(Philippine Daily Inquirer) – June 04, 2018
 

The Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport is turning into a haven for offshore financial technology companies and a block chain hub, according to the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza).

In a statement, Ceza administrator Raul Lambino said at least 21 offshore financial technology firms engaged in block chain and crypto currency operations had already signed up with Ceza.

The companies could bring in fresh investments of up to P2 billion in the next two years, according to Lambino, who is also chief executive officer of Ceza.

Lambino said the freeport, the jewel of Cagayan Valley, could become the Silicon Valley of Asia, referring to the area in California where tech giants Microsoft and Apple were born.

‘Tech garden’

Speaking at a financial technology summit in Bonifacio Global City, Lambino described Ceza as a “technological garden” nestled at the foot of the Sierra Madre mountain range.

“We have a perfect setting for some of the young Filipino generation’s best minds and the world’s leading cryptocurrency companies,” he said.

“The best of nature and of cutting-edge technology will combine to bring about a new hub in Asia for the world’s leaders in the burgeoning global currency of the future,” Lambino added.

Lambino, since assuming his post at Ceza, has made infrastructure his priority in the free port which had been made strategical by Port Irene, an international gateway in the northern Pacific region.

Projects

Among the Ceza projects in the pipeline are a multilane expressway and a railway linking the freeport to an international airport in the town of Lal-lo, Cagayan province.

Several financial technology and block chain developers had already signed memorandum of understanding with Ceza to operate virtual currency exchanges, crypto mining and block chain production and launch initial coin offerings.

These companies were expected to each bring at least $1 million in investments in infrastructure aside from generating revenue through payment of licenses in the sprawling facility.

Lambino assured locators of a steady stream of Filipino manpower as freeport officials also plan to establish a university specializing in financial technology.