The UK government has announced the creation of a new 'Royal Mint' NFT, which it plans to issue by the summer.
The announcement was made on Her Majesty's Treasury's Twitter account, stating the decision "shows the forward-looking approach we are determined to take toward cryptoassets in the UK."
The announcement tweet was followed up shortly after by a second tweet, directing users toward additional information about the government's plans "to make the UK a global cryptoasset hub". The page outlines several points in the Treasury's plan, which include bringing "Stablecoins" (cryptoassets that are pegged to a reserve-asset, typically a fiat currency) into regulation, and legislation for a 'financial market infrastructure sandbox', to help firms innovate in the crypto space." The Royal Mint NFT is intended to be "an emblem" of the UK's "forward-looking approach" to cryptoassets.
It's an…interesting time for the UK government to be announcing an NFT project. There is increasing evidence that the NFT craze is an unsustainable bubble, with Fortune reporting that the average sale price of an NFT dropped by over sixty percent between January and March, while the total market value of NFTs has dropped from $23 billion to $10 billion. This drop in value has likely been precipitated by the abundance of scams that have ravaged the reputation of NFTs – which, let's face it, wasn't exactly great to start with.
Moreover, the UK is currently in the midst of an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis. Energy bills, food prices, and mortgage interest rates are all soaring, while the government's response to these problems has been at best underwhelming and at worst outright disdainful. Announcing a national NFT project at this time is like waving a picture of some magic beans in front of a starving man. The government has offered no details whatsoever about how their NFT will work, what it will represent ownership of, how many NFTs will be minted, or what the funds generated by these NFTs will be used for.
The announcement embodies everything people hate about NFTs—offering no clarity about what it is, what it's good for, or what you get from buying in. The usual reason for such vagueness is that it's a scam designed to funnel money upward to a handful of shady individuals in a way that cannot be traced. But I'm sure the UK Government would never do something like that.