A lot has changed since the controversial policy was unveiled in April. The crypto markets have fallen substantially, and Britain's Prime Minister is being replaced.
The British government is vowing to push ahead with plans to create its very own non-fungible token — despite being thrown into disarray after the Prime Minister resigned.
Back in April, Chancellor Rishi Sunak had unveiled plans to transform the U.K. into a "global cryptoasset hub." Stablecoins would be recognized as a valid payment method — and the Royal Mint, the organization that's responsible for issuing British coins, would release an NFT.
All very ambitious, but the strategy was thrown into doubt after Sunak announced he was quitting his role in response to a plethora of controversies facing Boris Johnson. The Conservative government is now in the process of selecting a new leader — and at the moment, Sunak is the frontrunner.
Some rival politicians have accused the government of having misplaced priorities — arguing that the time and effort placed into launching an NFT would be better placed in tackling the cost-of-living crisis, with inflation surging. But an adamant spokesperson for the Treasury told London's Daily Telegraph:
"We are firmly committed to putting the U.K. at the forefront of crypto-asset technology and innovation by capitalizing on the freedoms gained by leaving the European Union."
Indeed, it's very possible that Britain's hopes of becoming a leader in crypto could be emboldened further should Sunak be named as the next Prime Minister on Sept. 5. However, the multimillionaire faces stiff competition from rival candidates — and if successful, would have a staggering intray when in office.
The Telegraph claims that the Royal Mint's NFTs would be an extension of the collectible merchandise it already offers, and the organization has vowed to share further details about its non-fungible tokens in due course.
A Changing Market
Of course, a lot has changed since this policy was unveiled back on April 4. Bitcoin was worth $46,000 then — and since, this cryptocurrency's value has more than halved. Ether's fared even worse… and trading volumes on major NFT marketplaces have been in freefall, too.
The British government has also been on a collision course with the Bank of England, which has long argued that cryptocurrencies lack intrinsic value — and anyone who buys private digital assets should be prepared to lose all their money.
In light of this dramatic reversal, a number of critics have questioned whether embracing crypto is a good idea. Officials hope it would give the U.K. an upper hand after its departure from the European Union, but the current climate means this is not guaranteed. One scathing critic at The Daily Telegraph recently wrote:
"It's hard to see what we gain by continuing this infatuation."