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Britain Announces Plans To Mint Its Own NFT As It Looks To ‘Lead The Way’ In Crypto

OnZine Articles

ByOnZine Articles

Apr 7, 2022
Britain Announces Plans To Mint Its Own NFT As It Looks To 'Lead The Way' In Crypto

The United Kingdom government announced plans on Monday to mint its own non-fungible token as part of a push to become a “world leader” in the cryptocurrency space.

Finance Minister Rishi Sunak has asked the Royal Mint, the government-owned company in charge of minting coins in the United Kingdom, to design and issue the NFT “by the summer,” City Minister John Glen said at a fintech event in London. “More information will be available very soon,” he added.

NFTs are digital assets that use blockchain, the technology that underpins many cryptocurrencies, to represent ownership of a virtual item such as an artwork or video game avatar. They’ve gained a lot of traction in the last year as celebrities and large corporations have increased their adoption.

According to Glen, the UK’s NFT initiative is part of a larger government effort to “lead the way” in crypto. The minister announced a number of steps the UK will take to increase regulatory scrutiny of digital assets, including plans to:

  • Bring stablecoins into compliance with the United Kingdom’s existing electronic payment regulations.
  • Consult on establishing a “world-leading regime” for regulating the trade in other cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin.
  • Request that the Law Commission investigate the legal standing of blockchain-based communities known as decentralized autonomous organizations, or DAOs.
  • Investigate the tax implications of decentralized finance (DeFi) loans and “staking,” which allows crypto users to earn interest on their savings.

Stablecoins, or cryptocurrencies whose value is determined by sovereign currencies such as the US dollar, are a rapidly growing but contentious phenomenon in the crypto world. Tether, the largest stablecoin in the world, has a circulating supply of more than $80 billion. However, it has drawn criticism for a lack of transparency regarding the reserves that back the token. The government is now planning to incorporate stablecoins into the UK regulatory system.

Glen also stated that the government was “widening” its focus to include other aspects of cryptocurrency, such as the so-called Web3, a movement that proposes a more decentralized version of the internet based on blockchain technology.

“No one knows for certain how Web3 will look,” Glen said. “However, there’s a good chance that blockchain will play a role.”

Mix Signals

As policymakers around the world begin to take a closer look at the $2 trillion markets, industry insiders have been calling for clarity on the United Kingdom’s position on cryptocurrency.

Last month, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order urging federal agencies to work together to regulate cryptocurrency. The move was widely regarded as beneficial to the industry.

Meanwhile, European Union lawmakers recently voted against legislation that would have jeopardized the future of cryptocurrency mining. They did, however, enact new regulations that crackdown on anonymous cryptocurrency transfers.

Back in the U.K., British regulators have taken a harsh tone on digital assets.

The Financial Conduct Authority has rejected the vast majority of cryptocurrency firms that have applied to be registered with the watchdog, citing concerns that too many “financial crime red flags” are going unnoticed.

The FCA extended a critical deadline for crypto businesses on a temporary register — including Revolut and Copper — to obtain full authorization last week. Copper is advised by former UK Finance Minister Philip Hammond.

After failing to make it onto the final register, several companies, including Blockchain.com, B2C2, and Wirex, have been forced to wind down their U.K. crypto operations and relocate offshore. The FCA has only approved 33 businesses.

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OnZine Articles main author - Max Haydon

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