CEZA sees need for 200-megawatt power plant for ‘mining’ of 25 offshore virtual currency firms

Secretary Raul Lambino (third from right) seals with a handshake CEZA’s collaboration with Hong Kong-based Apsaras Group Ltd. through its chair Jian Li. In the frame is the Principal Provisional FTSOVC License that CEZA issued to Liannet Technology Ltd., a subsidiary of Apsaras. CEZA Senior Deputy Administrator Raymundo Roquero (second from right) and others applaud the turnover of the FTSOVC License.

Story and photo by Edd K. Usman

If all the initial 25 offshore virtual currency companies will go into “mining” crypto-coins, the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) sees a need for a new 200-megawatt power plant.

Secretary Raul L. Lambino, CEZA administrator and CEO, acknowledged this on July 26 during the “AmberTime Blockchain Technology Summit” at Edsa Shangri-La Hotel, Mandaluyong City.

He said this is the reason CEZA has been talking to power companies which have also conveyed their readiness to build new power plants, not necessarily inside CEZA’s Cagayan Special Economic Zone Freeport (CSEZFP), but in the surrounding area.

For a few of the offshore financial technology (fintech) companies engaged in blockchain applications and cryptocurrency services, he said a 30-megawatt power plant would be enough.

“For the 25 companies, maybe we need a 200-megawatt power plant,” said Lambino, even as he acknowledged that not all of the exchanges are going into crypto-coin mining of tokens (virtual coins).

So, why does mining, for example, a bitcoin (other digital coins are also being mined), consumes so much electricity, here’s what The Balance says is the cost in May 2015.

“At this rate, the bitcoin network (for mining) runs at 342,934,450 watts, which equates to around 343 megawatts. Calculations based on EIA data reveal that the average U.S. household consumes about 1.2 kilowatts of power, meaning that 343 megawatts would be enough to power 285,833 U.S. homes at the time of writing (May 2015).”

Computers being used for crypto-mining consume a lot of power because of the huge computing power needed by miners around the world racing to solve mathematical puzzles that would reward them a bitcoin or two.

Every transaction in the digital world using a virtual money must be verified before it is added to the blockchain network. Verification is part of the mining process.

$800-million investment

The CEZA head spoke with journalists at the sidelines of the summit, further laying down the zone’s plans going forward.

He said there are four big companies that signified their interest in building their own respective integrated entertainment resorts with hotel and casino in the zone, for a combined $800-million investment.

Lambino said the companies plan to put up each $100 million for their respective company.

In relation with this, one of the companies, which are listed and based in Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and South Korea, is ready to up its investment to $500 million, said CEZA Senior Deputy Administrator Raymundo Roquero.

He did not reveal which company and from what country, saying it is not yet time.

License to operate

During the summit CEZA awarded and turned over to Apsaras Group Ltd. of Hong Kong the second Financial Technology Solutions and Offshore Virtual Currency (FTSOVC) license to operate and engage in blockchain applications and cryptocurrency business at the CSEZFP in Sta. Ana, Cagayan.

The license is for Liannet Technology Ltd., a subsidiary of Apsaras (the holding company).

Thursday’s summit also signaled the release of Apsaras’ token branded as “CEZA Coin,” apparently a tribute to their partnership. The two organizations were hopeful the CEZA Coin will be used in transactions within the free port.

Also, the event officially launched Apsaras’ CZC Digital Currency Exchange aimed at giving support to startup blockchain team incubation, industrial funds, third-party financial legal services. digital currency market valuation management, community operations, services like blockchain applications and cryptocurrency services, digital payments, initial coin offering (ICO), among others.

Lambino officially turned over to Jian Li, chair of Apsaras Group Ltd., the FTSOVC Provisional Principal License, which authorizes Liannet “to conduct (FTSOVC) business activities, including the authority to endorse FTSOVC as Regular Licensee and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies as Services Providers for the period June 26, 2018 to December 26, 2018.”

Li said Apsaras is a blockchain technology firm focusing on industrial, manufacturing, infrastructure as well as other asset investments.

He said Apsaras aims to “use blockchain technology and cryptocurrency to create the application environment, entire industry value chain and blockchain eco-system for our investment and development projects.”

His company, he assured, is ready to collaborate and work with CEZA in making the zone an Asian Silicon Valley leveraging blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.

“This is bound to be a great pioneering and transformation vision in the history of mankind,” he predicted.

Lambino noted the fast-paced developments in the financial world characterized, among others, by contact-less transactions as fintech companies are transforming into the “new face of payments.”

“With access to the internet and to a smartphone becoming almost universal, more people can talk but also trade, transact and transfer money effortlessly because of new technology. We at Cagayan Economic Zone Authority would like to be a significant part of this envisioned future,” the CEZA chief said.

“That is why are offering, to Asia and to the world, CEZA as a haven for fintech innovations to grow, and for the business opportunities of technology to rise.

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