Bitcoin’s Mass Adoption Clue Is Hidden Away in Cambodia
Cambodia, a country that uses multiple currencies, may hold the key to mass adoption of Bitcoin.
When I first got to Cambodia, the use of the dollar took me aback. The reasons were multi fold. One is that the prices are incredibly low. A dollar can buy you nearly 6-7 pastries at a local bakery. Secondly there are no coins, this means that whilst you pay in the dollar, you get your change back in Cambodian Riels. It seems to be a common knowledge that 1 dollar is nearabouts 4000 Riels. While at first getting your change back and doing the math maybe perplexing, you can get used to it. In most non-touristy shops the prices are marked in Cambodian Riels. Divide by 4000 and you can pay in dollars or you can simply shell out the Riel. Of course at the ATM, you can get either Riels or dollars but most ATMs simply spew out dollars. A big problem though remains getting change for bigger dollar bills. If you carry around 100s that you have freshly withdrawn from an ATM, you will struggle a lot.
How they have blown up the Central Bank
Cambodia maybe the only country in the world with the dubious distinction of the blowing up of the national bank. I am sure that many readers would love the idea that national banks just disappear. Well it has actually occurred there. The Banque Nationale du Cambodge or The National Bank of Cambodia was established in 1954 and started printing the Riel to end the monetary alliance between Vietnam and Laos. However, the bank met a grisly end in 1975, when it was blown up with explosives by the infamous Khmer Rouge. Their symbolic destruction of the national bank also put an end to the use of the Riel as a currency. When the Khmer Rouge were driven out by Vietnam, the Riel was reintroduced and a central bank reformulated from scratch. It was only after the UN came in and ran the country for a while in the 1990s that the reintroduced Riel lost its market value as oodles of dollars made their way into Cambodia.
This post was published at Coin Telegraph on 2016-10-16.