The United Kingdom Government is canceling the Royal Mint NFT collection originally planned for the summer of 2022. This decision was made in part by the UK Treasury and announced earlier this month by the Economic Secretary of the Treasury, Andrew Griffith. Why did the UK cancel the Royal Mint NFT project?
Why did the UK cancel the Royal Mint NFT project?
Many lawmakers questioned the legitimacy of the project since its proposal in April 2022. Some opponents went as far as to express skepticism as to the inherent value of NFT technology itself. For example, Harriet Baldwin, the chair of the Treasury Select Committee, warned, “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.”
Critics also pointed to the recent events in the crypto market as cause for concern. The industry is still reeling from the implosion of FTX amidst widespread fraud in which the crypto company misappropriated $10b of customer funds. As a result, many government agencies are vowing to take a larger role in regulating the growing space.
The idea of the UK Government selling crypto assets to citizens further complicates regulatory issues. The government, many argue, should be in charge of regulating crypto assets, not selling them. If the government starts profiting from the sale of NFTs, it could present a conflict of interest in providing adequate safeguards for UK citizens.
What was the Royal Mint NFT project?
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is an outspoken crypto advocate. He hopes to transform the UK into a leading global hub of blockchain commerce and development. As part of this ambition, Sunak asked the Royal Mint, the UK’s oldest company and official maker of British coins, to create an NFT collection last summer. This project never came to fruition, however, and details of the project never emerged.
As of today, the UK Treasury’s official stance is that the project will remain, “under review”.