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 e-payments would help prevent the spread of COVID-19.