Digital assets among issues on table at 2023 APEC Summit



Digital assets is among the key focus areas for the finance ministers of the world’s most powerful economies who are converging in San Francisco this week for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

Sideline meetings for the summit kicked off on November 11, but the official summit is on November 15-17. President Joe Biden’s meeting with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Wednesday stole the show as the two pledged to limit AI use in nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is leading a finance ministers’ meeting focusing on improving economic resilience, sustainable finance, and digital assets.

Yellen, who has issued several warnings on the impact of digital assets on economic stability, says the U.S. government has been engaging with the private sector to chart the path forward for the industry.

These interactions have “enabled us to deepen our collective understanding of the tools that policymakers can use to facilitate the responsible development and use of digital assets, including unbacked crypto-assets, stablecoins, and central bank digital currencies,” Yellen said in her statement.

The Biden administration has explored the benefits and challenges that digital assets pose and how regulators can maintain a high standard, she added.

Under the Biden administration, regulators have ramped up enforcement actions against rogue digital asset operators. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have filed charges against dozens of companies, including the biggest names in the industry, from Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN) and Binance to Kraken and Bittrex.

“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, a former Fed chair, stated.

Yellen is meeting with finance ministers from some of the world’s most progressive digital asset hubs. This includes South Korea’s Deputy Finance Minister Choi Ji-young, who’sleading his country’s delegation. South Korea has established regulations for the industry, with the Financial Services Commission overseeing and licensing market operators.

Japan, a founding member of APEC, is also a leader in digital asset regulation. The country’s well-defined digital asset laws were key in ensuring that Japanese FTX users didn’t lose a dime when the exchange collapsed a year ago.

Hong Kong might be the most progressive APEC member. The city-state has been pushing to become a digital asset hub, and despite the collapse of the JPEX exchange, it remains committed to this pledge.

Watch: U.S. Congressman Patrick McHenry on Blockchain Policy Matters

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