Congressional Candidate Uses NFTs To Raise Awareness, Funds

Blockworks Exclusive: Shrina Kurani, running for a seat in California’s 41st District, says crypto-literate legislators are critical to ensuring Web3 innovation


Congressional candidate Shrina Kurani | Source: Shrina Kurani for Congress


key takeaways

  • The NFT holders will have access to conversations with climate scientists and the Kurani campaign’s Earth Day party in the metaverse
  • Kurani, if elected, would prioritize clear guidelines on know your customer and anti-money laundering reporting while seeking to protect privacy

Congressional candidate Shrina Kurani is using NFTs to raise awareness for her campaign and bring attention to climate-friendly Web3 solutions. 

Kurani, a Democrat running for a seat in California’s 41st District, teamed up with NFT (non-fungible token) marketplace Abris to launch 230 NFTs — signifying the 230 billion tons of carbon remaining in the world’s “carbon budget.”

Shrina Kurani NFT

Available through March, the NFTs are priced at $1,250 and $5,800. They will grant holders access to airdrops from other crypto and climate projects, conversations with climate scientists and the campaign’s Earth Day party in the metaverse.

The NFTs serve as the campaign’s “merchandise,” Kurani told Blockworks, and funds from them will be used for communications and “building a team that has run similar races before, and won.”

“When innovative ideas meet technology, fundraising becomes a memorable experience,” Abris CEO Priya Samant said in a statement.

“It is very promising to see political candidates getting creative and venturing into the world of NFTs.”

Abris is built on Algorand, which partnered with ClimateTrade to offset its emissions and become a carbon-negative blockchain network. 

Kurani said that legislators who are literate in technology and crypto are essential to ensuring Web3 innovation. She is challenging US Rep. Ken Calvert, a Republican who has held the district seat since 2013. Other candidates include Democrat Will Rollins and Republican State Sen. Melissa Melendez.

Kurani is a vice president of business for Republic, a New York-based financial technology company with a retail investment platform, a blockchain advisory service and a private capital division. The company has deployed more than $700 million in investments and supported about 600 companies

A former mechanical engineer at NASA, Kurani in 2015 co-founded FoodNest, a Berlin-based start-up offering access to food inventory, and served as its CEO until January 2018. She later served in leadership roles at Sutro, a company focused on building water solutions, and venture capital firm Better Ventures.

Now, Kurani said, the US has a chance to invest in emerging technologies and digital services focused on transparency, efficiency and access. 

“With crypto, we can democratize access to financial services at large and use the closely intertwined relationship between technology and ownership to streamline processes, educate the American population, and encourage financial literacy, particularly for communities who have been historically disenfranchised,” she told Blockworks. 

In terms of crypto legislation that Kurani would support if elected, she called tax and accounting reporting frameworks “low-hanging fruit” that would benefit the industry. She would prioritize clear guidelines on know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) reporting while seeking to protect privacy, Kurani added.

President Biden signed an executive order last week that calls on government agencies to study potential approaches to digital assets. It focuses on consumer protection, financial stability, risk mitigation, the US’s financial leadership, financial inclusion and responsible innovation around crypto.

“The first phase of legislation begins with education and discourse, and the executive order is laying a pathway to do just that,” Kurani told Blockworks.

The NFT drop, designed to engage the crypto community to participate in the future of crypto legislation, follows Andrew Yang’s creation of Lobby3, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) that intends to fund advocacy organizations to form relationships with lawmakers and educate them on Web3.

The former presidential candidate told Blockworks in an interview last month that ensuring there is sensible regulation is crucial for the industry.

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