Gizmodo points out that the United Kingdom’s next prime minister, Rishi Sunak, “is a certified Crypto Bro who once requested that the Royal Mint issue an NFT.” From the report: During his tenure as finance minister under former PM Boris Johnson, Sunak was in charge of advancing a number of crypto-related initiatives that sought to normalize digital currencies and integrate them into the British economy. By all accounts, he is the first crypto enthusiast to serve in the UK’s top office. He’s also the first person of color and the youngest PM — 42 years old — that Britain’s had in 200 years. To be fair, Sunak’s efforts at crypto promotion have at least trended towards regulation and taxation as opposed to total laissez faire deregulated madness — though those efforts could, ultimately, simply normalize a phenomenon that critics say is redundant at best and a privacy hazard at worst. In April, Sunak announced a series of programs to turn the UK into what he called a “global cryptoasset technology hub.” Among the initiatives announced at the time was a plan to integrate stablecoins into the national payment system, thus “paving their way for use in the UK as a recognized form of payment.” Considered to be the least volatile form of cryptocurrency, stablecoins have seen more interest by governments than other forms of crypto — though projects like Terra and Tether have shown the potential danger in putting too much faith in the assets’ stability.
Sunak’s plans also suggested creating additional regulations that would’ve helped further incorporate crypto into the UK’s economic and legal framework, thus spurring greater investment in the space. “The measures we’ve outlined today will help to ensure firms can invest, innovate and scale up in this country,” Sunak wrote in a press release published at the time. Another ambitious initiative pushed by Sunak was the Financial Services and Markets Bill, a piece of legislation that would give local governments in Britain broad discretion to regulate cryptocurrencies, thus further assimilating them into the nation’s economy. The bill, which has not yet passed, is currently being looked at by Parliament.
At the same time, Sunak also recently backed a study to look at the potential benefits of creating a central bank digital currency (CBDC), or “Britcoin” as he dubbed it. Proponents of CBDCs argue that they could have benefits for spenders, making payments “faster, cheaper, and more secure,” as one op-ed puts it. However, critics argue that they are unnecessary and could ultimately spell huge privacy troubles, given the trackable nature of crypto and digital currencies. Despite his crypto track record, analysts have suggested that is is unlikely Sunak will have time to focus much on any web3-related initiatives in the near term. Given Britain’s current economic dumpster fire, any work on “Britcoin” might have to take a backseat.
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