Treasury scraps plans for a Royal Mint NFT

Royal Mint NFT Image credit: Sean Aidan Calderbank via Shutterstock

Plans for a government-backed non-fungible token (NFT) made by the Royal Mint have been dropped for now, according to the Treasury.

Rishi Sunak revealed plans for a British NFT, to be produced by the Royal Mint, as part of his initial embrace of cryptoassets back in April 2022.

Sunak, who was then serving as the chancellor, declared his ambition to turn the UK into a “global cryptoasset hub”. This goal was to be supported by a Bank of England-backed stablecoin and the NFT, which would act as an “emblem” of the UK’s crypto future.

The Treasury has, however, announced it is “not proceeding with the launch” after discussing the plans with the Royal Mint.

“We have not yet seen a lot of evidence that our constituents should be putting their money in these speculative tokens unless they are prepared to lose all their money,” said Harriet Baldwin, chair of the Treasury Select Committee.

“So perhaps that is why the Royal Mint has made this decision in conjunction with the Treasury.”

Despite the announcement, economic secretary Andrew Griffiths said that the “NFT for Britain” was still “under review”, rather than cancelled entirely.

It has been almost one year since Sunak’s speech in which he said: “We want to see the [cryptocurrency] 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.”

Since then, there have been only minimal developments in the government’s cryptoasset goals. The sterling-pegged stablecoin, often referred to as the ‘Britcoin’, has yet to materialise beyond the Treasury and the Bank of England stating it will “likely” be made eventually.

The government has also not yet enforced a regulatory framework for crypto. However, it did lay out a general crypto regulation plan in February.