Cambodia is proving to be an attractive target for crypto-currencies, with one of the most recently established operators of virtual money declaring their intention to roll out terminals in Phnom Penh this year.
Officials of the foundation that founded Blackcoin, a digital-currency formed in February by a Russian developer named rat4, say they have secured the purchase of two terminals; one to facilitate exchange between US dollars and Blackcoin, and the other to make retail payments, the Phnom Penh based co-founder of the Blackcoin foundation Josh Bouw told the Post.
“We are considering giving the terminals to local currency traders – one in Central Market and the other in Tuol Tompuong,” the 23-year-old from Canada said.
The machines could be operational as early as July, Bouw added.
The terminals, developed by Canadian firm Coinkite, accept a range of different crypto-currencies including Blackcoin and Bitcoin. Users input their crypto-currency debit card, then depending on which crypto-currency you select, the machine will either charge your account directly or produce a barcode receipt that users scan with their phone to make a deduction.
The terminals allow Blackcoin holders to make purchases at places such as clothing stores and coffee shops that choose to participate.
Like other crypto-currencies, Blackcoins are purchased online for legal tender and then traded directly between one Blackcoin holder to another without the need for a third party, such as a bank.
As at 5pm yesterday, there were more than 74 million Blackcoins in circulation, with a total market value of more than $9 million, or $0.12 per coin.
Bouw said he is aiming to bring more terminals to the capital in the future.
There are now an estimated 290 different crypto-currencies, including Blackcoin and the flagship Bitcoin, currently being traded online.
In March the Post reported local businessman Ki Chong Tran submitted a request to the Bitcoin Foundation asking for a $100,000 grant to establish a crypto-currency network with ATMs here in Phnom Penh.
The Bitcoin article prompted an April 7 announcement from the National Bank of Cambodia that crypto-currencies would not be recognised as legal tender in Cambodia.
The NBC cited inflated risk of cyber-crime and hacking, money laundering and terrorism financing due to the absence of any regulation and consumer protection instruments within the crypto-currency framework as key reasons for the refusal.
Newcomer Blackcoin has also called on Cambodia’s largest payment transfer and remittance service, Wing, to help facilitate acceptance of crypto-currencies in Cambodia.
However, Wing CEO Anthony Perkins told the Postyesterday that while crypto-currencies are an “exciting” development, his firm’s stance on the issue was in line with that of the NBC's.
“Wing is not in a position to consider direct cooperation with such entities for electronic transactions or interchange until such time as they or their new currencies are recognised by the NBC,” he added.