Several Asian countries, such as the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand are vying to be the next blockchain hub, by easing regulations and enticing fintech firms.
From the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand, Asian regulators and policymakers are easing rules and launching new projects to establish the next cryptocurrency hub in the region by attracting financial technology (fintech) companies.
The newest entrant but the most aggressive in recent months, the Philippines announced last month the establishment of a $100 million blockchain hub inside the Cagayan Special Economic Zone (CEZA), an economic zone north of the country.
The hub, which boasts the Cagayan Valley and the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop, is being touted as the primary challenger to Switzerland’s Crypto Valley in Zug. CEZA administrator Raul Lambino signed a deal with private property developer Northern Star Gaming & Resorts to build the Crypto Valley of Asia (CVA) that is expected to generate more than 10,000 jobs.
“The first phase of the project will consist of a 25-shop housing development inside the cyberpark developed in compliance with the security requirements of licensed offshore virtual asset exchanges locating at CEZA,” Lambino said in July.
The CVA will be implemented in three phases, with Northern Star claiming to have secured commitments from regional and international companies to locate there. The project will host living and co-working spaces, back offices of cryptocurrency exchanges, business incubation and acceleration hubs, service providers, self-contained power facilities, digital currency mining firms, and a cybersecurity and risk assessment facility.
In a report, Nikkei Asian Review said South Korea has a similar plan.
Won Hee-ryong, the governor of Jeju province, plans on transforming the island into a blockchain industry hub and has asked approval from the central government to designate a special zone for cryptocurrency and blockchain in his locality.
“Blockchain is an opportunity for Korea to take the lead in global internet platform [development,]”, he is quoted as saying.
Won’s initiative is in line with Seoul’s plan to invest nearly $4.4 billion (5 trillion won) into eight big data analytics pilot projects next year to develop a platform for its economy.
Also in the game is Thailand. Nikkei Asia said the country is stepping up to attract fintech firms to invest in the region.
Last month, Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission rolled out new rules on digital coin offerings that allow digital currencies, like Bitcoin and Ethereum to be offered to retail investors up to $9,050 (300,000 baht).