British officials have revealed that the UK government plans on releasing its own non-fungible token (NFT) in a new effort to embrace crypto innovation.
In a keynote speech at the Innovate Finance Global Summit during Fintech Week 2022, Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen said that UK Finance Minister Rishi Sunak had asked the Royal Mint to create a national NFT before summer.
“I am announcing today that the Chancellor has asked the Royal Mint to create a non-fungible token – an NFT… to be issued by the Summer, an emblem of the forward-looking approach we are determined to take… and there will be more details available very soon.”
Glen’s speech was centred on the UK’s strategy to remain a leader in financial technology, with a special emphasis on crypto and blockchain.
In the Secretary’s words:
“Never in the history of commerce has there been an invention as hyped and misunderstood as Distributed Ledger Technology and Blockchain.”
Glen said that he wants the UK to be a “global hub” for the industry, and “the very best place in the world to start and scale crypto-companies.”
“If crypto-technologies are going to be a big part of the future, then we – the UK – want to be in, and in on the ground floor. In fact, if we commit now… if we act now… we can lead the way.”
Glen addressed the worries of critics who believe crypto presents too many opportunities for criminals, dictators, or nations such as Russia to avoid economic sanctions. The Secretary says that the UK is taking “proactive steps” to prevent their misuse, including making joint statements with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England pressuring crypto firms to do their part in ensuring that sanctions are enforced on Russia.
In addition, Glen said that the UK was leading negotiations with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to create a global framework for crypto tax reporting. The pro-regulation statements are in line with earlier reports that the UK would be introducing a new crypto regulatory framework some time in the coming week.
“But, equally, we see enormous potential in crypto… and we want to give ourselves every chance to take maximum advantage. We aren’t going to lower our standards, but we are going to maintain our technologically-neutral approach. Having robust and effective regulation won’t hinder innovation, it’ll actually boost it – by giving people and businesses the confidence they need to think and invest for the long-term.”
Glen also revealed that the UK government would be establishing the “Cryptoasset Engagement Group,” which he describes as a high-level industry group that will help guide officials on the “next steps in the road ahead.”
“Chaired at ministerial level – with senior representatives from the FCA, the Bank of England, as well as from businesses – It’ll meet up to eight times a year, and have a full and proactive agenda,” he said.
“Not just talk… talk then determined, concrete action. Informing and accelerating work being done elsewhere, including by regulators.”