campaigns.
Campaigns have already been experimenting with NFTs in fundraising, such as when DeFi (decentralized-finance) developer Matt West used of cartoon beavers in his Oregon race, though he placed sixth in that Democratic primary earlier this year. Before that, Scott Jensen, a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Minnesota, released a "Scott at the Fair!" NFT collection.