The Japanese company that developed the National Bank of Cambodia’s Bakong digital wallet has launched a similar project with Laos.
Blockchain specialist Soramitsu said it had signed an agreement with the Bank of the Lao PDR to look into the creation of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). Work could begin as early as this month.
The announcement comes shortly after Laos announced a memorandum of understanding with the Japan International Cooperation Agency to examine the viability of a CBDC.
The National Bank of Cambodia launched Bakong last year, after working with Soramitsu on the blockchain technology. The digital wallet allows users to send and receive money quickly, cheaply and safely. Bakong has been downloaded more than 200,000 times.
Cross-border transactions became possible in August when Maybank announced it would work with NBC to allow Cambodian workers in Malaysia to send money home to their families using Bakong.
Soramitsu developed the Hyperledger Iroha blockchain, used by Bakong, and would also likely use it in Laos. A digital version of the Laotian kip would allow Laos’ central bank to gather data on the amount of money in circulation and allow the speedy disbursement of aid payment in needy areas.
Laos has also decided to allow cryptocurrency mining in order to attract investors fleeing a crackdown in China. The Prime Minister’s office made the announcement last month, clearing the way for the mining of Bitcoin and other blockchain-based currencies.
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.