Cambodia plans to launch own crypto-currency

Cambodia announces own crypto-currency from the National Bank of Cambodia.

Cambodia is ready to issue the government-backed crypto-currency to fuel what has been presented as “a blockchain-based, peer-to-peer payment and money transfer platform”.

Named ‘Project Bakong,’ the system is supposed to go live soon as it already has the support of 11 banks and more are expected to join in the near future.

Chea Serey, director-general of the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), insisted that the scheme will be operational within the nearest time. The central bank official stated that it will be the “national payment gateway for Cambodia”.

Bakong will play a central role in bringing all players in the payment space in Cambodia under the same platform, making it easy for end-users to pay each other regardless of the institutions they bank with. Eventually, we hope to allow cross border payment through the Bakong system too.

One of the private banks helping the project, Phnom Penh Commercial Bank (PPCB), has been working to deploy the new system at all of its branches. In comparison with traditional payment and money transfer options such as credit cards and mobile platforms, Bakong is cheaper and more convenient, PPCB President Shin Chang Moo noted.

The banker also commented on concerns that financial institutions like his might lose market share to Bakong. He believes that in the long run the project will facilitate the establishment of more inclusive financial ecosystems that will be beneficial for all stakeholders in the industry. Cambodia’s financial sector is still relatively immature in terms of number of service providers and users, he remarked.

Chang Moo made a clear distinction between Bakong and permissionless decentralized cryptocurrencies like bitcoin – the Cambodian digital currency project is a closed system backed by the country’s banks and financial authorities, which leaves no room for speculation. He also revealed that the Bakong wallets will be linked to bank accounts allowing users to exchange their digital coins for the nation’s fiat currency. “All the transactions will be done on a real-time basis with the records stored safely at NBC,” the banker said, adding that other central banks are likely to develop similar systems.

(c) Times of Ukraine