It has been claimed that the “NFT for Britain” promised by the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak, while he was chancellor, is still going to be implemented, even though the digital crypto artwork market is facing a collapse.
Despite being six months late and with no updates on the project, insiders have indicated that Mr. Sunak’s NFT plan has not been scrapped – even though he is now Prime Minister, according to a report by inews on October 27.
Non-fungible tokens, also known as NFTs, are digital representations of works of art that use blockchain technology. In April, while Mr. Sunak was still acting as chancellor, he announced that the Treasury would be jumping on the then-popular NFT trend, which saw a number of corporations and celebrities produce collections of crypto-art.
At the time of the announcement, the Treasury said Sunak had “asked the Royal Mint to create an NFT” that would be issued by the summer to “show the forward-looking approach we are determined to take towards crypto assets in the UK.”
Royal Mint to continue to develop the NFT range
The responsibility for creating the NFT continues to rest with the Royal Mint, who told inews it is “continuing to develop our first NFT range” but did not elaborate on what that would look like. A spokesperson for the company stated, “we will share further details in due course.”
The Treasury Department has refused to comment on the current state of the NFT project, but sources have said that the project has not been quietly shelved and that it is, in fact, still in development. It is expected that the Royal Mint would be paying for the project’s costs “entirely out of its own revenues.”
Notably, Finbold reported NFT monthly trading volume declined for the fifth straight month in September, crashing 97% since its peak. Meanwhile, the sales of NFTs on OpenSea – the largest marketplace for digital collectibles – plummeted in the third quarter of 2022, 60% down compared to the second quarter. At the end of August, it was also revealed that NFT trading volume on OpenSea dropped to a 1-year low.
While Mr. Sunak, who has ties to Silicon Valley, argued that the United Kingdom could become “a worldwide powerhouse for crypto-asset technology,” opponents of the idea, such as the shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves, described the initiative as a vanity project he was working on.
Sunak’s stance on crypto
At a conference for the financial sector in 2021, Mr. Sunak said that he had established a task team to investigate the prospect of introducing a new kind of digital currency – a central bank digital currency (CBDC) given the name “Britcoin.” Its value, in contrast to that of cryptocurrencies, would not fluctuate and would instead be fixed relative to the value of the pound sterling.
The Bank of England has said that it is still “looking at whether we should create a CBDC for the UK in the future” and will conduct a consultation over the project “later in 2022.”
Meanwhile, the Financial Services and Markets Bill, which is now being debated in parliament, has many provisions designed to bring crypto assets within the jurisdiction of regulatory authorities.