The central banks of Singapore and Cambodia are exploring central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) as crypto interest grows among ASEAN countries, said during a panel discussion at the China Conference: Southeast Asia event on Thursday. The countries seek to launch CBDCs in an effort to improve payments efficiency, encourage start-ups and e-commerce.
During a panel discussion at the China Conference: Southeast Asia event, representatives of Singapore and Cambodia’s central banks expressed interest in central bank digital currencies as crypto adoption grows among the young generation. Southeast Asia has seen the evolution of digital payments, e-commerce, and cryptocurrencies within recent years.
Benedicte Nolens, head of the Hong Kong centre of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Innovation Hub, said:
“Southeast Asia has been a very fertile ground for digital payment innovation. When you see online e-commerce growth, typically it goes fairly well with new payment mechanisms.”
Frederick Fung, chairman of the Association of Cryptocurrency Enterprises and Start-ups in Singapore, thinks the country is witnessing progress in the adoption of cryptocurrencies. Apart from rising interest among the younger generation, old people also involve themselves in digital payments and crypto trading.
Last year, the central banks of Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, South Africa collaborated with BIS Innovation Hub in ‘Project Dunbar’ for the development of a cross-border settlement platform for multiple CBDCs.
Meanwhile, the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) seeks to improve the adoption of its Bakong retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) as e-commerce and crypto innovation evolves in the country. NBC looks to push its de-dollarization policy with its CBDC.
Serey Chea, Assistant Governor of the National Bank of Cambodia, said:
“There is a lot of room to grow in the internet economy in Southeast Asia. Cambodia is a small country of 16 million people, where we have about 20 million mobile phone subscriptions.”
Southeast-Asian countries are at the forefront of testing and researching central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). With the increase in e-commerce and digital payments among ASEAN countries, the central banks of most ASEAN nations including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and the Philippines have pushed proposals for CBDCs. The countries look to manage their monetary and financial stability with CBDC implementation amid rising crypto adoption.