Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), in the northern Philippines, said on Tuesday it granted a license to Hong Kong-based Golden Millennial Quickpay Inc. Ltd. (GMQ) to launch its cryptocurrency exchange and financial technology solutions business in the country.
CEZA Corporate Board Secretary Catherine Joy Alameda said in an interview on the sidelines of the 2018 GMQ Global Blockchain Summit, the Hong Kong-based exchange is the first offshore cryptocurrency marketplace allowed to operate inside the economic zone.
In a previous interview with CEZA administrator Atty. Raul Lambino said that he would limit the number of cryptocurrency exchanges inside the Cagayan zone to 25 after his office is inundated with applications from blockchain-focused companies.
“We will not be accommodating them all. From the more than 60 [digital currency exchange] applications that we received, we will only approve 25 operators,” he told Cryptovest.
GMQ has invested $1 million to start operations and set up an office in LR Data, a CEZA location in Sta. Ana, Cagayan. The digital currency exchange joins two other cryptocurrency-focused firms in CEZA. Together they are expected to open at least 5,000 jobs for their operations.
CEZA Senior Deputy Administrator Raymundo T. Roquero commented on the GMQ license, “The license was issued last week. They were the first, [along with two other firms]. These are all Hong Kong-based, [while one] is from Bangkok, Thailand. These are offshore companies with a capital investment of $500,000. They have a committed investment to us of $1 million [each].”
He clarified that fintech firms approved by CEZA to operate within the economic zone are allowed to set up their headquarters in Manila temporarily for at least two years to give them time to build their facilities in Cagayan, nearly 649 kilometers away from Manila. The firms will lose their licenses if they fail to relocate to the economic zone within the prescribed period, he said.
“Within two years, they have an incubation period here in Metro Manila. They are supposed to build their infrastructure and facilities in Santa Ana, Cagayan, within two years. They have a timeline. First quarter of next year, they should have bought land in the ecozone. Second quarter, they should start building already,” he added.
During last month’s blockchain summit, Lambino said he would allow initial coin offerings (ICOs) inside the economic zone if they are backed with tangible assets.
“If they have ICO we will have to find out if their ICO is asset-backed because this what we are saying, that there are many scammers. If they offer in the market their initial coin, they may be able to convince 50 unsuspecting investors and promise them the sun and the moon. This is a Ponzi scheme. We are not going to allow it.”
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