The use cases of cryptocurrencies continue to grow, as Oz Finance creates an opportunity for businesses and individuals to attain residence in the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB) in the Phillippines by staking Oz Finance tokens, following legislation from the government. Read on for an exclusive Q&A with Vincent Choy, ecosystem architect at Oz Finance.
Many of the ~5,400 special economic zones scattered across the globe fail to reach their full potential as they lack capital and marketing. Its policies were developed without input from the community of investors they are supposed to attract.
Oz Finance bridges between investors and the Philippines’ autonomous ecozone, including simple and clear regulatory cover, near zero-tax incentives, and privacy protection. By staking Oz Finance tokens (TOTOZ), users attain residence status in the economic zones for individual or business residency based on the volume of the stake. Oz’s first partner ecozone is the FAB in the Philippines, strategically positioned at the nexus of Manila, Clark, and Subic.
The Philippines government passed the RA11453 legislation that provides updated regulatory cover for several digital services including DeFi, decentralised exchanges, decentralised apps, and more. Its implementation by the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan gave the Oz project a concrete basis and legal support.
We sat down with Vincent Choy, ecosystem architect at Oz Finance, to further understand the scope of what could be achieved when cryptocurrencies are used in this way:
What regulations must be changed worldwide to enable residency to be given via tokens in other countries?
That’s the best part. There is really no need to change regulations. Existing regulations already exist when it comes to promoting investments into special economic zones (SEZ) around the world. Worldwide, there are thousands of special economic zones. As of the last count in 2019 by the World Bank, there are 5,400 SEZs around the world. When a company decides to make investments into the zone, for example, a car company promising to build a new car factory in the zone, the SEZ usually welcomes them with open arms, will give them tax exemptions, the ability to hire foreign labour, and residency benefits for their management and staff.
What we are doing is asking the government to recognise that blockchain projects and digital assets can also bring about job and economic growth for the country, and for them to extend the same type of benefits that they give to a company building, a factory, to a company willing to come to the country and build a business based on a digital economy.
In exchange for capital, investments, jobs and, a community, we are asking governments or administrators of SEZs to give us residency benefits including zero to near-zero taxes, regulatory certainty with respects to digital assets, privacy protections within and after the framework of properly performed KYC and CIS requirements, and the right to live and work anywhere in the country or zone with no minimum stay requirements.
Will other countries follow suit of the Philippines?
We certainly hope so. Our vision is to activate a network of ecozones around the world adopting Oz, and allow the TOTOZ token to be the new beacon for investments and growth in the digital economy era for the ecozones.
Furthermore, we simplify the entire process by providing the framework under which other countries and other special economic zones around the world can partner with us.
Is this model sustainable? How?
Yes. The principle behind our project is very simple. The more people are interested to avail of residency, the more investments go into developing the zone, the more successful the zone, the more people want to live there, the more demand there is for the TOTOZ tokens to enable residency, creating a virtuous circle.
According to the World Bank and UNCTAD, the requirements for a successful SEZ are:
- Legal, Regulatory and Institutional Framework: Establishment and consistent adherence to appropriate overarching framework.
- Business Environment: Streamlined procedures for registration, licensing, trade logistics, and customs clearance to reduce costs of doing business.
- Strategic Planning and Demand Driven Approach: SEZs driven by strong business interests and integrated into national development plans.
- Infrastructure: Good, reliable, and affordable transport, energy, water, and telecoms services.
- Zone Management and Operations: Understanding of how successful SEZs are managed and operated by the Government and private sector.
- Ownership and Policy Consistency: Strong, consistent, and long-term Government or Private Sector Ownership
Oz brings all of that and more in a prepackaged framework which we can apply in any partner ecozone.
What happens if the value of TOTOZ drops? Will this impact residency? Or is it secured?
Residency is independent of the value of the individual TOTOZ tokens, but conferred when the monetary value of TOTOZ is staked. For individual residency, USDT 75,000 worth of TOTOZ tokens need to be staked within the Oz wallet. For business operations, USDT 100,000 worth of TOTOZ tokens need to be staked within the Oz wallet. If the price of each individual TOTOZ token is US$1.00. Then 75,000 TOTOZ or 100,000 TOTOZ need to be staked. If each individual TOTOZ is $10.00, then only 7,500 and 10,000 TOTOZ need to be staked respectively.
Once the residency is granted, it is valid for five years regardless of fluctuations in the price of the individual TOTOZ token. The TOTOZ are locked up in the wallet for five years. As we grow and become more successful, more and more tokens will be locked up and the circulating supply will fall. Whenever a person wants to get the residency benefits of low taxes, privacy protections, and regulatory cover, they will need to convince the current TOTOZ holders to sell them the $75,000 and $100,000 worth of TOTOZ needed to stake.