APEC’s Finance Ministers Advocate Responsible Development and Use of Digital Assets
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit took place in San Francisco, spotlighting the future of Web3 and digital assets.
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit took place in San Francisco, has placed a spotlight on the future of digital assets, bringing together finance ministers from 21 economies across Asia, North America, and South America.
The week-long summit has delved into discussions on priority areas for long-term economic strategies, with an unwavering focus on sustainability.
In her opening remarks during the finance ministers’ meeting last week, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen outlined the summit’s dedication to long-term priorities and sustainability, with focus extended to the rapidly evolving landscape of digital assets, including unsecured crypto assets, stablecoins and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).
“Sharing insights and partnering with the private sector allows us to deepen our collective understanding of the tools policymakers can use to promote responsible development and use of digital assets,” remarked Yellen.
She expressed anticipation in hearing perspectives on the long-term role of digital assets and blockchain technology in global financial systems and authorities’ approaches to regulatory oversight.
APEC – is an inter-governmental forum for 21 member economies in the Pacific Rim, and serves as a platform for discussions on regional economic cooperation.
Many regard Asia as the growing hub in blockchain development, with advancements in the metaverse, crypto trading, and adoption. APEC’s inclusive membership structure, accommodating economies like Hong Kong and Taiwan, emphasizes the region’s commitment to fostering economic collaboration.
This calls for a brief examination of the crypto regulations and environment for some of the larger economies of East Asia and Southeast Asia.
Crypto Environment Across the East and Southeast Asia
China remains steadfast in its ban on cryptocurrency-related activities. Transactions and mining are explicitly prohibited. However, the country is actively developing its Central Bank Digital Currency, known as the digital renminbi (e-CNY), introducing a twist to its regulatory approach.
In Japan, the Financial Services Agency (FSA) takes the regulatory helm and has strict regulations around Crypto Asset Exchange Services (CAES). Additionally, in South Korea, the recent amendments to the Financial Transaction Reports Act (FTRA) have posed challenges for Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs). The partnership with commercial banks is mandated, with critics citing difficulties, costs, and delays benefiting major exchanges.
Likewise, Indonesia does not allow Crypto for payments, but commodities exchange oversight by The Commodity Futures Trading Regulatory Agency (CoFTRA) permits trading in limited cryptocurrencies. Thailand prohibits crypto for payments, citing concerns about volatility and security.
Hong Kong has released guidelines restricting direct crypto investment to Professional Investors. Retail investors can access certain crypto investments via futures and ETFs, subject to specific conditions.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) enforces stringent licensing processes under the Payment Services Act (PSA). Licensing requirements extend to Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) offering services to foreign citizens, emphasizing anti-money laundering procedures and international standards.
However, in Malaysia cryptocurrencies are considered securities under the Capital Markets and Services Order 2019. Digital asset exchanges must comply with anti-money laundering guidelines, ensuring due diligence for all customers.
For Philippines, crypto is not a legal tender. Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) must obtain a license to operate as money-sending businesses, adhering to customer due diligence and reporting requirements.
Vietnam said it is actively exploring legislation to control risks without hampering other sectors, offering an exciting and rapidly growing market for crypto.
As the regulatory landscape continues to shape the future of cryptocurrency in East and Southeast Asia, the industry faces a delicate balancing act between innovation and compliance.
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