The digital currency of Cambodia called Bakong, which was developed with the participation of specialists from a Japanese startup, has become widespread, as evidenced by the existence of about 10 million accounts registered to own this digital money.
The relevant information was reported by the governor of the central bank of the mentioned country, Chea Serey, during a conversation with journalists in Tokyo. The specified number of accounts means that probably about 60% of Cambodia’s population uses Bakong. This digital currency is intended for making payment transactions and can be applied as part of financial operations of money transfer.
Chea Serey also said that the National Bank of Cambodia will expand the cross-border payment network for Bakong. According to her, this task will be solved within the framework of cooperation between the financial regulator and UnionPay International, a leading Chinese provider of services related to payments made using cards. Other foreign partners of the National Bank of Cambodia, about which there is no information yet, will also participate in the project.
Chea Serey arrived in Tokyo to participate in conferences related to the summit of the leaders of Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Currently, in Cambodia, a small part of the population has traditional bank accounts. This state of affairs makes it significantly difficult to ensure reliable methods of making payment transactions. This problem is relevant for individuals and is also a sensitive circumstance for companies.
The National Bank of Cambodia created Bakong in cooperation with the Soramitsu blockchain startup, which is based in Tokyo. The digital currency went into circulation in October 2020.
A notable feature of Bakong is that it can be used to make financial operations using a smartphone. Such functionality of a digital currency is still a kind of rare example at the global level.
Chea Serey, speaking about the fact that the number of Bakong users amounted to approximately 10 million people out of 16 million of the total population of Cambodia, noted that she does not intend to stop at the achieved indicator. The central bank of this country strives for financial accessibility. Chea Serey says that the organization she heads can do more to expand Bakong’s user base, provided it focuses on ensuring a high level of cybersecurity and consumer protection.
The governor of the National Bank of Cambodia also said that a cross-border payment system with Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam has been launched, within which the mentioned digital currency can be used. In this context, Chea Serey noted that Bakong, based on blockchain, is already on its way to China via UnionPay.
The National Bank of Cambodia has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Alipay, the Ant Group digital payment service, a Chinese financial services company affiliated with Alibaba Group. Similar documents have been signed with the Central Bank of the Solomon Islands, the Reserve Bank of Fiji, and the National Bank of Rwanda.
The National Bank of Cambodia has signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan. The implementation of this cooperation will allow the launching of QR-code-based payment transactions between the two countries.
As we have reported earlier, Bank of Korea Plans to Launch Retail CBDC Pilot Program.