The bakong, a digital currency operated by the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), will provide users with access to the Alipay merchant network and enable cross-border transactions on Alipay+ using QR codes under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed at the FinTech Expo in Singapore, the local press reported.
The bakong service operates by the NBC on a blockchain, but it is not a central bank digital currency (CBDC), as the currency is a liability of the commercial banks that use it. The bakong enables both United States dollar and Cambodian riel accounts. The Cambodian economy is heavily dollarized.
The MoU means that Cambodians will be able to use riel from their bakong wallets to shop with 83 million merchants worldwide on the Alipay network. In addition, Chinese tourists who have accounts with China’s massive Alipay electronic payment system will be able to shop in Cambodia using the QR codes of the bakong KHQR system.