The United Kingdom announced its plans to mint its own NFTs to solidify its stand as a “world leader” in the cryptocurrency space.
On Monday, the United Kingdom government announced that it plans to mint and issue its own non-fungible tokens (NFTs). City Minister John Glen made the announcement while laying out the U.K.’s steps to ensure that digital assets like NFTs go through stringent regulatory scrutiny. The Treasury’s Twitter account concurrently posted the statement.
U.K.’s Finance Minister, Rishi Sunak, has requested the government-owned Royal Mint to create and issue the NFT. The Royal Mint is responsible for minting coins for the U.K. However, the Treasury’s announcement didn’t say what object or image the Royal Mint’s NFT would confer ownership of. Likewise, there is no word on how many NFTs would be created or if these will be used to produce funds for the Exchequer.
According to Sunak, he wants to turn the U.K. into a global hub for cryptoasset technology. “We want to see the businesses of tomorrow – and the jobs they create – here in the U.K., and by regulating effectively, we can give them the confidence they need to think and invest long term,” he said.
At a fintech event held in London, City Minister Glen said the NFT should be ready “by the summer.” He also added that “there will be more details available very soon.”
Delving into the U.K.’s Plans
This NFT undertaking is part of the U.K. government’s more extensive effort to become a “world leader” in cryptocurrency. Several plans have been laid out to ensure that digital assets come under more regulatory scrutiny. According to Glen, the plans include:
- Bringing stablecoins inside the U.K.’s current regulations concerning electronic payments.
- Consulting on a “world-leading regime” for regulating trade in other cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin.
- Asking the Law Commission to legalize the status of blockchain-based communities or decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs).
- Examining tax structures and treatment for decentralized finance (DeFi) loans and “staking” that provides crypto users the opportunity to earn interest on their cryptocurrency savings.
- Establishing a Cryptoasset Engagement Group that ministers and host members from U.K. regulators and crypto businesses will spearhead.
- Exploring the possibility of applying blockchain technology in issuing debt instruments.
“We shouldn’t be thinking of regulation as a static, rigid thing,” said Glen. “Instead, we should be thinking in terms of regulatory ‘code’—like computer code—which we refine and rewrite when we need to.”
Along the same line, the government expressed its intention to bring stablecoins into its regulatory regime. Stablecoins are also digital assets tied to a fiat currency such as the pound. Should it happen, issuers and service providers offering stablecoins in the U.K. would need to observe and follow guidelines laid out by U.K. authorities.
Mixed Feelings about U.K. NFT
The U.K.’s decision to mint its own NFT would likely cause mixed reactions and feelings among millions of people in Britain after Sunak’s failure to protect those below the poverty line from rising living costs. Inflation in the country has hit the highest level it has seen in three decades, and more than a million Brits are expected to fall into poverty this year.
Moreover, the slew of NFT-related scams and its vulnerability to hackers, which has led to holders losing exorbitant amounts of money, is making people think twice about it.
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