Malaya Business Insight – June 26, 2018

The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) will issue 25 licenses to companies which would operate back office operations of crypto currency traders at CEZA offices in Metro Manila, its administrator Secretary Raul Lambino said.

Companies issued the license will be required to invest a minimum of $1 million each for infrastructure within two years of operations, Lambino said.

He said this amount is on top of the equity the back office needs to raise in order to fund the operations.

He said about 70 companies from Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong have expressed interest to operate their back offices in the Philippines to take advantage of the expertise of CEZA in hosting business process outsourcing (BPO) for   online gaming as well as the incentives granted by the Authority.

“Our experience past 15 years in online gaming is our main asset. We are transforming that experience in technology because most of these companies want to see jurisdiction where they can develop cryptocurrency and eventually blockchain, financial technology,” said Lambino on  the sidelines of the Global Blockchain Summit and Inaugural Blockchain Application Exhibition at the Marriott Manila last Sunday.

The BPOs would be located at CEZA’s main office on Shaw boulevard in Pasig, as well as its extension offices in Mandaluyong and in Bonifacio Global City.

Lambino said Filipinos can gain training from the specialized back-office operations of crypto currency traders.

Lambino hopes the BPOs would in the future evolve into fintech and blockchain operations and  be part of CEZA’s bid to build a $100-million fintech hub in Cagayan, much like Silicon Valley of the United States.

Lambino noted the wealth of data generated by these back offices as well as the potential they present to engage in  wide range of transactions, from oil, jewelry, commodities and even elections.

“Technology is becoming more disruptive,” he said.

Lambino said CEZA is currently conducting strict probity and integrity  checking on these companies pursuant to its know-your-client policy to ensure the transactions of these companies are not used for  money-laundering or financing of terrorism and other criminal activities,” Lambino added.

He clarified no trading or exchange will be done in these BPOs and that any offering will be regulated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Securities and Exchange Commission.