South Korea's presidential candidate plans to raise funds with NFTs
The party announced that it would accept campaign donations in cryptocurrency, and donors would receive receipts in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The NFTs would depict images of Lee, along with his political agenda.
Lee's campaign team revealed this decision is part of a strategy to attract South Korea's younger generation of voters to their cause.
"As the young generation in their 20s and 30s are interested in emerging technologies, including virtual assets, NFTs and the metaverse, this type of fundraising could appeal to them," Kim Nam-kook, a Lee campaign official, said.
The campaign team also promised to announce the final list of cryptocurrencies accepted as donations in mid-January. Bitcoin, Ethereum, and three other cryptocurrencies are reportedly being considered. The contributions would be converted to South Korean won before being transferred to the campaign's bank account.
"It is high time that we undertake innovative experiments to enhance our understanding of these future technologies and change perceptions of digital currencies and NFTs," Lee added.
Lee's announcement comes after previous concerns that such fundraises may violate the Political Funds Act or the Public Official Election Act. However, the National Election Commission (NEC) clarified that he was not breaking any laws.
South Korean authorities have also been monitoring the crypto and NFT trend closely.
In March last year, the country put new regulations in place for crypto companies to control money laundering and other illegal acts. Punishment for breaking the rules involve a five-year prison sentence or a US$44,000 fine.
Also, in November, South Korea's financial regulator disclosed that the government could soon place a tax on NFTs.
Cryptocurrency and NFTs have remained a controversial subject in South Korea. The nation's Financial Services Commission (FSC) is still undecided on whether or not NFTs should be made taxable digital assets.
Elsewhere around the world, other politicians also use NFTs as a fundraising opportunity.
Last year, Blake Masters, a U.S Senate candidate in Arizona, offered NFTs to donors to fund his senatorial campaign.
A former U.S presidential and New York mayoral candidate, Andrew Yang, announced his NFT project last October. Yang would use earnings from the NFT sale to support his new Forward Party, which he believes can "reform the dysfunctional duopoly" in the U.S. political system.
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