The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) to Launch Blockchain-Based, Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)

First National Cryptocurrency in Action?


The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) is to launch a Blockchain-based, peer-to-peer payment and money transfer platform in the next few months, according to the NBC Director-General Chea Serey yesterday. Also known as a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) or some might even coin it a national cryptocurrency.

Serey notes elsewhere online:

“We are very proud to be one of the first central banks using a blockchain-based application for payment system. Speaking of women, women play a key role in social and economic development; therefore, at the National Bank of Cambodia, we are promoting gender equality and the role of women to empower women in the financial sector. As a sister, a mother and a leader, I would like to advise women in Cambodia not to give up education, set up your goals, work hard, stay positive and dare to challenge yourselves to step out of your comfort zone and take the risk.”

According to a report from the Phnom Pen Post from May Kunmakara, it is dubbed ‘Project Bakong’, and Serey says the scheme already has the support of 11 banks, with many more expected to join soon.

Bakong, essentially a quasi-form of a central bank digital currency (CBDC), was launched on a trial basis in July and will be fully operational within the present fiscal quarter, she said.

Serey described the system as “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,” she said.

Phnom Penh Commercial Bank (PPCBank) president Shin Chang Moo told The Post on Monday that his bank is deploying the system at all branches.

“We are in the final stages of the deployment. It has taken a little longer than expected because we were ensuring that the system is as useful and convenient for the users as possible. We will offer the service as soon as it launches. Some are concerned that banks might lose some of its market share to Bakong. This is partly true, at least in the short term. However, our industry is relatively immature in terms of the number of service providers and users. Bakong will eventually create financially inclusive ecosystems that all the stakeholders in the industry can benefit from,” stated Moo.

“Unlike most cryptocurrencies, which are decentralised, Bakong is a closed system backed by banking authorities. “There is zero possibility of speculation using Bakong.”

The Bakong wallet is currently linked to users’ bank accounts and all the transactions will be done on a real-time basis with the records stored safely at NBC.