THE Chancellor has asked the Royal Mint to create a non-fungible token (NFT) in a move which has been widely mocked.

Rishi Sunak has tasked the 1136-year-old institution, responsible for making British coins, with dreaming up and minting a new non-physical digital asset.

An NFT is a unique piece of data stored in a unit which can be traded and sold. The data is held in a blockchain, the same system used to sell cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

NFTs have been popularised by celebrities who buy online tokens giving them the sole ownership rights of digital images, often in the form of cartoon monkeys called Bored Apes.

The Treasury has not confirmed any further details of the Royal Mint NFT such as what it will look like, if it will create more than one or what it will be used for.

A Treasury spokesman told The Guardian more details would be announced “soon”.

Announcing a wider package of measures today, the Chancellor confirmed his ambitions to “make the UK a global hub for cryptoasset technology”.

The Treasury said the Royal Mint’s NFT would be “an emblem of the forward-looking approach the UK is determined to take”.

Sunak also committed to introducing “stablecoins” – a cryptocurrency which is tied to assets such as fiat currencies or commodities – in the UK and for them to become a regulated and recognised form of payment. 

He said: “It’s my ambition to make the UK a global hub for cryptoasset technology, and the measures we’ve outlined today will help to ensure firms can invest, innovate and scale up in this country.

“We want to see the businesses of tomorrow – and the jobs they create - here in the UK, and by regulating effectively we can give them the confidence they need to think and invest long-term.

“This is part of our plan to ensure the UK financial services industry is always at the forefront of technology and innovation.”

But the announcement was met with derision on social media, with many pointing out the news comes soon after a Spring Statement that many feel will not do enough to tackle to cost of living crisis.

Lewis Iwu, the CEO of the Purpose Union strategy firm, tweeted: “Poorly judged announcement giving the cost of living crisis. Feels symbolic for all the wrong reasons.”

TV presenter and art historian Bendor Grosvenor added: “This is grim. Government endorsement of NFTs, from the department you might think would know better than to inflate speculative bubbles.”