Philippine Special Economic Zone Grants Licenses to Three Crypto Exchanges

The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) of the Philippines has issued provisional licenses to three cryptocurrency exchanges in the economic zone, the Manila Times reported July 10. CEZA expects to attract $3 million of investment following the issuance.

CEZA is a state-owned corporation that controls the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport operations. In April, the Philippine government announced it will allow 10 blockchain and cryptocurrency companies to operate in the economic zone to create jobs and stimulate the economy. CEZA also requires the companies to contribute not less than $1 million over two years and pay up to $100,000 in licence fees. Raymundo T. Roquero, CEZA deputy administrator for planning, business development and planning, explained:

“When they apply, they will pay an application fee of $100,000 (P5.35 million) [and a] license fee of $100,000. Then you go into probity checks, then application programming integration (API), which costs an additional $100,000.”

At the formal granting of licenses in Pasay City this Tuesday, Roquero reportedly said that two of the trading platforms were from Hong Kong, and the third was from Thailand. Roquero said that the license applications of the other exchanges have been approved but not yet released, adding:

“These are offshore companies, and they have committed investments of $1 million (P534.6 million) each. GMQ intends to build [its] infrastructure in Sta. Ana, Cagayan…and will have an incubation period of two years, so they are already allowed to operate here in Manila.”

Under the terms, licenses to be renewed every year, while the fees are “all non-refundable.” According to the Manila Times, 70 companies have already applied to operate in the Cagayan Economic Zone. Roquero said that companies choose to operate in the zone because “we are the first to provide rules and regulations for cryptocurrencies.”

Earlier this month, the Philippine central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), approved applications from two crypto exchanges, Virtual Currency Philippines, Inc. and ETranss. The exchanges were accredited as platforms which allows them to convert Philippine pesos into virtual currencies.

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