Government-backed non-fungible tokens (NFTs) were in the news last April, after the UK made a bold move to create digital collectibles to foster the country’s commitment to tech. While this was seen as a positive one year ago, a statement released on March 27 has thrown the once-innovative idea into complete disarray.
The Treasury of the UK has nixed the idea of releasing a government-backed NFT which would have placed the country ahead of other crypto-friendly nations as a leading global crypto hub.
Economic uncertainty across the entire decentralized finance (DeFi) sector due to a muddied regulatory picture was cited as one of the main concerns leading to the scrapping of the token. That’s according to statements made by Harriet Baldwin, Chair of the Treasury Select Committee, to the BBC.
Current British PM proposed idea last year
Last April, John Glen, the minister and economic secretary to the Treasury, told an audience at the Innovative Finance Global Summit that then-Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the current Prime Minister, petitioned Royal Mint to make an NFT before the end of summer 2022.
According to Glen, the whole idea was part of the UK’s forward-looking approach towards utilizing the latest technology in the country’s development.
Brutal for NFTs/online worlds and it's not even 8am: Disney has folded down its metaverse team and Rishi Sunak's dream of a UK government issued NFT has ended…. sad!
— Lucy HM (@LHM1) March 28, 2023
While a government-backed “NFT for Britain” now appears off the table, economic secretary Andrew Griffith has made it known that the proposal will remain under review.
Shadow city minister Tulip Siddiq was quick to put the boot in, saying: “I’m glad the Royal Mint has finally made the Conservatives see sense, but we’ve been calling on the chancellor to drop this crypto gimmick for months.”
Global NFT market soars past $50bn in sales
Despite the negative market sentiment occasioned by the UK Treasury’s decision, the digital collectibles market remains the most profitable in the crypto-economy after the deepening of bearishness in the second half of 2022 due to the collapse of Terra and FTX.
Global NFT sales in the past 24 hours stood at $41 million from the activities of 74,786 users involved in more than 180,000 transactions. Lifetime sales volume, meanwhile, has surpassed $50 billion.
Popular NFT project CryptoPunks holds the record for the four highest-selling individual NFTs, Axie Infinity remains the number one NFT collection by all-time sales volume with $4.2 billion, and Vitalik Buterin’s Ethereum remains the biggest NFT blockchain by all-time sales volume of about $38 billion.
NFT users are spread throughout the globe, with the majority hailing from the United States, Thailand, Brazil, China, Vietnam, India, Canada, Indonesia, Germany, and South Africa