MANILA — The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) formally issued on Thursday the provisional license for cryptocurrency exchange operation to Liannet Technology Ltd.
This was the second financial technology solutions and offshore virtual currency (FTSOVC) license issued by CEZA since it launched an initiative in May to make the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (CSEZF) as the country’s fintech hub.
“The CEZA fintech hub is already making history. It is creating new revenues for the agency, and it is going to create new jobs and business opportunities for northern Luzon,” CEZA Administrator and Chief Executive Officer Raul Lambino said during the blockchain summit, which was hosted by Liannet Technology in Mandaluyong City Thursday.
Lambino mentioned that 17 fintech and offshore virtual currency firms have already paid in full the application and license fees for the digital coin trading under CEZA. He added that 19 companies are in the pipeline to pay their application and license fees to CEZA.
Earlier, the CEZA chief said the agency will initially issue 25 principal licenses for FTSOVC operation. The first two were awarded this month to Liannet Technology and Golden Millennial Quickpay Inc. Ltd.
These companies must comply with the requirement of CEZA to invest at least USD1 million in the next two years and establish their back offices in the country.
The 25 firms that will acquire the principal licenses are authorized to issue at least four regular licenses for their offshore virtual currency operations.
CEZA expects to earn some PHP3.6 billion from the issuance of FTSOVC licenses, on top of the 0.1 percent share for every transaction value of registered digital coin exchanges.
Lambino also projected the growth of blockchain technology in the country with cryptocurrency trading like bitcoin.
Blockchain, the technology used in bitcoin, is a kind of secured database for storing digital information. “With access to the internet and to a mobile phone becoming almost universal, more people can talk but also trade, transact, and transfer money effortlessly because of new technology,” said Lambino.
“We, at the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, would like to be a significant part of this envisioned future. That is why we are offering to Asia and to the world CEZA as a haven for fintech innovations to grow, and for business opportunities of technology to rise,” he added.
For Liannet Technology’s holding firm Apsaras Group Ltd., the company sees the northern part of the country to be the “Asian Silicon Valley” as CEZA ushers in the entry of blockchain companies in the Philippines.
Apsaras Group President Jian Li said the firm aims to use blockchain technology and cryptocurrency to boost the application development in the country and develop the blockchain ecosystem here. “At the same time, we would like to work with CEZA to create and Asian Silicon Valley using blockchain technology and cryptocurrency,” said Li. (PNA)