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Philippines to allow cryptocurrency operators in economic zone

Philippines to allow cryptocurrency operators in economic zone

MANILA:  The Philippines will allow 10 blockchain and virtual currency companies to operate in an economic zone to take advantage of tax perks while generating employment, a government official said on Wednesday.

The companies would be the first virtual currency firms to operate in the Philippines after regulators legalised their entry into an economic zone in February, in contrast to neighbouring countries which have not allowed such entities.

“We are about to licence 10 platforms for cryptocurrency exchange. They are Japanese, Hong Kong, Malaysians, Koreans,” Raul Lambino, chief of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), told Reuters. “They can go into cryptocurrency mining, initial coin offerings, or they can go into exchange,” Lambino said.

 But the exchange of fiat money into virtual currency, and vice versa, should be done offshore to avoid infringing Philippine regulations, he said.

They should invest at least $1 million (717,468 pounds) over two years and pay up to $100,000 in licence fees.

 Authorities around the world, particularly in Asia, have attempted to rein in the global boom in trading bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies – a form of digital money created and maintained by its users.