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UK government abandons plans for Royal Mint-manufactured NFTs –

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Less than a year after the project was announced, the UK government has abandoned its plan to create non-fungible tokens for sale through the Royal Mint.

This statement was given in April last year. The then Chancellor and now Prime Minister Rishi Sunak welcomed it with great enthusiasm. The British government was simultaneously working to regulate the stablecoin market by integrating it into a reliable payment system.

So far, the UK government has shelved its intention to launch a non-fungible token for now.

Economic Secretary to the Treasury Andrew Griffith confirmed the abandonment in response to a question from Conservative MP Harriet Baldwin. “In consultation with HM Treasury, the Royal Mint is not proceeding with the launch of the non-fungible token at this time, but will keep this proposal subject to review,” he added.

The Royal Mint-produced NFTs were meant to be part of a larger campaign to make the country more attractive as a location for cryptocurrency innovation.

What went downhill for the Treasury’s NFT plans?

Although the ideas are not progressing at this time, they are under review, according to a statement by Griffiths on Monday. This means that the NFT scheme is not over yet and may be restarted at a later date.

The Treasury requested the Mint to produce the token in April 2022. According to the statement made at the time, it “demonstrates the determined approach we are taking towards crypto assets in the UK.”

However, there was not much movement during the year towards this vision. Mint provided neither a visual representation of the proposed NFT, nor any technical justification for how it would work, what benefits it would provide users, or what blockchain it would be based on.

Harriet Baldwin, who, as chair of the Treasury’s Select Committee, oversees assessing the work of the Treasury, noted that the UK government’s senior finance minister had been asked about the firmness of issuing NFTs as a policy of the department. Will be questioned. Baldwin has previously openly criticized the idea of ​​NFTs and the industry-wide uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrencies.

The decision to abandon the Royal Mint’s NFT ambitions was made in part due to growing concerns about consumers buying speculative tokens. According to Harriet Baldwin, there is not enough evidence to suggest that constituents buy these tokens.

Moreover, the industry has been mired in a slowdown crisis for the past one year. FTX, Celsius, Voyager and Genesis have declared bankruptcy, along with crypto-focused banks Silvergate and Signature, and Binance, the top cryptocurrency exchange, is the subject of a US regulatory investigation. Such volatility may also have contributed to the fact that the launch of the NFT collection was postponed.

The Treasury previously said it would look into changing the tax structure to support the development of the cryptocurrency market. However, with the current state of the sector remaining “unpredictable”, all new initiatives have been put on hold. Back in 2017, the Royal Mint hinted at its intention to track its gold supply using blockchain, but these plans were also frozen.

More global governments are going the Web3 route

The Royal Mint-manufactured NFTs were being seen as a potential driver for the UK for further expansion in the crypto sector upon announcement. In recent years, the country has been actively examining various methods to attract crypto-related enterprises and talent.

NFTs are digital assets with an underlying blockchain that is used to secure and verify them. These digital tokens can be purchased with fiat money or cryptocurrency and act as ownership certificates for various virtual or physical assets.

Each NFT is a unique token whose uniqueness has been verified by the blockchain, making them difficult to forge or duplicate. NFTs have developed into a lucrative asset class that can be bought, sold and traded like other types of assets, with some NFTs fetching millions of dollars at auction. More recently, NFTs have proven their utility in sectoral applications ranging from gaming to entertainment, real estate to music and medical records to IPRs.

Other world leaders have also begun to show willingness to use NFTs and other Web3 technologies. In October 2022, Japan announced its plans to employ NFTs and Metaverse services to finance the country’s digital transformation. China to launch NFT and digital asset marketplace in January 2023, despite strict regulations on cryptocurrencies. India, which holds the presidency of the G20 this year, has initiated several rounds of meetings on the utility and future of cryptocurrencies.

Roadmap for the UK in the cryptosphere

Sunak established the UK government’s strong support for cryptocurrencies throughout his tenure as chancellor.

In 2021, he set up a task force to examine whether the Bank of England should establish a “central bank digital currency” with the aim of a more open, greener and technologically advanced financial services sector for the country. Talking about the initiative, he highlighted its association with the UK being at the forefront of innovation and that much more still needs to be done.

It remains to be seen what steps Britain takes during his prime ministership.

The Treasury and the Bank of England have only said that the sterling-pegged stablecoin, popularly known as “Britcoin,” will “likely” be produced at some point. The UK government has yet to implement a crypto regulatory framework.

The Royal Mint’s decision to abandon its intention to establish NFTs and a British stablecoin is a blow to UK aspirations around digital assets. The Royal Mint had an opportunity to make these cutting-edge digital assets accessible to a wider audience, but its exit from the market emphasizes the difficulties and ambiguities surrounding digital assets.

Nevertheless, as cryptocurrencies and other digital assets develop, further developments and experiments may occur, ultimately leading to increased crypto adoption and acceptance by the public.

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