Rishi Sunak’s ‘NFT for Britain’ plan quietly scrapped after just 11 months

·3 min read
NFT British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak walks outside Number 10 Downing Street in London, Britain March 15, 2023. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Rishi Sunak’s plan for an ‘NFT for Britain’ has been quietly scrapped after just 11 months. Photo: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

The UK Treasury has abandoned its proposal for the Royal Mint to develop its own non-fungible token (NFT).

In April 2022, then-chancellor Rishi Sunak ordered the Royal Mint to create its own 'NFT for Britain', which he claimed would become “an emblem of the forward-looking approach the UK is determined to take”.

However, the scheme has now been quietly scrapped.

On Monday, UK economic secretary Andrew Griffith said that the plans for a Royal Mint NFT were not moving forward “at this time”.

He added that his department would keep the proposal "under review".

Read more: Crypto live prices

Harriet Baldwin chair of the Treasury Select Committee said: "We have not yet seen a lot of evidence that our constituents should be putting their money in these speculative tokens unless they are prepared to lose all their money," according to the BBC.

"So perhaps that is why the Royal Mint has made this decision in conjunction with the Treasury."

A year ago, the Royal Mint said: "As part of the chancellor of the exchequer’s ambition to make the UK a global hub for crypto-asset technology and investment, the Royal Mint has been asked to produce an NFT for Britain, we are delighted to once again lead the way for UK currency."

NFTs are unique digital assets that can be traded and purchased in online marketplaces.

In April 2022, when Sunak was chancellor, he planned to make the UK “a global cryptoasset technology hub”, and, alongside former economic secretary to the Treasury John Glen, laid out a comprehensive roadmap for UK’s crypto future.

This included the development of new legislation for a "financial market infrastructure sandbox" that can aid crypto-firms to innovate.

As chancellor he also oversaw a Finanical Conduct Authority-led ‘CryptoSprint’ to further encourage the innovation of distributed ledger technology (DLT) within the UK.

Blockchain technology is a key method for creating the secure distributed ledger technology that can be used in finance, information exchange and "smart" contracts.

Read more: Crypto: Will UK banks adopt CBDCs and stablecoins?

Sunak also promoted Britcoin — a central bank digital currency (CBDC) project for the Bank of England (BoE).

Former head of fintech at the BoE Varun Paul told Yahoo Finance UK: "The political wind is certainly in favour of developing the UK as a crypto hub.

"I think we're going to see a whole ecosystem and a coherent framework in the UK that incorporates CBDCs, stablecoins, crypto assets, tokenised assets, decentralised finance (DeFi) and NFTs in a whole new financial architecture that will be an opportunity for the UK to take the lead globally."

On Tuesday, bitcoin (BTC-USD) side-stepped along the $27,000 mark after US Commodity Future Trading Commission's (CFTC) took legal action against crypto exchange Binance.

Ether (ETH-USD), the second-largest cryptocurrency, was down 2.1% to $1,726.

Watch: The Crypto Mile: Episode 4 - How NFT art and activism is responding to a world in crisis

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