Philippines economic zone issues three crypto exchange licences
A special economic zone of the Philippines has issued its first provisional licences to a trio of cryptocurrency exchanges, the Manila Times reported on Wednesday.
The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), which looks likely to become a popular business centre for crypto exchanges due its already established regulatory framework, said it expected to secure investments worth around $3m following the issuance of the licences in Pasay City on Tuesday.
Hong Kong’s Golden Millennial Quickplay (GMQ) was the first to receive its licence, said CEZA deputy administrator Raymundo Roquero, adding that the other two exchanges – another from Hong Kong and the third from Thailand – would receive their provisional licences in the coming days.
“These are offshore companies, and they have each committed investments of $1m (Peso534.6m),” Roquero told reporters.
He added: “GMQ intends to build its infrastructure in Santa Ana, Cagaya and will have an incubation period of two years, so they are already allowed to operate here in Manila.”
CEZA regulations will oblige all cryptocurrency exchanges that apply for one of the 25 licences it intends to issue to undergo strict probity and integrity checks.
Each must then commit to invest an initial $1m within two years of the start of operations – a measure aimed not only at boosting investment in CEZA, but also to ensure the region does not become a mecca for initial coin offering (ICO) scams.
CEZA has said it has received 70 applications to operate one of the 25 crypto exchange licences on offer.
Application fees cost $100,000, probity checks and application programming intention (API) checks cost $100,000, and, eventually, the licence fee is $100,000 – all of which is non-refundable.
“Three other applicants have fully paid these obligations, but are still undergoing probity checks,” said Roquero.