Cambodia’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) has “launched,” said the central National Bank of Cambodia and Soramitsu, the Japanese company co-working with the central bank on the project. And the Japanese firm stated that other projects in “other countries” are also in the pipelines.
Per the Bangkok Post and Japan’s Coin Post, the parties held an unveiling event for the token, named the Bakong, yesterday, stating that it has now become “fully operational” – following extensive pilots and limited-scope rollouts.
The National Bank stated that the Bakong, which will operate via a smartphone app, supports transactions in the United States dollar and the Cambodian fiat riel.
Some 20 banks and other financial institutions began making use of the token earlier this year, but the National Bank said the Bakong is now in general circulation.
The token makes use of the Hyperledger Iroha blockchain platform and a Sorimitsu-developed “unique consensus algorithm” that can verify transactions across a distributed ledger to “eliminate” fraud risks and double payments.
The CEO of Soramitsu, said,
“It is an honor for our technology to be recognized in this manner by the National Bank.”
He added that the firm was currently “preparing the required technology” to “expand into other countries and new markets.”
These may include its own native country – at a more local level. A number of Japanese cities and Prefectures have expressed a desire to launch blockchain-powered tokens of their own. The firm is working on a token named White Tiger – initially to be used by students, staff and teachers at the University of Aizu, but later set to roll out in the wider Fukushima Prefecture.
In Cambodia, however, the National Bank said that it hopes the Bakong token will reach the unbanked, who could account for over two-thirds of the adult population per some estimates.
Its director-general of central banking Chea Serey said that the rollout could also help slow the spread of the coronavirus in the country, stating,
"I hope the official launch of the Bakong system today will help to promote social welfare and also prevent the spread of [the coronavirus] through facilitating e-payment from person to person, seamlessly, without involving cash.”
It has been the busiest month yet for CBDCs – with the Bahamas unveiling its own token in recent days, and China rumbling toward the issuance of the long-awaited digital yuan.