Cambodia is leapfrogging the development of smart cities throughout Southeast Asia by incorporating the encryption tool blockchain.
In a smart city, traffic, public services, and document circulation can be fully automated, integrated by big data, 5G and the internet of things (IoT). Applying blockchain is not as common in smart cities as these other tech abilities, but that’s what projects in Cambodia are doing.
While there are dozens considered to be smart cities today, less than a quarter have an active, large-scale implementation using blockchain.
Blockchain is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack or cheat the system. One significant development is that it can defeat cybercrime that can paralyse cities by literally turning off the lights among other major disruptions.
Two-thirds of the world’s population are expected to live in urban areas by 2050 and a minimum of 40 megacities will have a population of at least 10 million, making smart cities essential.
Tackling that growth would take more than just simple urban planning. Ultimately, the goal of smart cities is to incorporate technology as an infrastructure to alleviate various complexities.
In Asia, among the top smart cities includes Jakarta, Hanoi, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Mandalay, Phuket, Makassar, Danang, Bangkok and Philipines’ New Clark City.
Joining the league recently are three Cambodian cities: Phnom Penh, Battambang, and Siem Reap. But what makes Cambodia’s smart cities different from the rest in Asia – they will be secured by blockchain.
Envisioned in April 2018 as a platform to support the creation of technologically advanced urban areas in the region, the Asean Smart Cities Network (ASCN) has three Cambodian cities in its initial list of 26 pilot cities from across Southeast Asia – Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang.
In early 2019, Singaporean blockchain firm PLMP Fintech thought about how blockchain could power the next smart city, envisioning the Creatanium Blockchain Smart City in the process.
Located three hours from Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, Creatanium Blockchain Smart City is an agricultural and industrial cooperation project within the One Belt One Road initiative (BRI). The BRI, started in 2013 by China, is an international development strategy with ambitions to integrate Asia’s, Europe’s and Africa’s economies and to establish China at the centre of this connection.
Cambodia has embraced BRI with open arms, attempting to rise out of an agrarian-based society and towards an innovation
and skills-based economy. Theoretically, the BRI presents opportunities and the financial capacity to evolve Cambodia into a middle-to high-income country, by promoting a skills-driven economy and manufacturing high-quality goods.
PLMP Fintech’s vision is an ecosystem within the BRI comprising of business-to-business, business-to-consumer and consumer-to-consumer e-transactions powered by Creatanium blockchain, drawing together a network of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from
all over Southeast Asia.
The Creatanium Blockchain Smart City itself has five separate phases, with residential and commercial areas of more 20 hectares that are owned, developed and managed by Creatanium Development.
PLMP Fintech’s strategist Peter Lim said it is an ideal ground to implement the company’s suite of blockchain solutions. Lim attested that with the birth of Creatanium Blockchain Smart City, residents will be able to experience transparency and equitable distribution of resources, reduced congestion on roads, enhanced public transportation and better support for vulnerable and aged populations.