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Tech professionals pour cold water on UK crypto hub plans

Government proposals unlikely to outlast the new Chancellor anyway

UK IT professionals have rejected plans by former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to make the island nation a "global crypo-asset hub."

Whether the blueprint survives this particularly turbulent period in British political history – which has seen Sunak resign to be replaced by Nadhim Zahawi, whose tenure may be short-lived given the resignation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson – is another matter.

Nonetheless, 58 percent of IT specialists said they felt the profession should not support the Treasury's plan to make Britain a global center for crypto-asset technology and investment, including stablecoins and NFTs, according to a poll by the British Computer Society, the Chartered Institute for IT.

Just 29 percent said working technologists should get behind the crypto project, while 13 per cent were neutral.

Meanwhile, only 14 percent of tech experts surveyed said the former Chancellor was right to ask the Royal Mint to launch an NFT this summer.

The large majority of IT pros in the UK – about 77 per cent – were not confident that the intent to recognize and regulate stablecoins would "ensure financial stability and provide wider consumer payment choice." Stablecoins are a form of cryptocurrency usually pegged to another asset or currency such as Sterling.

Despite claims to the contrary, the stablecoin concept has proved anything but stable once faced with economic reality. Stablecoins have played a key role in the collapse of cryptocurrencies in general. "The high-profile collapse of TerraUSD was like gasoline on a fire. The total cryptocurrency market cap has been chopped in half since May, falling from around $1.7 trillion to about $900 billion as of late June," according to Forbes.

At the same time, pegging a blockchain-enabled token may not be the panacea Treasury techbros hope for. Sterling hit a two-year low against the dollar during the turmoil leading up to the Prime Minister's resignation.

Back to the BCS survey, and 69 percent of tech pros in the UK think the public could not have the same level of confidence in stablecoins as in commercial bank money while the Bank of England should not guarantee a stablecoin to cover possible risks.

The former Chancellor has also asked the Royal Mint to launch its own non-fungible token (NFT). Sixty-eight percent of tech specialists said that was a bad idea. ®

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