Tokyo (VNA) – The Bank of Laos (BOL) on February 7 started piloting its digital currency following its memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with Japanese blockchain developer Soramitsu one day earlier.

Soramitsu helped Cambodia launch its digital currency, called Bakong, in October 2020. The BOL will use a modified version of this system to generate digital currency, which will be distributed to consumers via commercial banks, Nikkei Asia reported, adding that consumers will test using the currency to pay for purchases at stores.

Laos sees digital currency as a way to make financial services more accessible. Around 70% of the Lao population has no bank account. A digital currency is expected to let people pay at the store or transfer money by scanning a QR code on their smartphones, regardless of whether they have a bank account. It could reduce the cost of remittances from workers overseas.

According to Nikkei Asia, Vietnam and the Philippines are conducting research on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), while Fiji and other Pacific island nations have expressed interest in the concept.

Soramitsu aims to create an international settlement network that connects digital currencies from these countries./.