"a global hub for cryptoasset technology"
Rishi Sunak has ordered the Royal Mint to create a government-backed NFT that can be traded online.
The non-fungible tokens are set to be issued by the summer as part of a drive to make the UK a “global cryptoasset hub”.
The government looks to introduce several measures.
It is starting with so-called “stablecoins”. They are cryptocurrencies whose values are pegged into existing currencies such as pounds.
The move to recognise “stablecoins” is intended to pave the way for their use as a recognised form of payment.
At a financial technology conference in London, Mr Sunak’s deputy and the economic secretary to the Treasury John Glenn, said:
“I am announcing today that the Chancellor has asked the Royal Mint to create a non-fungible token – an NFT – to be issued by the Summer, an emblem of the forward-looking approach we are determined to take.”
Mr Glenn went on to say that there would be “more details available very soon” about the project.
He said the British government was “going to prioritise” blockchain technology and could even issue debt and borrow money using the approach.
“Unlike the EU and US, the UK has a small number of regulators, and central government sets the overall framework and can take decisive action. So, we can move very nimbly.
“And, trust me, we have a determined, unified, single-minded government that is going to prioritise this.
“For instance, we’ll be undertaking a programme of work to explore whether it’s possible to apply [distribued ledger technology] DLT to the debt issuance process.
“Could the UK one day issue a debt instrument using DLT? I don’t yet know the answer… but let’s find out.
“And we will lead by example. We are already effectively using crypto-technologies to make government more efficient.”
“We are developing opportunities to use distributed ledger technology for Customs and International Trade, to ease the import of goods, and we will continue to support further opportunities to deploy that technology.”
Rishi Sunak said: “It’s my ambition to make the UK a global hub for cryptoasset technology, and the measures we’ve outlined today will help to ensure firms can invest, innovate and scale up in this country.
“We want to see the 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.
“This is part of our plan to ensure the UK financial services industry is always at the forefront of technology and innovation.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for HM Treasury said:
“This decision shows the forward-looking approach we are determined to take towards cryptoassets in the UK.”