Lee Jae-myung, the candidate from the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) for the March 2022 presidential election, is taking the cryptocurrency route by issuing non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to those who donate to his election campaign.
In order to gain funding and popularity among the masses, especially the younger generation, the DPK will be issuing digital images featuring Lee and his policies to campaign donors starting this month, Korea Times reported the party officials as saying. This push also includes advocacy for digital assets and NFTs.
“With politics, we should break the regulations and foster new industries such as metaverse and NFT and give hope to the young people,” Lee Kwang-jae said last week.
A DPK lawmaker also said recently, that they will also accept donations in crypto and will issue NFTs as receipts for these donations. Bitcoin, Ethereum, and up to three other crypto assets are currently under consideration to support donation, with the final list to be announced in mid-January.
While initially there was concern regarding such a move’s regulatory nature, using NFTs to raise funds does not violate South Korea’s Political Funds Act or the Public Official Election Act, according to Seoul's National Election Commission (NEC).
The NFTs are expected to serve as a way to connect with the younger and digital native voters.
“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,” said campaign official Kim Nam-kook.
Those in their 20s and 30s actually made up almost 60% of total investors in South Korea’s four major regulated cryptocurrency exchanges in Q1 of 2021, according to data from the Financial Services Commission.
The country has been working on regulating the crypto industry and NFTs by taxing the gains made on such an investment remaining a controversial topic of discussion among the South Korean authorities.
While the regulators have postponed their plan to tax income from crypto until 2023, tax on inherited and gifted crypto will be imposed starting this year.