British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has ordered the Royal Mint to create a non-fungible token (NFT), a new type of digital asset stored on a blockchain, a decentralized ledger of transactions also used for cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.
But unlike cryptocurrencies, which are fungible (or interchangeable) because each unit carries the same monetary value, NFTs represent something unique – each with a different “value,” so to speak, and each with a certifiable owner. NFTs can also take the form of “crypto-collectibles” with varying levels of scarcity or rarity.
“This decision shows the forward-looking approach we are determined to take towards cryptoassets in the U.K.,” the British Treasury tweeted on April 4. The 1,136-year-old institution better known for minting coins is expected to issue its first NFT this summer.
In March, the Ukrainian government announced it would issue NFTs to help finance its military expenditures following Russia’s all-out invasion of the country. Last year, the global NFT market reached $25.5 billion US (about $32.2 billion Cdn.) – up from just $100 million US in 2020 – according to DappRadar, a firm tracking digital asset sales.