National Bank of Cambodia: Bakong
Bakong is a digital currency and backbone payment infrastructure operated by the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC). Built by SORAMITSU on the basis of Hyperledger Iroha, it was piloted in 2019 and officially launched in 2020, making it the first system of its kind to go live. As of November 2021, around 270,000 previously unbanked or underbanked Cambodians had created Bakong wallets using a SORAMITSU-designed end-user app, while another 7.9 million – roughly half the population – were using the system indirectly via the commercial banks and payment service providers that it connects. Total transaction volume by November was equivalent to around $2.9 billion USD.
Bakong's contributions to the Cambodian economy have received widespread recognition. In 2021, the system was awarded a Nikkei Superior Products and Services Award
for its "innovative technology and impact on the country's economic and social development." On the strength of Bakong and concurrent innovations, The Banker
named Governor of the NBC Chea Chanto Central Banker of the Year Asia-Pacific
, while CoinDesk
named deputy director general Serey Chea, who led the project, as one of the year's most influential 50 fintech players
. SORAMITSU was similarly recognised with a Japan Fintech Award
, a notable follow-up to our 2020 FinTech & RegTech Global Award
Throughout this exciting year, SORAMITSU has designed and developed new Bakong features, while providing steady technical and operational support to the NBC. Major 2021 upgrades and innovations include a simplified registration process, more flexible management of user roles and permissions, QR payment by deep linking, in-app currency exchanges (KHR/USD, USD/KHR), and a cooperation with Maybank
to make Bakong transfers available to Cambodian workers in Malaysia at a fraction of the cost of traditional remittance services. 2022 should also bring significant developments, including extended cross-border interoperability.