Cambodia’s Bakong Digital Currency: A Remarkable Milestone
Bakong, Cambodia’s digital currency, has recently surpassed a significant milestone with 10 million opened accounts, which accounts for approximately 60% of the nation’s population. In a groundbreaking interview with Nikkei Asia on December 19, Chea Serey, the governor of Cambodia’s central bank, disclosed these impressive figures.
Japan’s Role in Bakong’s Success
The success of Bakong, co-developed with a Japanese startup, marks an important collaboration in the financial sector. This milestone is not just about the numbers; it’s a testament to the potential of digital currencies in revolutionizing financial transactions and inclusivity in the region.
Expanding Bakong’s Reach Internationally
The National Bank of Cambodia isn’t stopping at domestic success. There are ambitious plans to expand Bakong’s functionality across borders. Chea Serey mentioned ongoing collaborations with major international players like UnionPay International and the potential for broader global partnerships.
Enhancing Cross-border Payments
One of the primary objectives of the National Bank of Cambodia is to improve the cross-border payment network for Bakong. This initiative aims to facilitate seamless transactions beyond Cambodia’s borders, significantly aiding in regional financial integration.
Commitment to Financial Inclusion and Consumer Protection
Chea Serey emphasized the importance of financial inclusion and the central bank’s dedication to consumer protection and cybersecurity. This focus is crucial, considering the evolving landscape of digital banking and the need for secure transaction environments.
Collaboration with Global Partners
The bank’s memorandum of understanding with Alipay and collaborations with various central banks globally, including Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, underscores the broad scope of Bakong’s reach and potential.
Bakong’s Origins and Future
Launched in 2020, Bakong is the culmination of collaborative efforts between the National Bank of Cambodia and various commercial banks, backed by the technical expertise of Japanese tech firm Soramitsu Co. With a high rate of smartphone usage in Cambodia, Bakong stands as a beacon of hope for banking the unbanked, a significant challenge in many parts of Southeast Asia.
The rapid adoption and expansion of Bakong signify a major stride in financial technology and inclusion in Cambodia, made possible through international collaboration and a commitment to innovation. The future of digital banking in Southeast Asia looks promising, with Bakong leading the way.