The US Federal Election Commission (FEC) has issued an advisory opinion that DataVault Holdings may use non-perishable tokens in its fundraising efforts.
In a Dec. 15 notice, the FEC said DataVault Holdings is “allowed” to send non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, to political campaign contributors without violating rules on corporate contributions. According to the election agency, DataVault will receive “reasonable compensation” for every NFT issued to contributors, as well as keep track of all issued tokens for its own records.
“The committee concludes that DataVault’s proposals to provide NFTs to political committees on the same terms that they regularly offer to their non-political clients would be an extension of credit permitted by DataVault in the normal course of business,” said FEC Chairman Allen Dickerson. “Under law and commission regulations, a listed commercial vendor may extend credit to political commissions under terms substantially similar to those that a vendor offers to non-political debtors. DataVault is considered a “commercial vendor” because its usual and normal business involves providing the same services it proposes to provide to political commissions.”
Speaking to Cointelegraph, DataVault CEO Nathaniel Bradley said:
“We are very pleased with the unanimous approval by the FEC of our patented DataVault platform for use in political campaigns here in the United States. From a broader perspective, we believe that Blockchain technology represents the future of elections that seek trust and transparency in their results going forward.”
In September, DataVault’s legal team proposed allowing the company to send NFTs as souvenirs — “in campaign hat-like fashion” — to individuals who have contributed to political committees. The tokens will also give token holders the option to use them to promote a campaign “on a completely voluntary basis and without any compensation.” Any fees from issuing NFTs or transactions will be reported as “fundraising expenses,” according to DataVault.
The FEC issued a similar advisory opinion in 2019 regarding blockchain tokens, saying that some tokens are “physically indistinguishable from traditional forms of campaign souvenirs.” In this case, the congressional candidate Omar Reyes’ tokens had “no monetary value” and were used as an incentive to engage in volunteer campaign activities.
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NFTs have sometimes been linked to political campaigns globally. In South Korea, the campaign behind Democratic Party candidate Lee Jae-myung said in January it would release NFTs displaying images of the politician and his campaign pledges to those who made donations.