BY NATHAN REIFF
The pop singer Akon is set to become the latest celebrity to enter the digital currency space. The singer had a string of hits including “Smack That” several years ago, but he has lately devoted an increasing share of his time to giving back to African communities. Now, “Akoin” could be a part of that giving as well.
Akon announced plans to launch Akoin at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. While the coin itself is short on public details at this point, including how exactly it will be launched and when that will take place, Akon was clear that he hopes that Akoin will be able to help facilitate another project of his: Akon Crypto City.
Akon Crypto City is a “100% crypto-based city in Africa,” according to a report by CoinDesk. Akon has previously stated his beliefs that “blockchain and crypto could be the savior for Africa in many ways, because [they bring] the power back to the people.” He added that these tools bring “the security back into the currency system” and allow “the people to utilize it in ways where they can advance themselves, and not allow government to do those things that are keeping them down.”
Akon Crypto City will be developed on a 2,000-acre parcel of land that has been set aside by Senegal’s president, Macky Sall. Akon is of Senegalese descent.
According to the Akoin website, Akon Crypto City will be a “real life Wakanda” (in reference to the fictional city featured in Black Panther comic books and the recent hit movie). The city is set to include many features commonly found in a normal city, including residential buildings, schools, parks and retail stores. Akon envisions a city fueled by Akoin, but he is happy to let others sort out the details and logistics; when asked about how the cryptocurrency would help to facilitate the functioning of the city, he said “I come with the concepts and let the geeks figure it out.”
Previously, the 45-year-old singer has launched a project called Akon Lighting Africa. Founded in 2014, this project has set goals of solving electricity shortage problems across the continent. Akon suggested that giving back was his primary focus, recommending that individuals should begin their careers with “what you’re great at … not what you want to do. Build your career then chase your passion.”
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