(Source: CCN.com) The Philippines, Thailand, and South Korea are moving towards creating the next crypto valley, after recognizing the success of Malta and Zug, Switzerland in creating crypto and blockchain friendly environments.Most countries in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam and Thailand, have cracked down on crypto trading and blockchain-related developments over the past year. A few months ago, Thailand disclosed its intent to heavily tax both cryptocurrency investors and trading platforms.
However, possibly due to the outrage of local investors and the increasing efforts of the Philippines, South Korea, and Japan to support cryptocurrency-related businesses, Thailand have also recently vowed to create an environment with friendly regulatory frameworks geared towards crypto startups.
Philippines and South Korea are Leading the Pack
Last month, CCN reported that the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), a government-operated economic zone in the northern tip of the Philippines, has decided to issue 25 cryptocurrency exchange licenses to enable cryptocurrency startups to operate with tax exemptions and among many other benefits. Lito Villanueva, the chairman of FintechAlliance, said in an interview with Nikkei that the country has been trying to create the next “crypto valley in Asia” through the establishment of a $100 million blockchain hub.
“With these startups come huge investments in their portfolio. Surely, each country would want to take a piece of the action. Taking blockchain and fintech players in with enabling regulations and potential investment incentives would surely make the game more exciting,” Villanueva said. Already, some of the startups in the Philippines including Coins, which closed a $10 million Series A funding round from Naspers and Quona Capital, have become the most popular platforms in the Philippines, outside of crypto and finance.
At its peak, Coins.ph, the Philippines arm of Coins, became a top 10 mobile applications in the Philippines market. South Korea has also put in significant efforts to legitimize the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector by drafting the country’s first cryptocurrency and blockchain legislation. In the next 12 months, the government has also agreed to invest $4.4 billion in emerging technology companies, setting its focus on big data and the blockchain.
Uniquely, regional governments in South Korea such as Seoul, Busan, Jeju Island, and Sejong have vowed to become the blockchain capitals of Asia by welcoming cryptocurrency and blockchain companies with various benefits. Won Hee-ryong, the governor of Jeju Island, who recently invited Roger Ver to demonstrate the use case of cryptocurrencies, said that the blockchain is a valuable opportunity for South Korea to take the lead in global internet development, an area which it has fell behind China and Japan in the past decade. “Blockchain is an opportunity for Korea to take the lead in global internet platform [development,]” he said.
Growth of the Asian Market
With Japan as the largest cryptocurrency exchange market ahead of the US, Asia has already become the biggest cryptocurrency and blockchain market. Increasing efforts and initiatives by countries like Thailand, South Korea, Japan, and the Philippines to develop the blockchain sector will positively impact cryptocurrencies in the long-term.