UK crypto hub and official NFT plans could be back on as Sunak wins leadership

Quick Take

  • Rishi Sunak has been named as the new leader of the UK’s Conservative party, paving the way for him to become prime minister.
  • The elevation to power could reignite his previous plans to launch an NFT with the country’s Royal Mint. 

After several tumultuous months out of ministerial office, Rishi Sunak's coronation as the UK's next prime minister could mean that plans to make the country friendlier to crypto could be back on the cards. 

Sunak won the backing of Conservative politicians to lead the party after his rivals dropped out. He will become the UK's third prime minister this year, following Liz Truss's resignation last week

The former Goldman Sachs analyst proved himself open to the possibilities of digital assets when he served as chancellor between February 2020 and July 2022. In April this year, he set out proposals to make the UK a crypto-friendly tech hub — along with plans for an official NFT collection which was dubbed a "poorly judged gimmick" by critics. He also followed the U.S. in making moves for stablecoins to be brought within regulation, paving their way for use in the UK as a recognized form of payment.

The moves came amid a protracted period of confusion around crypto regulation in the UK, as firms waited for verdicts from the financial regulator on anti-money laundering licensing. The process, conducted through the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), forced many companies to consider their place in the UK market, including crypto market maker B2C2, and wallet firm Wirex, which have all chosen to seek licenses elsewhere. 


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These policies followed meetings with top crypto executives and venture capital firms in the U.S. 

The Treasury minister's meetings log, published on the UK government website, shows Sunak met with Sequoia managing partner Douglas Leone to "discuss the UK’s Venture Capital sector" earlier this yearPrevious disclosures also showed that at the end of last year, Sunak visited California and met with representatives from Sequoia and Andreessen Horowitz, as well as attending a roundtable with companies including Bitwise, Celo, Solana and Iqoniq. 

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Lucy is an editor focusing on NFTs, gaming and the metaverse. Prior to joining she worked as a freelancer, with bylines in Wired, Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications. Follow her on Twitter: @LHM1.