The little-known blockchain firm behind Southeast Asia’s digital payment systems

Japanese blockchain startup Soramitsu worked on Cambodia’s popular Bakong, a blockchain-based “quasi-digital currency” system. The company is working with the central banks of Laos, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

In 2016, Makoto Takemiya, co-founder of Japanese blockchain startup Soramitsu, received a Telegram message from someone claiming to be from Cambodia’s central bank. He thought it was a scam. “It said something like, ‘Hey, I’m from [the] National Bank of Cambodia. We want to discuss a pilot. Can somebody contact me?’” Takemiya told Rest of World.

“It was super weird,” added his partner, Ryu Okada.

It had been mere months since Takemiya and Okada founded Soramitsu, and they only had a few projects under their belt. The company had been funded from Okada’s savings, and was making just enough money for the two to “eat some food and pay some basic expenses,” said Takemiya.

But the Telegram message was real, and it gave Soramitsu the break it needed.

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