Will Cambodia Be the Latest Country to Have a National Crypto?

The country would be the latest in a trend toward national cryptocurrencies.

Cambodia may enter the blockchain scene as a the latest country to create a national cryptocurrency, according to a press release by ASEAN Blockchain.

A country that’s often forgotten by most of the Western world, Cambodia has a mixed relationship with crypto. A report by The Merkle in late January spoke of a growing community of miners and crypto entrepreneurs in Cambodia, including In Mean, the developer of KHCoin.

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In a January Forbes report, Mean said: “There is a trend right now, and when you talk about cryptocurrency you talk about the dream that happened when the internet started. You cannot stop this. It’s a dream that people want, that money is truly money and not something that the government makes us believe anymore.”

It was reported by the Phnom Penh Post in June of 2017 that the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) was mulling over the implementation of a blockchain for closed-loop transactions that would “greatly enhance the central bank’s ability to facilitate and monitor interbank lending and transactions.”

However, NBC issued a public warning against cryptocurrencies in earlier December, 2017.

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The announcement comes shortly after Venezuela’s launch of its national cryptocurrency (the ‘Petro’) last month. The Petro was touted by the government as a tool for putting power back into the hands of the people and for solving the country’s financial crisis; the government has also been accused by the international community for using the Petro as a way to avoid sanctions and re-enter the international debt markets.

Venezuela isn’t the only other country that seems to have come up with some sort of plan to use crypto to avoid sanctions and improve the government’s relationship with its people.

Near the beginning of 2018, Sergei Glazev (economic advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin) told officials at a meeting that Russia’s proposed national cryptocurrency, the CryptoRuble, “suits us very well for sensitive activity on behalf of the state. We can settle accounts with our counterparties all over the world with no regard for sanctions.”

Last week, Iranian Minister of Information and Communications Technology Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi sent out a tweet announcing that he had “prescribed measure to implement the country’s first cloud-based digital currency.” The central bank of Iran later denied that a national cryptocurrency was being developed.

Not all national cryptocurrency initiatives seem to have such seedy underbellies, however; the Estonian ‘EstCoin’ is reportedly being developed for use in developing blockchain-based identities, to pay for government services, and to foster the growth of the blockchain industry in Estonia.

While the ‘EstCoin’ project is moving forward, ECB president Mario Draghi is bearish on the idea of any European country having a national cryptocurrency: “No member state can introduce its own currency; the currency of the euro zone is the euro,” he said in September.

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