CEZA positions itself as crypto hub

Bitcoin

The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) has signed its first 15 offshore companies to its new fintech solutions and blockchain hub in northern Luzon.

The offshore companies will bring at least P1.7 billion (US$32.5 million) in fresh investments over the next two years, and include cryptocurrency companies engaged in virtual currency exchanges, crypto mining, blockchain production, and initial coin offerings, among others.

The companies include Korean conglomerate Hanwha Group, Hong Kong-based Chinese firms Xin Peng Group, Change International Co. Ltd and trading firm St Union Capital Holdings among others.

Based on the agreement, each company will get full tax perks. In return, each locator is required to invest $1 million in two years and pay yearly license fees.

CEZA began targeting companies to its “FinTech City” since 2017 after an extended campaign to rid the zone of illegal offshore gaming operators.

On the sidelines of a CEZA Fintech Summit on Monday, CEZA administrator and chief executive officer Raul Lambino said that eight-hectares has been earmarked for potential fintech locators initially.

Over the next two years, Lambino said CEZA will work to build up its infrastructure, including an international airport, marina and highway which will link CEZA to the world.

“Working with virtual currency companies allows the Philippines to gain momentum in providing an environment that encourages financial innovation and inclusion, while ensuring that the best interests of the country, the financial system, consumers, and investors are adequately protected,” said Lambino.

“This new development aims to drive the economy forward by creating employment opportunities and boosting job growth. The Philippines will be ready to provide cryptocurrency companies operating here with the manpower they need for their businesses,” he added.