In a world where tech innovators are gradually revealing themselves as cynical corporate masterminds, we’re lucky to have Akon. The rapper, entrepreneur, and philanthropist announced last week that he is planning to build a city in Senegal where you can only trade using Akoin, Akon’s branded cryptocurrency. The plan is to build what’s being described as a ‘real life Wakanda’, the fictional city in Marvel’s Black Panther movie.
Akon believes cryptocurrency can play a huge role in boosting economic development in Africa. During a panel discussion at this year’s Cannes Lions festival earlier this month, he said that “blockchain and crypto could be the savior for Africa.”
He explained that cryptocurrencies would offer many Africans a level of independence and security for ordinary Africans. This has the potential to be hugely empowering, he argues.
Akon Crypto City: Akon’s cryptocurrency city
Plans for Akon’s cryptocurrency city – called Akon Crypto City – aren’t fully fleshed out. At the Cannes Lions panel discussion, he’s reported as saying “I come with the concepts and let the geeks figure it out.”
However, there are some details which you can find on the ICO Impact website. Akon Crypto City will, if everything goes to plan, be “built on 2,000 acres of land gifted to Akon from the President of Senegal” and located near Senegal’s new international airport.
You certainly can’t accuse Akon of lacking ambition. According to ICO Impact’s information the goal is “inventing a radical new way of existence.”
The Verge draws parallels between Akon Crypto City and a similar project in the Marshall Islands. In February, the small Pacific republic made its own cryptocurrency – called ‘Sovereign’ – its national legal tender.
Thanks to the likes of Akon, expect to see cryptocurrency enter the international language of finance much more over the next few years. Perhaps don’t expect to see Akon Crypto City too soon. It’s going to take some time and energy to put everything in place for the project to even begin.
That said, don’t bet against Akon either. After the success of his incredible Akon Lighting Africa (which brought lighting to 6 million people on the continent) in 2014, it would seem he’s a man unfazed by limitations.