UK’s New Technology Department to Tackle Country’s Metaverse, Web3 Strategy

The U.K.’s newly formed Department of Science, Innovation and Technology will advance the country’s metaverse and Web3 strategy, an individual familiar with the matter not authorized to speak publicly told CoinDesk.

The country’s 2023 Spring Budget, released in March, said the government wanted to “lead on the future of web technology, sometimes known as Web3 or the metaverse.” The new tech department, set up in February, will lead the charge in this work. The department’s work will not focus on specific technologies like blockchain and virtual reality but will instead look at potential economic growth opportunities, investment and business models associated with concepts including the Metaverse and Web3, along with implications for regulation, according to the source.

The metaverse, which is a collection of virtual worlds where people can buy and sell things, was described as a $13 trillion dollar opportunity by investment bank Citigroup. Meta – formerly known as Facebook – dove into the sector, shifting much of its operations to focus on building the metaverse, though the recent crypto winter has put a damper on its growth.

The U.K. government has said its science and technology framework will be supported by more than 370 million British pounds ($463 million) in new funding “to boost infrastructure, investment and skills for the U.K.’s most exciting growing technologies, from quantum and supercomputing through to artificial intelligence.”

It’s not clear how much of that money has been dedicated to the tech department and its metaverse work. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who had previously vowed to turn the country into a crypto hub, said the department was put in place to turn scientific and technical innovations into “practical solutions to the challenges we face.”

CoinDesk has reached out to the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology for comment.

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Edited by Sandali Handagama and Nikhilesh De.

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