Crypto News

Cambodian digital currency Bakong amplifies its use case with Alipay deal

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 FinTech. Expo in Singapore, reports the local press.

The Bakong service is operated by NBC on a blockchain, but it is not a central bank digital currency (CBDC), as the currency constitutes a liability for the commercial banks that use it. Bakong allows accounts in US dollars and Cambodian riel. The Cambodian economy is highly dollarized.

The MoU means Cambodians will be able to use riels from their Bakong wallet to make purchases from 83 million merchants worldwide on the Alipay network. Additionally, Chinese tourists who have accounts with the Chinese electronic payment system Alipay will be able to shop in Cambodia using QR codes from the Bakong KHQR system. NBC Governor Chea Serey said:

“The simplicity of payments allows merchants to increase their revenue, helping to stimulate economic activity. I am confident that this collaboration with Alipay+ will be beneficial for all parties.

There were 35.4 million transactions worth $12 billion using bakong in the first half of 2023, the Phnom Penh Post reported on November 17.

Related: Laotian CBDC proof-of-concept project launched using a system developed in Cambodia

Bakong Payment was launched in 2020 and was designed for sending funds and making purchases. Its mobile application was developed in collaboration with the Japanese blockchain Soramitsu. In August, Soramitsu announced plans to use bakong to develop a cross-border payment system spanning India, China and Japan. Bakong is already used in Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

In July, NBC signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese company UnionPay International on the use of QR codes for cross-border payments.

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