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Cambodia Launches a Blockchain-Based National Payment Gateway

Shortly, Cambodian citizens may be able to start utilizing a blockchain-based payment gateway.

The director of the National Bank of Cambodia, Chea Serey, told the Phnom Penh Post that peer to peer payment and money transfer platform named 'Project Bakong' was launched on a trial basis back in July 2019, and is already supported by over 10 banks. All of this before it even becomes operational!

The suggested launch date to the public should be in April or May 2020.

She (Chea Serey), stated that the plan is to have "the form of a central bank digital currency (CBDC)" functioning as the national payment gateway for the nation. This digital currency is designed, in essence, to allow Cambodians throughout the country to quickly and effectively complete transactions, regardless of their bank.

In addition, the central banks hope to allow cross-border payments through the Bakong system.

Currently, the payment system in Cambodia can be often complex and difficult, with local merchants being required to hold accounts at a host of banks or to simply allow cash-only transactions in order to simplify payments.

The move towards a new type of digital, cryptocurrency-based currency, will likely speed up payment processes, and allow merchants to simplify their systems into one payment processor.

Not everybody is feeling optimistic and rosy, as there has been some push back from certain institutions. President of Phnom Penh Commercial Bank, Shin Chang Moo, has openly doubted the system, amid doubts that the centralised nature of the platform will cause banks to lose market share.

He does, however, believe that the rewards will ultimately be worth the risk - "Bakong will eventually create financially inclusive ecosystems that all the stakeholders in the industry can benefit from".

It's an exciting time for cryptocurrencies, as according to a survey by the Bank for International Settlements recently found that around 7 undisclosed central banks, representing up to 20% of the world's population, are likely to launch CBDC's in the next 3 years.

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