The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) formally welcomed Hong Kong-based Asia Premier International Limited (APIL) as one of the 17 offshore fintech firm locators on Oct. 26 at the Manila Marriott Hotel, Pasay City.
The ceremonial awarding of the financial technology services and offshore virtual currency exchange (FTSOVCE) provisional principal license to APIL by CEZA was held during the APIL NiuEx Exchange Launching attended by foreign and local blockchain and cryptocurrency leaders and enthusiasts, Philippine government officials, and other guests. The license was awarded by Raul Lambino, administrator and CEO of CEZA, to Alexander Fu Kong Sang, chair and CEO of APIL.
CEZA manages the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (CSEZFP), which aims to provide a safe haven for the blockchain and cryptocurrency companies.
“Today, we are formally welcoming Asia Premier International Limited as a member of the Crypto Valley of Asia, CEZA’s premier hub for the development of digital token exchanges and blockchain based technologies,” said Lambino.
“It certainly was not easy getting a license to operate an Offshore Virtual Currency Exchange,” said Amando Jimenez, COO of APIL. “We had to go through very rigorous pre-screening requirements and probity check. But it was all worth it, as we were granted the license we needed. We are the seventh OVCE/Offshore Virtual Currency Exchange principal license holder in the Philippines.
Jimenez said APIL’s OVCE license will “allow its partners in the global blockchain industry, NiuEx Exchange to undertake crypto to crypto transactions. We look forward to a bullish market and a successful partnership with all our participants.”
Lambino said that as of July this year, 70 fintech locators applied with CEZA to become pioneers of the country’s fintech industry that CEZA decided to build with approval from President Rodrigo Duterte. “Of that number, we have issued 17 Provisional Principal Licenses to companies that would spearhead the disruption of financial processes. Asia Premier International Limited is one of them and today we witness the launch of their digital token trading platform: ‘NiuEx’ Exchange,” he said.
“We, at CEZA, have decided that we cannot wait to embrace the disruption and leap into the future of money, market, services and infrastructure,” he said. He disclosed that CEZA is now offering a safe haven for fintech innovations to cultivate and grow.”
Lambino noted how fintech startups from across the world “are scrambling to find a regulator sandbox on which they could safely develop and test out their technologies and to service different industries to make financial processes faster, safer, and cheaper.” CEZA is providing such space to cultivate initiatives that would push for financial inclusion and greater access to cutting-edge technologies. He recalled that in just a matter of six months since CEZA launched the concept of its fintech haven, “one can already sense the strategic shift of focus to Cagayan Valley and more so to that port town of Sta. Ana.
Lambino revealed plans for the creation of a Code of Conduct for the crypto company locators — Self-Regulatory Organizations (SROs) — at CEZA, saying it is necessary as part of a broader strategy that will improve the effectiveness of regulation and market strategy. “SROs, being comprised of members engaged in the industry, are able to provide key insights, critical research and updates on national and international business standards that CEZA will utilize to effectively and efficiently regulate the industries and licensees under its jurisdiction,” he said.
CEZA Deputy Administrator Raymundo Roquero revealed that the plan to establish a Blockchain University inside CEZA will be pushed through, saying this is really “important in order to produce blockchain programmers, coders, designers, among others, as demand for these kinds of jobs is expected to grow in the near future.”
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