In its most significant move to achieve its goal of becoming Asia’s blockchain and FinTech hub, the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), a Philippine economic zone, on Saturday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with NEM, a smart asset blockchain firm.
The agreement was signed at the De La Salle University Business Law Conference 2018 held in Manila.
The MoU marks a major development in the Philippine blockchain space as it signifies NEM's penetration of the domestic market and a change in the economic ideologies. This is because even if CEZA is aggressively pushing for blockchain development inside the ecozone, market regulators, like the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Securities and Exchange Commission are looking at the space from a different perspective.
Last May, SEC Commissioner Ephyro Luis Amatong said his agency and the BSP are nearing completion of unified cryptocurrency and blockchain rules. He made the revelation during the second general assembly of the Philippine Association of Digital Commerce and Decentralized Industry (PADCDI) as he asked stakeholders to provide input to draft an “appropriate” regulation.
This is in contrast with CEZA’s open-arms policy to blockchain projects and cryptocurrency trading and exchanges policies inside the ecozone which aims to promote the area as a FinTech hub.
On Thursday CEZA announced the issuance of a financial technology solutions and offshore virtual currency (FTSOVC) provisional principal license to Apsaras Group’s Hong Kong-based subsidiary Liannet Technology Ltd. This is the third FTSOVC issued by the SEC out of hundreds of applicants. CEZA said it would limit the number of crypto exchanges inside the zone to 25.
CEZA Administrator and Chief Executive Officer Raul Lambino said that his dream of transforming the country like Silicon Valley's counterpart in Asia is now a step closer than before.
Lambino said he expects all the blockchain and fintech projects in CEZA to create an estimated 20,000 jobs.
NEM.io Foundation Director for expansion in New Zealand and Australia commented on the agreement:
“We want to be able to attract software developers, startups and the wider blockchain community to explore and develop use case of the NEM blockchain technology platform.”