Royal Mint freezes plans for a gold digital currency on the blockchain

Emily Nicolle
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Production Of Royal Mint's Commemorative WW1 Centenary Coin
The project would have been a first for a government with a developed economy (Source: Getty)

The Royal Mint has suspended plans to launch a gold digital token, after the government blocked its attempt to list the asset on a cryptocurrency exchange.

Royal Mint Gold (RMG) was first floated as a project to place digital tokens, similar to a gold-backed cryptocurrency, worth up to £1bn on a US-based trading platform run by CME in 2016.

While the launch was scheduled for mid-2017, CME later pulled out of the project at the end of last year. The Mint then turned to a cryptocurrency exchange to list the tokens, but the UK government blocked the plan in February citing it to be too big of a gamble, three sources close to the matter told Reuters.

The Royal Mint could not be reached for comment on the reports at the time of writing. However a spokesperson later issued the following statement:

“Over the last few years, The Royal Mint has been working on the development of a digital gold product, RMG, which was due to launch this spring.

“Sadly, due to market conditions this did not prove possible at this time, but we will revisit this if and when market conditions are right.”

Experts told Reuters the project would have been the first time a government of a developed economy had engaged in collaborating with a cryptocurrency exchange, as fintech startups and other mints race to disrupt the space.

Australia's Perth Mint and the Royal Canadian Mint are two such bodies which have launched digital gold products this year, using technology supplied by fintech startups.

London startup Glint, which allows users to spend and save in physical gold, is set to expand its offering with launches in the US and Japan before the end of the year.