A Currency Nobody Wants...Except One Lonely Believer

At the end of every workday in Cambodia, a motorbike-taxi driver called Pak takes his earnings to a money changer. He pulls wads of 200- and 500-riel notes from his pockets and spreads them in front of an old woman who sells the two most precious items on sale in Cambodia: U.S. dollars and gold. On a Wednesday in late June, Pak was able to buy $7 and have a few riel notes left over for dinner. He hopes to save $80 in the next few weeks. Then he'll buy a thick gold ring so he can keep his savings in the safest place he knows--on his finger.

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