APEC finance ministers will meet in San Francisco to talk about crypto

By: Mark Jessy

APEC finance ministers will meet in San Francisco to talk about crypto

November 14, 2023 4:39 AM

In a recent interview, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen expressed her eagerness to hear from the finance ministers of the world's most crypto-forward nations.

On November 11, APEC leaders gathered in San Francisco for a week-long meeting. The meeting between Vice President Joe Biden of the United States and President Xi Ping of China, scheduled for November 15, will likely be the event's most talked-about sideshow attraction. However, the major significance of the finance ministers' meeting also stems from the organization's concentration on the regional economy.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated in her opening remarks at the finance ministers' conference on Nov. 13 that they will examine "priority areas [that] are oriented toward the long-term," with a particular emphasis on sustainability. One discussion will focus on supply-side economics, and another will examine digital assets. In her remarks, Yellen made explicit reference to digital currencies issued by central banks, stablecoins, and unbacked cryptocurrencies.

"We have managed to broaden our understanding of the mechanisms available to policymakers that promote responsible development and utilization of digital assets by exchanging insights and working with the business sector," according to Yellen. To which she elaborated:

"I'm interested in learning more about the regulatory supervision your government plans to implement for the growth and use of digital assets and blockchain technologies in our respective financial systems."

On November 9 and 10, Yellen met with China's top economic official, He Lifeng. Although China has virtually prohibited cryptocurrency trading as of 2021, the country has taken the lead in developing central bank digital money.

The opinions Yellen would hear at the Nov. 13 meeting may be at variance with her position, as the Biden administration is usually considered to not be supportive of crypto, and many perceive Asia to be taking the lead in blockchain research. In the Asian economies, the metaverse, crypto trading, and adoption have all made significant progress.

Twenty-one "economies" from Asia, North America, and South America make up the APEC. For the peaceful inclusion of Hong Kong and Taiwan, membership is accessible to economies rather than governments. When it comes to summit sponsors, Ripple was a diamond-level sponsor.