Yesterday the UK government’s finance ministry, HM Treasury, announced plans for a non-fungible token (NFT) this summer. The Treasury will work with the Royal Mint, the government-owned company responsible for producing coins in the UK.
The NFT announcement came as part of a broader publication by the Treasury supporting the government’s positioning on digital assets and blockchain technology. The government expressed its intention to make the UK a welcoming country for the crypto sector.
The publication included plans to regulate stablecoins used for payment in the UK and establish a Cryptoasset Engagement Group to allow the government to keep more closely in touch with the industry. The competitiveness of the UK tax system in relation to crypto-assets will also be reviewed, including the tax treatment of decentralized finance (DeFi) loans.
“It’s my ambition to make the UK a global hub for cryptoasset technology, and the measures we’ve outlined today will help to ensure firms can invest, innovate and scale up in this country,” said Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer. “We want to see the businesses of tomorrow – and the jobs they create – here in the UK, and by regulating effectively we can give them the confidence they need to think and invest long-term.”
The UK’s financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), will host a two-day ‘CryptoSprint’ event in May, seeking views from crypto industry participants. Last year, the FCA had mulled over the idea of further developing its crypto regulations, and last month it published a job posting for the head of a newly created Digital Assets department. Yesterday HM Treasury announced plans for a consultation later this year about regulating crypto-assets beyond stablecoins.
In 2016, the Royal Mint announced its intention to launch a digitized gold offering called Royal Mint Gold (RMG). However, in 2018 it aborted these plans.
The UK government will not be the first government to launch a digital asset. In 2019, Lithuania’s central bank launched its blockchain-based digital collector coin LBCoin.