APEC finance ministers to share perspectives on crypto at meeting in San Francisco

The weeklong Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit began on Nov. 11 in San Francisco. The highlight of the event will surely be on the sidelines, when United States President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Ping meet on Nov. 15. But with the focus of the organization being on the regional economy, the finance ministers’ meeting is also of primary importance.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in her opening speech at the finance ministers’ meeting on Nov. 13 that they will discuss “priority areas [that] are oriented toward the long-term,” with a heavy emphasis on sustainability. They will also hold one session devoted to supply-side economics and another on digital assets. Yellen mentioned unbacked crypto assets, stablecoin and central bank digital currency specifically.

“Sharing insights and engaging with the private sector has enabled us to deepen our collective understanding of the tools that policymakers can use to facilitate the responsible development and use of digital assets,” Yellen said. She added:

“I look forward to hearing your perspectives on the long-term role that digital assets and blockchain technologies can play in our respective financial systems, as well as how your authorities plan to approach regulatory oversight of their development and use.”

Yellen met with top Chinese economic official He Lifeng on Nov. 9 and 10. While cryptocurrency trading has been effectively banned in China since 2021, the country has taken a world-leading role in the development of central bank digital currency.

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The perspectives Yellen will hear at the Nov. 13 meeting may be at odds with her own position, as the Biden administration is widely seen as not strongly favorable to crypto, and many consider Asia to be taking the lead in blockchain development. Asian economies have made notable strides in the metaverse, crypto trading and adoption.

APEC is made up of 21 Pacific-region “economies” in Asia, North America and South America. Membership is open to economies rather than countries to allow Hong Kong and Taiwan a place at the table without controversy. Ripple was a major (diamond-level) sponsor of the summit.

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