Natalie Elphicke MP spoke at a gathering of 51 nations in the Metaverse, setting out the UK’s national priorities for blockchain and Web 3 technology. The MP, who appeared as an avatar, spoke in her capacity as the chair of the Parliamentary APPG for Blockchain Technologies, which she launched in Parliament in September.
Natalie had set up the new parliamentary group, which has membership from Lords and MPs, following a meeting in August with Dover-based business ALS Customs Service. Hearing about the importance of blockchain technology for customs and international trade persuaded her to get involved in raising understanding and awareness of the importance of these new technologies to Dover.
Natalie met with ALS Chief Executive Richard Catt and Senior Consultant Michael Douglas in August. They discussed the company’s work in blockchain technology for customs and trade. This technology will create easier, frictionless trade across borders. It will also reduce tax fraud, ensuring that import taxes are paid in full.
The new Blockchain Technologies All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) launched on 13th September 2023. It aims to raise awareness of the potential of blockchain for UK businesses – especially to deliver digital borders, which will benefit Dover and Dover businesses.
Natalie said: “Dover is the gateway and guardian of the nation. The trade passing through our port is vital to the local and national economy. Digital borders and blockchain technology will help speed trade and cut costs.
“With our new digital and creative skills campus being built with £ 18 million of Government funding in the heart of Dover and the exciting opportunities of TechFort on the Western Heights, we are increasingly well placed for the digital future. Our young people should have the support and skills they need to be ready to make the most of these new technologies – and to benefit from increased employment opportunities here in Dover & Deal.
“I am a great believer in modern, efficient and digital borders. Meeting with Richard and Michael at ALS highlighted how important blockchain and other new technology developments will be to our future borders and trade. I’m looking forward to working with our national experts on this important work – as well as supporting ALS and our other local businesses involved in imports and exports.”
“To deliver “single window” digital borders for the UK, we need the confidence and assurance that comes with blockchain. Right now, industry and Government aren’t ready for this. I hope the work we are doing in Parliament through the APPG for blockchain technologies will help to accelerate the UK’s national preparedness and ability to deliver that vision delivering frictionless, effective, strong borders.”
Speaking about her appearance in the metaverse as an avatar, Natalie Elphicke said:
“An MP appearing in the metaverse as an avatar to 51 other nations doesn’t happen every day and stirred a lot of interest! If these technologies are going to become everyday, then Parliamentarians who are charged with writing the laws need to know about them too.”
The new group, which Natalie chairs, also includes leading MPs and Lords, including Lord Vaizey of Didcot, the UK’s former Government Minister for Digital, and Alun Cairns MP, former Secretary of State, amongst others.