Cambodia's blockchain-based payments platform – the digital currency-like system Cambodian central bankers call Bakong – went live on Wednesday, according to the country's central bank.
Bakong's launch grants Cambodians a state-sanctioned platform for conducting instant mobile payments, with QR codes and phone numbers connecting digital wallets over a blockchain.
The National Bank of Cambodia hosts Bakong atop the Hyperledger Iroha blockchain designed by Japanese technology company Soramitsu.
Unlike most central bank digital currency projects, Bakong does not involve digitally native money; it is entirely fiat-backed. Users can make payments backed by their dollar or riel reserves.
Cambodia sees Bakong as a critical step in modernizing its payment system and de-dollarizing its economy.
Project-lead Serey Chea, an assistant governor at the central bank, also claimed Wednesday that Bakong's blockchain-powered payments would help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
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