British Isle’s Plan to Mint Physical Bitcoins Loses Key Support

The UK's Royal Mint has reportedly discontinued talks with Alderney about minting physical bitcoins.

AccessTimeIconApr 25, 2014 at 8:20 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 10:42 a.m. UTC

The British Island of Alderney made headlines in the bitcoin world last November when it revealed detailed plans to use bitcoin as part of its financial infrastructure, stating that it would seek to mint physical bitcoins and launch financial service centres devoted to digital currency.

However, those plans are facing new setbacks according to a 25th April report from The Financial Times, which indicates that the UK's Royal Mint, a state-backed body that mints coins in the country, has discontinued discussions related to the project.

Alderney's finance committee chair Robert McDowall told FT that he was disappointed about the withdrawal, given that the decision came just ahead of when plans were scheduled to be finalized.

The island had planned to mint a commemorative bitcoin worth roughly £500 and to release the offering within the next few months.

The news notably follows the Isle of Man's plans to potentially open its doors to digital currency exchanges. The UK dependency is aiming to make only small changes to its statutory instruments to achieve regulation over such businesses.

The Royal Mint did not provide comment to the FT report.

Regulatory hurdles

The decision by Royal Mint to drop out of the discussions reportedly followed another issue with Alderney's larger neighbor Guernsey.

According to the report, Guernsey has told Alderney that it would not approve of Alderney's association with digital currencies due to fear of reputational risk.

The media outlet indicates that Alderney requires Guernsey's approval for such actions, potentially putting the plan in jeopardy.

Hopes remain

Still, while the prospect of Alderney minting physical bitcoins may be dwindling, McDowall is optimistic that digital currencies can become a part of the island's future.

McDowall told FT it is hopeful it will be able to launch an index to track the value of digital currencies, as well as a fund for such projects.

"It would be wonderful to have such an index established in Alderney, however, the index could be sited in another jurisdiction that is more welcoming of financial innovation."

For more information, read the full FT report.

Alderney sunset via Shutterstock


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