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Cambodia's First Bitcoin Point-of-Sale System Debuts Amid Currency Debate

Expats living in The Kingdom of Cambodia bring the country one step closer toward broader bitcoin adoption with a Point-of-Sale (PoS) merchant gateway. 

Also read: Regulations Push Chinese Bitcoin Volumes to OTC and Neighboring Countries

Cambodia, Land of Currency Fervor

Quietly, Cambodia has racked up solid economic gains now spanning more than a decade. Inflation is down. Major global economic metrics point to it lifting all boats, including its very poor.

At least part of its growth has come due to allowing foreign investment, which include repopulating rice from the Philippines to a domestic culture familiar with wide varieties of tourists.

With investment and tourism comes currencies, and with them the need for exchange and pricing structures.

This summer, political sentiment began to change toward foreign money such as the United States Dollar (USD). Wildy popular, it is the premier fiat currency used by the country’s private sector to pay wages and generally do business.

Cambodia's First Bitcoin Point-of-Sale System Debuts Amid Currency Debate

Nevertheless, because currencies are linked to governments they can be used as calls to national fervor and pride, and even animosity.

The Khmer riel, trading at about 4300 to 1 dollar, is that for some. A few politicians are urging what’s commonly referred to as “de-dollarization,” relying less on USD and more on riel.

The research arm of The Economist magazine noted “Cambodia currently has 95 percent of its deposits in foreign currency,” according to The Cambodian Daily online.

Southeast Asia analyst, Miguel Chanco, insisted, “The use of dollars in Cambodia is still far too widespread for [de-dollarization] to be achieved.”

Primed for Bitcoin

Such hardened and passionate debates are lessened by bitcoin, if not eliminated altogether. And the country’s ease with multiple currencies make it an ideal experiment for cryptocurrencies.

Though the country has made economic strides, a great many of its people remain unbanked. Bitcoin could address that issue too.

“The main goal for me is to put bitcoin on the map in Cambodia and increase its adoption in the country,” CEO Steve Miller of Cryptoasia told Thailand’s portal, The Nation.

All the merchant has to do is enter the dollar amount that’s owed and the gateway generates it into bitcoins with a unique payment address.

In a company online newsletter, it announced how bitcoin “continues to be adopted by merchants in Phnom Penh.” Bars, lodging are new places bitcoiners in the area can spend. It also points to a then-upcoming conference on financial technology, where bitcoin will be featured, and points to meet-ups for locals to become better acquainted with the cryptocurrency.

An ambitious first is Cryptoasia’s PoS payment gateway. “We install a widget on a merchant’s website that generates bitcoin addresses,” Mr. Miller explained. “All the merchant has to do is enter the dollar amount that’s owed and the gateway generates it into bitcoins with a unique payment address. It’s useful for online businesses and can also be used as point-of-sale platform if you have a smartphone or a tablet.”

Plans are also in the works for a bitcoin exchange later this year.

What do you think? Are currency wars a good opening for bitcoin? Tell us in the comments below.

Images courtesy of: freshwallpapers, Visit Angkor .

At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even lookup the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.

Tags in this story
Bitcoin, Cambodia, CryptoAsia, Fintech, Khmer riel, Kingdom of Cambodia, Miguel Chanco, N-Technology, Point of Sale, Steve Miller, The Daily Cambodian, The Economist
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C. Edward Kelso

C. Edward Kelso has written hundreds of articles as a journalist covering a range of topics from international finance, regulation, to cryptocurrency philosophy, interviews with luminaries, and book reviews.