Mintable CEO warns UK about overregulation of NFTs

Mintable CEO warns UK about overregulation of NFTs

Zach Burks, the CEO of Mintable, has voiced concerns over the United Kingdom’s approach to regulating non-fungible tokens (NFTs). He fears that the government’s understanding of NFTs remains outdated, potentially leading to inappropriate regulations.

Mintable CEO offers his take

In a recent interview with Cointelegraph, Burks expressed that a U.K. parliamentary committee report exaggerated NFTs’ role in copyright infringement. He argued that NFTs are in a “transition phase”, evolving beyond being mere volatile digital images to having utility in various industries.

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s Oct. 11 report emphasized protecting artists from copyright infringement related to NFTs. While Burks agreed on the importance of copyright protections, he pointed out that these are broader internet issues, not exclusive to NFTs.

He drew parallels with platforms like WordPress, YouTube, and Spotify, which also grapple with copyright issues despite their massive resources and efforts. Burks believes the problem isn’t unique to NFTs and shouldn’t be treated as such.

A wide spectrum of utility

Burks revealed his ongoing discussions with U.K. officials, urging them to adopt a more nuanced view of NFTs. He stressed NFTs’ versatility, citing applications in car records, property records, bank settlements, supply chains, and even biofuels:

“It’s not just a piece of artwork or a financial instrument. […] An NFT is effectively a website,”

Burks highlighted the risk of oversimplification in regulations, pointing to the committee’s recommendation to apply the EU 17 copyright directive to NFTs. He argued this approach fails to recognize NFTs’ broad potential and diverse applications.

The committee’s focus was on the intellectual property risks posed by the ease of minting NFTs. They suggested a narrow regulatory framework, but Burks cautioned against such a limited view:

“When you say all NFTs need this one element of regulatory coverage, this is the equivalent of saying, ‘We need this one piece of legislation that covers this piece of technology,’ which might’ve started at the Edison light bulb but now we’re dealing with Teslas,”

Following Singapore’s example

Burks commended the regulatory approach in Singapore, where the government assesses NFTs based on their specific use cases. This method allows for more accurate and appropriate regulations.

“Regulators in Singapore look at what an NFT actually is, and then they go from there,” – Zach Burks, Mintable CEO

In summary, Burks urged the U.K. to reconsider its stance on NFT regulation. He advocates for a more informed and nuanced approach, recognizing the technology’s evolving nature and diverse potential. Without this, the U.K. risks stifling innovation and misapplying regulations in the rapidly evolving world of NFTs.

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