By: ANNA LEAH E. GONZALES – The Manila Times |

THE Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) expects to secure investments worth at least $3 million (P160.38 million) after issuing provisional licenses to three cryptoexchanges in the ecozone.

During the formal awarding of these licenses in Pasay City on Tuesday, Raymundo T. Roquero, CEZA deputy administrator for planning, business development and planning, said two of the exchanges were from Hong Kong and the third from Thailand.

He identified Hong Kong’s Golden Millennial Quickplay Inc. Ltd. (GMQ) as the first recipient.

He said the license applications of the other two have been approved, but their licenses are yet to be released.

“These are offshore companies, and they have committed investments of $1 million (P534.6 million) [each],” Roquero said of the exchanges on the sidelines of the event.

“GMQ intends to build [its]infrastructure in Sta. Ana, Cagayan…and will have an incubation period of two years, so they are already allowed to operate here in Manila,” he added.

According to him, each license will be renewed every year.

The event came two weeks weeks after CEZA announced that it would subject cryptoexchanges planning to set up shop in the ecozone to a strict probity and integrity check.

Each must invest an initial $1 million within two years of operations to ensure that the country would not be a haven for initial coin offering scams.

So far, 70 companies have applied to operate in CEZA.

“When they apply, they will pay an application fee of $100,000 (P5.35 million) [and a]license fee of $100,000. Then you go into probity checks, then application programming integration (API), which costs an additional $100,000,” Roquero said.

“Three other applicants have fully paid these obligations, but are still undergoing probity checks,” he added.

The fees are “all non-refundable. If you fail in the probity check, you cannot get these. We will sign licensing agreements with these companies,” the CEZA official said.

“Companies want to invest here because we are the first to provide rules and regulations for cryptocurrencies,” he added.