U.K. Government to Mint NFT in Bid to Embrace Crypto


Key Takeaways

  • U.K. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has commissioned the Royal Mint to release an NFT.
  • The news comes as the U.K. government outlined plans to regulate DeFi and stablecoins and establish a framework that allows blockchain technology to flourish.
  • Sunak said that he wants the U.K. to become “a global hub for cryptoasset technology.”

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U.K. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has asked the Royal Mint to issue an NFT marking the government’s forward-looking approach with regard to crypto assets.

U.K.’s Royal Mint To Drop NFT

The U.K. has indicated that it wants to embrace crypto innovation, starting with NFTs. 

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Speaking at the Innovate Finance Global Finance Summit, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen revealed that Chancellor Rishi Sunak had tasked the Royal Mint with creating a non-fungible token by the summer. Glen said that the NFT was “an emblem of the forward-looking approach [the government is] determined to take,” adding that more details would be available soon.

He also revealed that the U.K. government sees “enormous potential in crypto” and wants the country to become a global hub for the industry. He said:

“Never in the history of commerce has there been an invention as hyped and misunderstood as Distributed Ledger Technology and Blockchain. For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to use the catch-all term ‘crypto’ or ‘crypto-technologies.’ But what I mean is the extraordinary, mercurial, underlying technology which makes ‘crypto’ possible… and which we can be pretty sure is going to have profound effects across multiple domains.”

According to Glen, the U.K. government has a new, detailed plan to create a flexible and dynamic regulatory landscape that would work for everyone. The first part of that plan is to bring certain stablecoins into the payments framework and create conditions for stablecoin issuers and service providers to operate and grow their businesses in the country. “We wanted, in the first instance, to focus on areas of immediate potential and concern in the crypto sphere—hence our work on stablecoins,” Glen told FinTech industry representatives at the conference.

HM Treasury Outlines Government’s Crypto Plans

A Monday HM Treasury statement hints that the government plans to look into regulating stablecoins, though it didn’t specify details. “With appropriate regulation, [stablecoins] could provide a more efficient means of payment and widen consumer choice,” the statement read. 

Glen also said that the government plans to create a framework concerning the legal status of decentralized autonomous organizations. The goal is to help the U.K. remain at the cutting edge of legal innovation, Glen said, “just as [the U.K.] did with the limited liability companies in the 19th Century,” without sharing any more details as to what that framework would look like. 

Revamping the tax code to help crypto flourish is also on the U.K.’s wish list. The HM Treasury statement notes that the government plans to resolve specific taxation issues concerning DeFi loans and staking to remove any disincentives for the country’s financial industry experimenting in the space. The statement also announced that the U.K. would establish a “financial market infrastructure sandbox to enable firms to experiment and innovate” and a “Cryptoasset Engagement Group” to work alongside the industry. The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority will also hold a sprint with key industry figures to gather views on regulating the space.  

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“It’s my ambition to make the U.K. a global hub for cryptoasset technology, and the measures we’ve outlined today will help to ensure firms can invest, innovate and scale up in this country,” Sunak said in the statement. “This is part of our plan to ensure the U.K. financial services industry is always at the forefront of technology and innovation.” 

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies.

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