The appointment of Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister is good news for cryptocurrency adoption and FinTech in general, the industry believes.

Sunak resigned as Chancellor this summer as he felt his approach to the economy was “fundamentally too different” to that of then PM Boris Johnson. 

A fiscal Conservative, he believes in boosting productivity and empowering tech businesses to raise living standards across the board. However his stint in the Cabinet was characterised by crisis management as COVID-19 threatened to cause mass unemployment, leading to initiatives such as the furlough scheme which went against his core instincts.

Once something approaching normal service resumed, he and Johnson failed to see eye-to-eye, with BBC economics editor Faisal Islam reporting that Sunak was keen to discuss the impact of inflation publicly while No.10 preferred to borrow more and tax less.

After Johnson was ousted from office, Sunak was seen as a credible successor – but a Conservative membership which saw him as disloyal opted for Liz Truss. Following a disastrous 44 days in office, Truss departed and Sunak is now installed following talks with Johnson, who was considering an unlikely comeback.

During his time as finance minister under former Johnson, Sunak announced he wanted to turn the UK into a ‘global hub for crypto’. He helped usher in the Financial Services and Markets Bill, currently making its way through Parliament, seen as a global lead in the push for the regulation of cryptocurrency and digital assets. The Royal Mint was even commissioned to create a non-fungible token (NFT) collection.

“Rishi Sunak has always been vocal about his pro-crypto stance, particularly CBDCs (central bank digital currencies),” said Pavel Matveev, CEO of UK-based and FCA-regulated crypto payments firm Wirex.

“In July this year he was pushing ahead with a new law that will pave the way for everyday crypto payments, despite the Bank of England having fears about the stability of the technology.  Back in April, Sunak laid out his ambition that he wants Britain to be a ‘global hub’ for crypto and the technology, and that stablecoins should be accepted as a form of payment. 

“In order to do so, this means that he would likely encourage investment and the growth of businesses related to the field. We are optimistic that we can achieve this  in the UK – and look forward to seeing what the government can do for the crypto sector.”

Andrew Megson, CEO of My Pension Expert, said: “An incredible amount of chaos has ensued in the six weeks since Rishi Sunak’s failed first attempt to become Prime Minister. Now, he has the chance to prove himself – in the biggest way possible – by extinguishing the fires set alight during Truss’ 45-day reign of market crashes and embarrassing U-turns.

“Market stability will be a priority. Sunak’s first leadership campaign was led on a promise of fiscally conservative policies, which has already pleased the markets and given the pound a boost. However, it’s also crucial that the new PM focuses on immediate reassurances for Britons struggling to stay afloat amid a soaring cost-of-living crisis. Confirming his stance on key policies such as the triple lock, or benefits cuts, would be a step in the right direction.

“Sunak will be keen to hit the ground running and deliver on his previous promises of fiscal responsibility. However, he must balance this with the appropriate support, if he is to restore the public’s confidence in their financial futures, and indeed Tory economic policy. Only time will tell if this will be the case.”

‘Stark divide’ in UK’s regional tech sector could hold back growth

Blockchain tech to tackle counterfeiting

A new blockchain-powered technology that protects ownership and tackles the growing blight of counterfeiting has been quickly adopted by businesses keen to protect themselves and their customers. 

UK-based DNA – Database of Native Assets – officially launches its tech solution this week.

It claims to create unique digital passports which prove authenticity and ownership of jewellery, collectibles, art, rarities and luxury goods. This information is then safeguarded on the Kadena blockchain platform. 

DNA is said to be built for mass adoption and users of all skill sets as a plug & play solution that facilitates a brand’s transition into Web3 without the need for complicated blockchain infrastructure. 

This week Sotheby’s announced the sale of a highly valuable Paraiba Tourmaline ring from Austrian jeweller Schullin which was verified with a DNA Native Asset. 

The handmade platinum ring features a 49,88ct natural oval-cut Paraiba Tourmaline and 60 baguette-cut diamonds and is worth between £140,000-£180,000. 

“We’re very impressed by what DNA has created and the solution they offer – it made sense to use the technology for the upcoming Sotheby’s sale, which features a unique piece,” said Lukas Schullin, manager at Schullin Wien.

“We’ve explored a number of digital verification solutions in the past but none work as effectively and seamlessly as this one.

“For us, simplicity and ease of use is what sets it apart. The fact it can be used by anyone makes it the perfect solution for all of our customers including those who may not be particularly tech savvy.

“It offers the power and security of the blockchain without all the headache of having crypto currency and a digital wallet.”

In Crypto: Disney launches first ‘metaverse’

Cryptocurrency shorts

UpsideDAO has raised $5 million to invest in Web3 projects. The community fund, which utilises a blockchain voting mechanism, will invest up to $100,000 on projects that receive 75% approval from members.

Synota has raised $3 million in a seed round led by Ego Death Capital. The startup, which wants to bring energy payments to Bitcoin’s Lightning Network, was also backed by Trammell Venture Partners, Rev1 Ventures, Hivemind VC, Bitcoiner Ventures and Recursive Capital.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange has created a blockchain-based platform to expand its trading services to cryptocurrencies and other digital assets.

Sheffield-based designer and 3D NFT artist Amy Kilner has launched a design house called ‘Skyhi Creative’. Claiming interest from Fatboy Slim and tech investor Steven Bartlett, it aims to collaborate with talent across graphic design, motion design, NFT art and 3D design.

Stage Inc., the creator of metaverse-building platform Stageverse, has launched an AI-generated fashion design tool for avatars. When people type a prompt into the Avatar Fashion Studio – e.g. psychedelic, smiley face, pink, blue – the Stable Diffusion AI text-to-image generator creates patterns inspired by these words. These can then be applied to their avatar’s clothing, worn in-world, shared with friends and potentially traded as NFTs.

Crypto prices

The overall market cap of the 21,400 coins is at $932 billion at the time of writing (7am UK), a 0.1% increase in the last 24 hours.

For round-ups of recent cryptocurrency news developments, click here.

For valuations of the top 100 coins by market cap in US dollars, plus 24-hour price change, see below.