Ceza firms up fintech hub plan to build PHL’s 1st Silicon Valley

First, it pioneered the establishment of the offshore (online) gaming jurisdiction in Asia. Now, the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza) aims to become the first financial-technology (fintech) hub to soon rise in Santa Ana, Cagayan.

In a news statement issued on Wednesday, Ceza CEO and Administrator Secretary Raul L. Lambino said several offshore firms have already committed to locate at Ceza free port to do business in the planned offshore fintech post.

Lambino said he recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in Tokyo with Traders Holdings Inc., a publicly listed Japanese company and iWave Inc., a Makati-based fintech firm, to help create the regulatory authority.

The MOU, he added, calls for the crafting and development of the first Asian-located Special Economic Zone to regulate, license and propagate fintech firms and develop the Cagayan Zone as the premier hub for the continuous development of these financial technologies.

The goal is to turn Cagayan Valley into the Asian version of “Silicon Valley” by providing an unparalleled “technological” environment, Lambino said.

This environment will combine nature’s serene beauty—in this case Cagayan’s Sierra Madre mountains and some of the world’s finest beaches—with wide bandwidth submarine cable landing points that are soon to be completed to ensure that the zone is firmly connected to the rest of the world.

“This is a planned, calibrated development, which would be in stark contrast to the large unmitigated growth of Asian cities with their huge traffic and unproductive environments,” Lambino added.

Under the MOU, Ceza will be provided with technology to properly regulate, license, audit, monitor and launch the latest fintech as they become available to address the unbanked and crowdfunding solutions.

Among these technologies are those based on Block chain (distributed-ledger technologies), Bitcoin, crypto technologies, cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings, crypto exchanges, payment solutions and financial solutions.

The MOU on a larger scale will bridge the technology industries of Japan and the Philippines, Lambino said.

This will be carried out by synergizing Japan’s advanced technologies and research and development capability with a greenfield technology hub of the Philippines, which is expanding its telecommunications and bandwidth capabilities.

The base of the regulation will follow the forward-looking policies of Japan, which is a major trading partner of the Philippines.

IWave Inc., a Filipino-Japanese Investee company of an experienced Philippine-listed technology company will provide, together with Traders Group of Japan, the intellectual property it has accrued servicing the Philippine banking sector and the country’s largest online brokerage, and Japan’s largest consumer finance company Aeon in the Asia Pacific.

Their exposure to the banking and capital market sectors will lend their practices in know-your- client  procedures and anti-money laundering policies.

This should ensure that Ceza will be a well-regulated and respected regulatory and licensing authority, Lambino said.

The combined experience of iWave Inc. and Traders Holdings will ensure Ceza is also at par with security procedures and anti-hacking methodologies, in the highly competitive and ever-changing technology world, he added.



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