The UK government is making a bold move into the digital future with its newly formed Department of Science, Innovation and Technology. Tasked with advancing the country’s metaverse and Web3 strategy, the department aims to explore economic growth, investment, business opportunities, and regulatory implications in these emerging areas.
The 2023 Spring Budget highlighted the government’s ambition to “lead on the future of web technology, sometimes known as Web3 or the metaverse.” As a result, the new tech department, established in February, will spearhead this endeavor. Rather than focusing on specific technologies like blockchain and virtual reality, the department will examine the potential economic growth opportunities, investment, and business models associated with the Metaverse and Web3, along with their regulatory implications.
Citigroup has described the metaverse, a collection of virtual worlds where people can buy and sell things, as a $13 trillion opportunity. Major companies like Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook) have shifted their focus toward building the metaverse. However, the recent crypto winter has slowed its growth.
A Department for Science, Innovation and Technology spokesperson stated, “The Government is committed to ensuring the UK is ahead of the curve on the future of web technology and maximizing the potential of Web3 and Metaverse.” They emphasized the department’s pro-innovation approach, aiming to maximize new technologies’ potential while minimizing any harms to the economy, security, and society.
The UK government’s science and technology framework will be supported by over £370 million (about $463 million) in new funding to bolster infrastructure, investment, and skills for the country’s most exciting growing technologies, ranging from quantum and supercomputing to artificial intelligence.
While it’s unclear how much of that funding is dedicated to the tech department’s metaverse work, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has stated that the department was established to transform scientific and technical innovations into “practical solutions to the challenges we face.”