Is Cambodia introducing a blockchain-based digital currency?

The National Bank of Cambodia has released a whitepaper detailing the technical details of its digital payments system.

After three years of development, the National Bank of Cambodia has revealed the technical details of its upcoming blockchain-based payments system dubbed ‘Project Bakong’ this month.

Cambodia’s central bank began developing Project Bakong since 2017, and is seen as a high-tech relaunch of the Khmer Riel, which is the kingdom of Cambodia’s official currency but is significantly lesser used by the people in favor of the US dollar, according to the recently published whitepaper.

The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) has been exploring blockchain and decentralized ledger technology as safer and more resilient alternative payments systems over the last few years. Permissioned blockchains are being increasingly explored by governments as a means to introduce a central bank digital currency (CBDC) which in many ways is the opposite of the decentralized, permission-less cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin that are more open systems that can lead to intense speculative value fluctuations.

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