APEC Finance Ministers Discuss Crypto Regulations at San Francisco

Finance ministers from 21 Asia-Pacific countries met in San Francisco last week for a two-day summit hosted by the United States. A major focus of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) finance ministers’ meeting was discussing cryptocurrency regulations and promoting digital innovation in the region.

The officials addressed the challenges posed by the rapid growth of digital assets and how to ensure they are regulated appropriately. There was broad agreement that common standards need to be developed to regulate cryptocurrencies across borders. The finance ministers said they would work together to craft policy responses to the risks of crypto while supporting innovation.

“As we witnessed with the pandemic, digitalization accelerated at a very rapid pace and created both risks and opportunities,” said Sri Mulyani Indrawati, finance minister of Indonesia. “Governments have a role to play to guard against risk while enabling digitalization.”

Cryptocurrency regulation has become an increasingly high priority as adoption spreads. The total market value of cryptocurrencies surpassed $3 trillion last year before falling below $1 trillion in 2022 amid broad risk-off sentiment.

The APEC finance ministers’ statement said member economies would collaborate to monitor risks from crypto-assets and enhance consumer and investor understanding. They also pledged to work on addressing money laundering and terrorist financing risks related to digital assets.

The APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting is part of the larger APEC Economic Leaders’ Week, which aims to establish a strategic agenda and regional goals for the Asia-Pacific region. The event also includes the APEC Ministerial Meeting, where foreign and trade counterparts gather to discuss key issues, and the APEC CEO Summit, which draws business leaders and entrepreneurs to explore sustainable, inclusive, and innovative approaches to building the future.