Officials in the Philippines have decided to approve 10 digital currency and blockchain companies to operate in one of the country’s special economic zones, according to reporting from Reuters. The move follows a February decision by regulators that helped to provide a legal way for those firms to take advantage of the tax benefits that economic zones offer.
Cagayan Economic Zone Authority head Raul Lambino said, “We are about to license 10 platforms for cryptocurrency exchange. They are Japanese, Hong Kong, Malaysians, Koreans.” He also suggested that the ten companies have wide latitude when it comes to the type of crypto operations they conduct, noting that they can “go into cryptocurrency mining, initial coin offerings, or they can go into exchange.”
The CEZA chief also reminded the companies to make sure that exchanges between digital currencies and fiat currencies are managed outside of the country so that Philippine regulations are not violated.
The rules allowing those companies to receive the benefit of economic zone participation require them to invest a minimum $1 million within the next two years. The firms will also be required to pay licensing fees that could amount to as much as $100,000.
Lambino also announced that regulators are exploring the potential benefits of launching a FinTech and blockchain educational facility in the zone. The university’s mission would be to create a Fintech-educated workforce for the crypto companies.
The Philippines initiated their special economic zones two decades ago, motivated by a desire to attract more investment from outside the country. The zones have helped to bring foreign direct investment to the Philippines from countries like the United States, Japan, and Singapore.