The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) has recently solidified its collaboration with Alipay, marking a pivotal step in enabling cross-border transactions for users of the NBC’s digital currency, the bakong.
Unveiled at the FinTech Expo in Singapore, this partnership allows bakong users to seamlessly access the Alipay merchant network, opening the doors for international transactions through Alipay+.
In a unique move, the bakong, despite leveraging blockchain technology, distinguishes itself from central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) as it functions as a liability of the commercial banks utilizing it.
Noteworthy is its ability to accommodate both US dollar and Cambodian riel accounts, catering to Cambodia’s predominantly dollarised economy.
Under the MoU inked between NBC and Alipay, Cambodian users can leverage the riel in their bakong wallets to shop at a vast network of 83 million merchants globally connected to Alipay.
Moreover, Chinese tourists equipped with Alipay accounts can now effortlessly make purchases in Cambodia using QR codes facilitated by the bakong KHQR system.
Expressing optimism about this collaboration, NBC Governor Chea Serey emphasizes the convenience and potential revenue boost for merchants, envisioning a positive impact on economic activity.
She states, “I’m confident this collaboration with Alipay+ will be beneficial for all parties.”
Launched in 2020 with a focus on streamlining remittances and facilitating purchases, the bakong has rapidly gained momentum.
Developed in partnership with Japan’s Soramitsu blockchain, the bakong is set to extend its influence beyond Cambodia.
Soramitsu plans to leverage the bakong to establish a cross-border payment system connecting India, China, and Japan.
As of November 17, 2023, statistics from the Phnom Penh Post report an impressive 35.4 million transactions, totaling $12 billion, using the bakong in the first half of the year.
This underscores the growing significance of the bakong in the digital currency landscape.
The strategic collaboration between the NBC and Alipay holds promise in enhancing the accessibility and utility of the bakong digital currency, not only for users in Cambodia but also on a global scale.