Politics will be a Trojan horse for NFTs

Politics will be a Trojan horse for NFTs

Politics will be a Trojan horse for NFTs

Photo: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Non-fungible tokens (NFT)’s ability to attract attention and funding has apparently become a main selling point for the new technology.

Connecting fans with celebrities and collectors with prizes, in just a few years, NFTs have proven to be a lightning rod for fundraising. As politicians begin to harness that power, it becomes clear that politics will be a Trojan horse for NFT mass adoption.

No one would call Donald Trump a technical wizard. But still, he managed to find himself at the forefront of technology, using NFTs to do what he does best; attract attention and raise money.

In December, the former president released an NFT collection called Trump Digital Trading Cards, with 45,000 collectibles of himself in various outfits priced at $99 each. The collection sold out within a few hours and, like Trump himself, is part of history in the making.

Trump’s latest financial disclosures show he raked in somewhere between $100,000 to $1 million from the sale, and his cash-in may not be over yet.

Data on CryptoSlam shows that the collection has traded for nearly US$20 million on secondary marketplaces, with up to 10% of those sales going back to the project (and possibly Trump directly) as royalties.

Considering that sales appear to be increasing in line with media coverage, Trump likely has a few more significant paydays ahead of him.

CryptoSlam shows sales on days that match increased Google trends.
Google Trends

It is unclear whether Trump’s NFTs were intended for political fundraising or if they were pure collectibles. The boundary between the two is unclear.

During the first sale, random buyers won prize NFTs promising a Zoom call with Trump, and tickets to a gala dinner at Mara Lago, among a dozen unique prize offerings. One might assume that politics will be the main theme at these events, but we need regulatory bodies to determine if the primary NFT sale was kosher or if it violated any campaign finance laws.

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Other political figures have dabbled in NFTs, such as Andrew Yang with his GoldenDAO and Blake Masters’ Zero to One book cover. While none of them managed to bring in sales and attention like Trump, these bets on NFTs, along with a recent FEC decision, are the writing on the wall, telling us that a new era of political fundraising is over us.

On their own, both NFTs and politics are polarizing, but together you can have an outcome greater than the sum of the parts. NFTs would give politicians direct access to their constituents in the form of online communities, and regulators would have perfect transparency about funding through the public ledger we call the blockchain. NFTs, for their part, would benefit from being legitimized by some of the most powerful people in the world.

As the 2024 US election cycle ramps up, we’ll see if political NFT offerings rise along with it. If today’s announcement of Trump’s Series 2 NFT Trading Cards is any indication of what’s to come, it’s going to be a spicy couple of years in NFTs.

A quick look at the Forkast 500 NFT Index shows that the NFT market is up over 3% in the last seven days, fueled by a successful NFTNYC event last week, along with Ethereum and Cardano both increasing in value over the same period.

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