Britain announces plans to mint its own NFT

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The minister announced a number of steps the UK will take to bring digital assets under more regulatory scrutiny…reports Asian Lite News

The government has announced plans to mint its own non-fungible token, as part of a push toward becoming a “world leader” in the cryptocurrency space.

Finance Minister Rishi Sunak has asked the Royal Mint — the government-owned company responsible for minting coins for the UK — to create and issue the NFT “by the summer,” City Minister John Glen said at a fintech event in London. “There will be more details available very soon,” he added.

NFTs are digital assets that represent ownership of a virtual item like an artwork or video game avatar using blockchain, the technology that underpins many cryptocurrencies. They’ve gained a lot of traction over the past year thanks to increased adoption from celebrities and large corporations.

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

  • Bring stablecoins within the U.K.’s existing regulations on electronic payments.
  • Consult on a “world-leading regime” for regulating trade in other cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin.
  • Ask the Law Commission to consider the legal status of blockchain-based communities known as decentralized autonomous organizations, or DAOs.
  • Examine the tax treatment of decentralized finance (DeFi) loans and “staking,” which gives crypto users the ability to earn interest on their savings.
  • Establish a Cryptoasset Engagement Group that will be chaired by ministers and host members from UK regulators and crypto businesses.
  • Explore the application of blockchain technology in issuing debt instruments.

“We shouldn’t be thinking of regulation as a static, rigid thing,” Glen said. “Instead, we should be thinking in terms of regulatory ‘code’ — like computer code — which we refine and rewrite when we need to.”

Stablecoins, cryptocurrencies that derive their value from sovereign currencies like the U.S dollar, are a fast-growing but controversial phenomena in the crypto world. Tether, the world’s biggest stablecoin, has a circulating supply of more than $80 billion. But it’s attracted criticism over a lack of transparency around the reserves that back the token. The government is now set to bring stablecoins into the U.K. regulatory system.

Glen said the government was also “widening” its gaze to look at other aspects of crypto, including so-called Web3, a movement that proposes a more decentralized version of the internet built on blockchain technology.

“No one knows for sure yet how Web3 is going to look,” Glen said. “But there’s every chance that blockchain is going to be integral to its development.”

“We want this country to be there leading from the front, seeking out the greatest economic opportunities.”

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