Published: Mon, October 29, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

The UK government blocks Royal Mint cryptocurrency plan

The UK government blocks Royal Mint cryptocurrency plan

The original launch date for the tokens was set for fall of 2017 and was later postponed to early 2018.

RMG was being developed as an efficient and simple way for investors to purchase and exchange the physical gold held by the Royal Mint, and to act as a new stream of revenue for the institution.

Earlier this year, the Royal Mint, the institution responsible for producing the UK's coins and holding gold, has attracted the attention of the crypto community when it was announced that the organization was launching its own digital currency. However, the UK's finance ministry killed off the initiative-although the Royal Mint did tell Reuters that "we will revisit this if and when market conditions are right". These would then have been available to trade on cryptocurrency exchanges, and had been seen by some commentators as the initial tentative steps towards a more central role for cryptocurrency in mainstream finance.

The project's failure is a major setback for the Royal Mint, and for the broader digital gold use case.

It is believed that CME left the project as its management had changed; nevertheless, this information was revealed by some unofficial sources.

After the Royal Mint attempted to partner up with a new firm, the Treasury reported vetoed the plans, citing the risks they could pose to the government and the reputation of the Royal Mint.

Governments are wary of cryptocurrencies, and few worldwide standards have emerged to tame extreme price volatility, regular thefts from exchanges and the risk that digital currencies could be used to launder money or finance terrorism. The Royal mint is said to be a firm owned by the United Kingdom government.

The sources cited in the report suggested that CME, which launched bitcoin futures in December 2017 and has seen minor-but-growing volumes in this market, may be "cooling" toward this nascent asset class. "CME's management changed, and they walked away, didn't want to get involved", one source told the publication.

Asked to comment, CME said: "It is not correct to say we have "de-emphasised" digitisation and remain committed to pursuing our digitisation strategy".

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