By Edd K. Usman
Deep-diving into blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) is planning to issue its own “token” or crypto coin.
The planned release of the CEZA Coin (digital coin) comes as it steps up its establishment of a technology hub and promotes the Philippines as Asia’s own “Silicon Valley” where startups and IT companies in the financial technology (fintech) industry can find a home.
It hopes to earn over P3.6 billion (around US$67 million) from the cryptocurrency exchange licenses locating in the zone.
CEZA’s planned issuance of the token and (digital ledger technology) DLT-powered services are in partnership with Apsaras Group Ltd.
Secretary Raul Lambino, CEO and administrator of CEZA, was reported to have said that he will sign a blockchain transaction service license for Apsaras’ CZC Digital Currency Exchange.
The authority hopes to launch its own virtual coin during the AmberTime International Blockchain Summit on Thursday, July 26, at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel, Mandaluyong City.
In a statement from CEZA’s Joyce Jayme-Calimag, it was learned that CEZA’s second holder of its Financial Technology Solutions and Offshore Virtual Currency (FTSOVC), Liannet Technology Ltd., will be hosting the summit in collaboration with the economic zone.
She said the event will feature the official awarding of the FTSOVC license to Liannet, the launching ceremony of the CZC Digital Exchange and other activities.
“More licenses will be issued in the next couple of months,” said Jayme-Calimag, CEZA chief information officer.
As a holder of the provisional FTSOVC license, Liannet wants to help further promote fintech, blockchain, and cryptocurrency in the Philippines.
Global Millennium Quickpay (GMQ), Inc. Ltd. and Liannet are the first two CEZA licensees. Both are listed and based in Hong Kong. Ultra Precise Investments Ltd. of Bangkok, Thailand, is the third FTSOVC licensee.
GMQ conducted its own Global Blockchain Summit in Pasay City on July 10, during which it received its FTSOVC license from CEZA as the pioneer licensee of a cryptourrency exchange.
Lambino has said the government wants to establish in Cagayan province a technology hub and be known as the “Silicon Valley of Asia.”
Probity and integrity
While around 80 fintech companies from around the world have applied to locate and operate their exchange in CEZA’s Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (CSEZFP), only an initial 25 companies would be issued FTSOVC license.
Further, the issuance of the provisional license depends on each offshore company passing CEZA’s stringent “probity and integrity” check aimed at weeding out “fly-by-night” (read: scammers) cryptocurrency firms.
Raymundo Roquero, CEZA senior deputy administrator, emphasized the need to conduct the check to prevent scams from getting into the CSEZFP.
He noted that there are fintech companies involved in fraudulent cryptocurrency business.
The economic zone was hopeful the CEZA Coin will be accepted and used in transaction within the zone.
According to Cryptovest, CEZA and Apsaras will support and promote the digital coin and the CZC Digital Exchange projects as well as support the development of blockchain technology applications and other related businesses leveraging the AmberTime blockchain technology platform.