back to article Cambodia launches blockchain-powered peer-to-peer payments, hopes it crushes cash

Cambodia has launched a blockchain-powered peer-to-peer payment system and it’s hoped the scheme reduces use of cash and helps to control the novel coronavirus. Named “Bakong”, the scheme allows transactions in either US Dollars or the Cambodian Riel. While billed as a digital currency in many reports, Cambodian sources such …

  1. IceC0ld Silver badge

    Good luck to them, it should be ok within their own borders, the issues may occur should this gain traction, and start to be used by neighbouring states, as then the size of the project, and corresponding impact into other economies may cause some to have their noses put out of joint

    on the other hand, it might be just what is needed, time will tell

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Cambodia isn't in a position to influence neighbouring states.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Oh yes it is/they are. C'est la Vie

        Cambodia isn't in a position to influence neighbouring states. .... Dave 126

        Anyone/Any country with a simply great and attractive idea is in a position to influence neighbouring states ....... and even those farther afield. That's all it takes. It aint rocket science.

        And that doesn't need to be home grown either, for such can very easily be an export imported into a nation from another body which could be anywhere, near or far, relatively local or distinctly foreign.

        And nowadays such can be done practically instantly .... in a virtual crash causing flash via these readily available vivid virile viral communicative means ...... and of course, that can be worrying too for some who would be exposed as rightly vulnerable to justifiable retribution because of the way things formerly were, but such is in the inherent nature of these new fangled and entangling 0day internetworking exploit things.

  2. Dave 126 Silver badge

    > Cambodia has long struggled to reduce Vietnamese influence while also building a better relationship with China.

    That's one way of putting it, I guess. China is rapidly developing some cities in Cambodia, but the workers, tourists and companies are mostly Chinese. The Cambodian on the street isn't seeing much benefit. The image that encapsulated this for me was coming from the countryside where a moped is a luxury into Pnohm Penh and seeing a newly released Bentley SUV.

    https://m.dw.com/en/how-chinese-money-is-changing-cambodia/a-50130240

    By contrast, Vietnam's communist government did s fairly equitable job of divvying-up up land and other state resources in the '90s in order to encourage private enterprise - and it's economy has been growing since the late '80s - to the environment that that some second-generation Vietnamese people from Australia and the US are emigrating to Vietnam.

    1. Tempest
      Meh

      VietNam Divvying Up the Land? You have to be Joking!

      Following the American War in VietNam all land became the property of the State, a standard state with certain political systems (the Kmer Rouge đid the same when it ran Cambodia/Kampuchea).

      The land management functions were assigned to individual provinces.

      To occupy a piece of land requires acquiring a User Certificate which ís similar to a Lease, except it ís a perpetual lease. The initial User Certifcate ís purchased from the government. In daily lìfe it makes little difference since User Certificates can be sold, pledged (loan security) and inherited. I, as a Foreigner, can't hold a User Certificate, so my wife does.

      Transfers of User Certificates from one legal person (including companies) to another ís registered with the Province (of City-Province).

      Compulsory purchase ís interesting. In Ha Noi the city government often simply takes the land and pays compensation. In Ho Chi Minh City/SaiGon thís ís rarely done instead they issue a Notice that a User Certificate can not be used for anything except sold to the government.

      There are some apartment buildings, designated for urban renewal, are completely empty except for a few hold-outs who want bigger compensation payments from the government!

      And some people call VietNam a Communist country - it í similar to Denmark in many ways.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: In Ha Noi the city government often simply takes the land and pays compensation

        That happens in every country. Each country has its own legal procedure, and maybe in Vietnam it is slightly easier or appears to be more of a one-sided decision, but there is no country that does not give itself the right to appropriate private property.

        The only question is how justified does that right need to be. Given that you mention that some Vietnamese can block such a decision, that tells me that the procedure in Vietnam is not so different than in many other countries.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: In Ha Noi the city government often simply takes the land and pays compensation

          It's called expropriation.

  3. lglethal Silver badge
    Go

    If i've understood it correctly...

    What you basically have is a local combination of a Visa/Mastercard style payment system but using your mobile to pay instead of a card.

    Not actually that revolutionary (forget the blockchain bollocks, thats just a way for them to say "Look, how modern we are! Blockchain!"), but still not a bad idea in these times. The kicker will come down to what fees are charged to both the merchant and the buyer. Cash is generally preferred in such systems, because it is significantly cheaper per transaction for the merchant compared to Mastercard/Visa (who have been upping their fees massively in recent times).

    If this system, can keep the fees down to resemble the associated costs for the merchant of using cash (and there are costs associated with cash - time required to bank any cash taken, plus bank fees associated with that, security fees for having cash on premises, etc.) then this could certainly take off. However, unfortunately, most of the time with these sort of arrangements, governments and banks want to see an immediate return on investment and so effectively price themselves out of the market. We'll just have to wait and see if the Cambodian Government and banks can keep their hands out of the till and let it grow naturally...

  4. Filippo

    I'm sorry, so the blockchain ledger, in this case, is better than a regular bank ledger, because...?

    1. LucasNorth

      He literally says “forget the blockchain” and he’s not claiming it is useful for anything

    2. katrinab Silver badge
      Boffin

      in the event of a non-catastrophic disk failure, there is a reduced risk of data corruption.

      There's a good chance that you already use blockchains without even realising it. Unless you are a data storage nerd, there is no need to pay much attention to it.

      I think of blockchains in much the same way that I think about firewalls and anti-virus software. Good things to have, but if it is working properly, you shouldn't notice that it is there.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Except that firewalls do not grow to be GB-sized to be useful.

        It has been repeatedly said that blockchain does not scale well. I'm interested in seeing how this is going to evolve, because I doubt that many people have phones that hold a multi-GB ledger in the first place.

        Sure, the ledger won't be big now, but if hundreds of thousands of people are adding to it every day, it will get there. So I look forward to an article next year telling us what is happening to this scheme.

  5. Tempest
    Meh

    Cash ís Still King in Cambodia/Kampuchea

    Much of Cambodia/Kampuchea where there are no basic services such as water, sewage or electricity. Cash ís the only viable form of money.

    Another reason cash ís necessary ís because of tourists/visitors.

    Riel (KHR) are used for transactions under $5, U.S. Dollars for larger transactions, but the change ín Riel.

    Visitors should know NEVER USE /ACCEPT $10 BILLS Á MANY ARE FAKE!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cash ís Still King in Cambodia/Kampuchea

      Yóû seem to hàve pícked up the ầccent.

  6. LucasNorth

    No one has ever needed a blockchain. I’m yet to see a blockchain implementation that wouldn’t be better with the blockchain element removed. It is a useless technology

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      Blockchain is another word for Merkel Tree. ZFS uses Merkel Trees, so it is a blockchain implementation.

      Is it better than NTFS or EXT4? Most definitely yes. Does it enable you to do anything that isn't possible on NTFS or EXT4? Maybe from a systems administration point of view, but not in terms of the applications you can run on it.

      APFS uses Merkel Trees. It has been around since iOS 10.2, about 4 years ago. So your iPhone runs on a blockchain. Did you notice any difference to your phone when you upgraded to iOS 10.2? A few people noticed that the upgrade process failed and they ended up with a bricked phone, which obviously isn't good. Most people just noticed some new emojis, which has nothing to do with APFS or blockchains.

  7. EnviableOne Silver badge

    So Basically

    its Pingit (other mobile payment systems exist) for cambodia, with added-dark blockchain and AI

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