Where Do NFTs Fit in With Political Merchandise? Candidates Look to Find Out
We're approaching the height of NFT mania right now. People are no longer confused by their concept for the most part, and are now weighing whether it's worth investing in something they can never actually touch.
As they become more accepted, they've begun to permeate promotional marketing. Brands and companies have offered standalone NFTs and found ways to use them to complement real-world merchandise. But is there a chance that brands begin using NFTs in place of the physical branded merchandise they'd typically employ?
In the political sphere, where hype and reach are paramount, candidates and PACs are starting to use NFTs as fundraising tools. Specifically, they're auctioning them off as a means of raising money, the same way they might stock an online store with T-shirts and buttons.
Politico reported that Arizona GOP Senate Candidate Blake Masters raised $550,000 in 36 hours by auctioning off an NFT of the cover of his book with Peter Thiel. California Democratic House candidate Shrina Kurani raised more than $6,000 in three days by selling NFTs of her crypto policy agenda.
Announcing the Zero to One origins NFT
Only 99 will be minted. Owners get exclusive access to parties with me and Peter, a private Discord group, & more.
— Blake Masters (@bgmasters) December 27, 2021
The money we've raised through the NFT drop is equivalent to 30+ hours on the phones, dialing for dollars. When campaigns are community-powered, candidates can spend more time on the issues that matter. Can you help us hit $10k in the next 30 min? https://t.co/BJpcJVrZ74 pic.twitter.com/vuM5cANu8A
— Shrina Kurani (@shrinakurani) December 30, 2021
Now, that last one is certainly designed to appeal to a very specific demographic. The people who are interested in crypto and NFTs will certainly pay close attention and participate in this, but it's still hard to sell some people on the value of an NFT over something like a T-shirt.
Crypto folks will say that NFTs are a way to show that you value donors by giving them something viewed as equity. A T-shirt depreciates in value the second you put it on (unless it has a Supreme logo on it), but an NFT is, theoretically, something you can later sell for a large profit.
The debate over whether NFTs will replace physical products for political fundraising is naturally going to develop. Realistically, though, this is going to be a niche thing where established candidates or public figures use their influence to sell an NFT of an existing product like an autographed "book" or photo. Again, these are all based on real products, showing that at the end of the day, the physical product will always be the "currency" on which this is based.
You can buy the NFT based on the T-shirt, or you can buy the T-shirt.
At least in the near future, NFTs certainly have a place in political fundraising, and some candidates might allocate more attention and money to crypto-related products than their T-shirts and hats. But, in the long-term, there's a reason something simple like a button or hat has survived as the de facto political advertisement for as long as it has.