- The United Kingdom treasury has canceled plans to launch the Royal Mint NFT collection
- The collection had been touted by the country’s prime minister as a way to position the UK as a global crypto hub
- However, the treasury revealed that it’s not shelving the launch completely as it’ll keep the project under review
The UK has halted plans to launch a Royal Mint NFT collection that was touted by the country’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in 2022, giving no reason for the decision. At the time, Sunak said that creating digital artwork for Britain would position the country as a global cryptocurrency hub. However, the UK treasury revealed that it’s not entirely scrapping the NFT project since it’ll keep it under review, but the news is nevertheless an embarrassing climbdown.
Speculative Tokens Cause Loss of Funds
The revelation was provided by Treasury’s Economic Secretary Andrew Griffith while appearing before the country’s parliament treasury committee. The committee’s head, Harriet Baldwin, had on a separate occasion said that a government-backed NFT isn’t a priority since virtual artworks are “speculative tokens” that can cause total loss of invested funds. Baldwin intimated that this may be the reason the Treasury is halting the NFT project.
This decision shows the the forward-looking approach we are determined to take towards cryptoassets in the UK. pic.twitter.com/cd0tiailBK
— HM Treasury (@hmtreasury) April 4, 2022
Sonak’s initial announcement also never mentioned the NFTs’ utility, only saying that more details would follow. The project attracted harsh criticism from some politicians like Labor MP Rachel Reeves who called it “hopeless” since the country is facing other high-priority issues such as the rising cost of living.
The country is facing a severe cost of living crisis made worse by this Chancellor’s choices.
This is his priority right now.
— Rachel Reeves (@RachelReevesMP) April 5, 2022
The UK Fails to Join Japan, China, South Korea and Tuvalu
If it had launched the project, the UK would have joined the likes of Japan which is open to using Web 3.0 to publicize innovations, with the country’s Prime Minister disclosing that they’ll invest in metaverse and NFTs.
Other countries like China have expressed plans to launch a regulated NFT marketplace, South Korea’s capital has already launched city services on the metaverse and Tuvalu is building a duplicate country in the metaverse.
With the Treasury saying that the NFT project is under review, they’ll likely revisit the decision to sunset the project once the crypto and NFT markets show some maturity.