Ceza issues first fintech license

Sta. Ana, Cagayan—Golden Millennial Quickpay Inc. Limited on Wednesday became the first recipient of a license to operate in the Philippines as one of the locators of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority here.

Officials of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, led by its Senior Deputy Administrator Raymundo T. Roquero (5th from left), and Ricky Law (6th from right) of Golden Millennial Quickpay (GMQ) Inc. Limited, Virtual Asset Exchange Legal Representative, clinch their fists after GMQ became the first recipient of a license to operate in the Philippines as one of the locators of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority in Sta. Ana, Cagayan.
In just over nine weeks after its announcement of becoming a “fintech” (financial technology) haven, Ceza, headed by its administrator/CEO Secretary Raul L. Lambino, awarded its first license to GMQ, one of the 80 fintech locators that applied with the ecozone.

Ceza awarded the Financial Technology Solutions and Offshore Virtual Currency License during the GMQ Global Blockchain Summit held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel, Pasay City.

Around 100 Chinese blockchain and cryptocurrency related firms, industry experts, and business partners from the government and private sectors joined the summit.

Of the fintech firms engaged in cryptocurrency and other digital financial services, GMQ is the first FTSOVC Licensee of Ceza.

GMQ, from Hong Kong, is one of the first companies to respond to the invitation of Ceza to invest in the ecozone, be part of the pioneering fintech and offshore virtual currency exchange business and form the nucleus of the Ceza Fintech Hub.

The goal is to spur economic development at the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport.

Earlier, Lambino said the agency will issue licenses initially to only 25 exchanges which applied as locators with Ceza.

Every one of the cryptocurrency exchanges, he said, was required to put in an initial investment of US$1 million (over P53 million) payable in two years’ time.

Ceza’s strong efforts to push the Philippines as the Silicon Valley of Asia has been attracting a lot of attention, as shown by the holding of a series of blockchain summits with the authority’s involvement.

Lambino, in one of the earlier events dubbed the Global Blockchain Summit and Inaugural Blockchain Application Exhibition on June 24 also in Pasay City, expressed confidence on the emerging technology’s economic impact to the Philippines and its citizens.

“Actually, we are going to make money because we are going to charge them for occupying the spaces we constructed,” he pointed out.

In his speech at the summit on Tuesday, he said he was honored to join the event that marked the official launching of the cryptocurrency exchange and fintech solutions business of GMQ.

“GMQ is a pioneer in Ceza’s venture to establish a financial technology and offshore virtual currency exchange business, which will eventually form the nucleus of the Ceza Fintech Hub,” said Lambino.

Ray Roquero, Ceza senior deputy administrator, revealed that GMQ was the first to receive the license from the authority. Subsequently, two other fintech firms—Ultra Precise Investments Ltd. from Bangkok, Thailand, and Liannet Technology Limited from Hong Kong—also received their FTSOVC licenses. 

Roquero made clear the licenses issued to the first three exchanges are only “provisional” and it will be monitored closely by Ceza.

From the Ceza, the exchanges that already signed up with Ceza included Xin Peng Group, Changwei International Co., Ltd., State Trust Union Capital Holdings, Ultra Precise Investments Ltd., Hachiman Technology Sdn. Bhd., MX Exchange Ventures, Hybrid Block, IPE Global Pte. Ltd., Superieur Tech. Pte. Ltd., Coin Bundle, Northern Orient Resources, Inc.; 

Asia Premier International Ltd., Hong Kong Yuen Shing Hong Ltd., Mobile Pole Position Pte. Ltd., Madison Blockchain Strategy Investment Company Ltd., GMQ, Liannet, Asia Pacific Blockchain Association, Pacificnet Strategic Investments Ltd., Super Angels Ventures Ltd., AXN Holdings Ltd., Paradigm Technologies Unlimited Solutions Corp., Stepwyze LLC.

The Hanwha Group of South Korea, a blockchain developer, also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ceza.

Roquero said the buzz surrounding the blockchain technology presently in relation with Ceza were all results of the authority’s intensified efforts “really promote this new technology, which is considered as the future of banking and financial transactions in the world.”

He said that currently, with the effort of Lambino, “practically the whole of Asia is looking towards the Philippines to invest in this new venture. We call this ‘A New Venture in the Valley Unfolds’ because Cagayan is known for its valleys and hills.”

Roquero said Ceza and its leadership believe the agency is the “perfect venue” for the fintech haven as the fintech enthusiasts, or the millennial persons who drive the digital era, prefer a quiet place, which Cagayan offers.

He assured that no fly-by-night companies will be accepted, as Ceza is painstakingly screening the applicants.

“We only need the established ones, so we can avoid scams,” Roquero said.

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben E. Evardone congratulated Ceza for its initiative, as they are into the thick of the so-called revolution of fintech.

“I am glad that they are prioritizing this industry that will revolutionize financial transactions worldwide,” he said.

Pasay City Rep. Imelda “Emmie” Calixto-Rubiano welcomed the delegates from abroad and the Philippines to the summit.

She assured support for Ceza and the fintech companies locating in the country, saying they can rely on her if they need any help, as well as from the House of Representatives.

Evardone noted that only two out of 10 households in the country have access to banking services, which is why the blockchain technology offers huge potentials for financial inclusion of over 90 percent of Filipinos.

Topics: Golden Millennial Quickpay Inc. Limited , Cagayan Economic Zone Authority , financial technology , Secretary Raul L. Lambino
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