Designing a modern, digital payments system
To help build the system, the NBC chose to partner with Tokyo-based Soramitsu, a major contributor to the Hyperledger Iroha codebase.
Soramitsu worked closely with the NBC team, providing onsite support throughout the project, with developers working side-by-side with the NBC development team. This way, the team quickly resolved any open questions using well-defined and coordinated sprints.
“Having people on-site definitely helped with communication,” says Takemiya. “And it gave us new ideas for features to put in place.”
To ensure smooth implementation of Project Bakong, the platform preserves most of the features of the existing payment system called FAST. Hyperledger Iroha is an upgrade to the core system for recording financial transactions on the ledger.
The system provides modern interactions, including mobile apps for Android and iOS.
And new APIs help banks and other payment providers to integrate their core systems, internet banking, and mobile payment apps with the platform.
The platform uses the ISO 20022 standard messaging format, which makes it easy for any bank’s core system to communicate with Bakong.
And for banks without their own mobile app, the NBC provides a white-label app that participating banks can rebrand to offer instant transfers and payments to their customers.
These features keep costs low and reduce entry barriers for partners looking to join the system.
“Cambodia’s banking system consists of banks and payment service providers—these are purely technology companies that provide e-wallet and money transfer services,” says Serey. “The lighter the regulatory cost, the more payment service providers can offer affordable services to the lowest segment of the market.”