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CEZA formally awards its first fintech license

Raymundo T. Roquero, Acting Senior Deputy Administrator of Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) and Ricky Kaw Lok Tai, Chairman of the Golden Millenial Quickpay Inc. Limited (GMQ) shake hand for the formal awarding ceremony of the latter’s Financial Technology Solutions and Offshore Virtual Currency (FTSOVC) license. GMQ is the first recipient of the said license issued by CEZA in the Philippines as an offshore cryptocurrency exchange operator. The formal awarding ceremony was also joined by other CEZA officials, namely (left to right) Atty. Mike David, Consultant for Legal Concerns; Amadeo Gonzales, Chief of Staff; Leonardo Cruz, Acting Deputy Administrator for Administration; and Atty. Percival Peralta, Acting Deputy Administrator for Regulatory and Compliance.

The first Financial Technology Solutions and Offshore Virtual Currency (FTSOVC) was formally awarded by CEZA to Golden Millenial Quickpay Inc. Limited (GMQ) during the “2018 GMQ Global Blockchain Summit” held on July 10, 2018 at Sofitel Manila, Pasay City.

GMQ is a Hong Kong-based business group that provides blockchain virtual asset exchange and blockchain eco-industry, among others, with a blockchain virtual asset trading plat (GMQ Coin Ex) and a financial derivatives trading platform (GMQ FIN Ex). It is one of the first companies that reached out to CEZA when the latter announced its intent to establish a financial technology (fintech) hub in the Cagayan Freeport. The license allows GMQ to operate cryptocurrency exchanges offshore.

Sec. Raul Lambino, CEZA Administrator and CEO, delivered his remarks during the Summit.

In February 2018, Sec. Raul Lambino, CEZA head, has expressed their aim to establish the “Silicon Valley” of Asia. The blueprint includes making a hub with a mix of technology and nature, which the CEZA head described as “technological garden nestled at the foot of the Sierra Madre mountain range”.

Twenty-five principal licenses for this purpose will initially be granted by this Authority. This industry will bring in fresh investments of up to two billion pesos in the next two years.

Over 80 companies have already expressed their intention to join CEZA. To date, only three, which include GMQ, Ultra Precise Investments Ltd. from Thailand and Liannet Technology Limited from Hong Kong, have completed their application requirements and ready for the issuance of provisional licenses, which would put these companies in probation mode until the requirements are fully complied with. The requirements include payment of registration fees, an initial investment of US$1 million, a physical set up in the Cagayan Freeport and positive results in the probity and background checks, among others. Their operations will also be closely monitored by CEZA.

CEZA’s efforts to establish the next “Silicon Valley” has been evident in the last few months through its support and participation in a series of fintech summits. The 2018 GMQ Global Blockchain Summit, for one, was participated by over a hundred Chinese fintech companies and experts, and supported by representatives of the private and public sectors.

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