On October 28, 2020, the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) launched its first central bank digital currency (CBDC), which draws on blockchain technology co-developed by Japanese fintech firm SORAMITSU.
The e-money, named Bakong, supports transactions in riel and dollars, can be used through its mobile app. Bakong was initially established in 2017, with the government aiming to tap into the increasing number of internet users in the country, which reached some 9.7 million people and 14.8 million mobile internet subscribers.
Further, Cambodia’s e-commerce sector is projected to reach US$183 million by the end of 2020, and the annual growth rate is expected to reach 11.4 percent by 2025, resulting in a projected market volume of US$313 million during the same year.
Users of the app can make payments by scanning the QR code or by inputting the phone numbers of the payee. In addition, the use of blockchain technology reduces costs for banks and users, thus encouraging the digitization of small businesses in the country. There are currently over 20 local financial institutions that have partnered with Bakong.