'Extremely interesting': Judith Collins researching cryptocurrencies, NFTs for 'opportunities for NZ'

Former National leader Judith Collins says she finds cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and artificial intelligence (AI) "extremely interesting".

The Papakura MP and National party spokesperson for economic development, science and innovation told Newshub she was "researching these areas for opportunities for New Zealand" after she was featured in a viral tweet from Bitcoin Magazine, which has over two million followers.

The magazine quoted Collins as saying Bitcoin was "incredibly exciting", accompanied by a picture of her.

That came after Collins had herself tweeted about the news that two NFTs of New Zealand artist CF Goldie sold for way above market expectations.

The two items at Webbs auction house went for $51,250 and $76,250, despite having a guide price of just $5000 and $8000 respectively.

A reply to Collins's tweet implied bitcoin was better than NFTs, to which Collins replied "It's incredibly exciting".

Despite it being unclear if she was referring to bitcoin, NFTs or both, Bitcoin Magazine then shared her quote with its followers.

If there was a misunderstanding of what she meant then Collins didn't seem to mind - she retweeted Bitcoin Magazine's tweet to her 35,000 followers.

Collins was less forthcoming when someone suggested they were waiting for an NFT featuring the MP. She replied with a simple smiling face emoji wearing sunglasses.

There was a positive response to the magazine's tweet, with someone suggesting: "We will use her to take down Jacinda Arden".

Another said they hoped she knew what she was talking about.

"The people from New Zealand deserve something better than their current totalitarian COVID regime," they wrote.

Some Kiwis took the opportunity to enjoy a laugh, however.

One showed the picture to his wife and said she replied she wasn't surprised the price of bitcoin "is tanking if they are using Collins as advertising".

The cryptocurrency is currently trading at just under $55,000 per coin, but this is down from a high of over $94,000 in November, a loss of over 40 percent of its value.

Last July, Parliament's Finance and Expenditure Committee announced an inquiry into cryptocurrencies, saying it would look at the benefits of them as well as the risks to both users and New Zealand as a whole.

In September the Reserve Bank sought public feedback on the potential prospect of a stablecoin digital currency for Aotearoa.

Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies that are tied to more traditional currencies - in this case likely the existing NZ dollar.

The declining use, acceptance and availability of hard cash along with innovations like stablecoins make this an opportune time, the bank said.

El Salvador is currently the only country in the world where bitcoin is legal tender.

Despite strong support from President Nayib Bukele, it had a mixed response from citizens in the Central American republic, with protests on the streets after its introduction.