Frustrated by numerous attempts to convert his nation’s own funds into other foreign currency, Grammy-nominated performing artist Akon has announced plans to launch his own cryptocurrency in his native Senegal.
On a trip to Paris from Dakar a few years ago, Akon sought to convert some Sengalese currency into euros upon arrival in France. His request was met with a shrug. The currency exchange company informed Akon that they did not accept funds from Senegal.
“It really just opened my eyes,” Akon told Bloomberg News. “That really catapulted the energy to say, ‘We have to have our own currency.
“I don’t care what it takes - we’re going to fix this.’”
It didn’t matter that he was famous. Akon still found himself dealing with the same problem faced by many from his area of Africa. Financial institutions don’t want anything to do with CFA francs. That’s the currency of many of French-speaking West African countries, including Senegal.
This entire scenario, coupled with further cases where Akon found that his country’s currency was the opposite of an American Express card - it wasn’t accepted anywhere - illuminated a symbolic light bulb over his head.
After investigating and investing time in search of solutions, Akon believes he’s found the answer in cryptocurrency.
The genesis from this idea is that the singer came up with Akoin, a cryptocurrency that Akon is hopeful will eventually be adopted by people across the country. It will also serve as the accepted local currency in Akon City, a 2,000-acre development in Senegal that Akon is also involved in creating.
COVID-19 Emphasizes Need For Cryptocurrency
The current world pandemic due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 is also serving to display the value and need for forms of cryptocurrency. With so many people isolated in lockdown at home and doing much of their purchasing online, it has prohibited the use of cash to pay for items.
As well, several retail outlets, including grocery stores, are prohibiting the use of cash for in-person payments to reduce the potential for infection. Akon - whose actual full name is Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam - sees this as a wake-up call for people to understand that cryptocurrency isn’t a novelty, or a passing fad but that forms of it are actually going to become the world’s global currency.
“It just goes to show the relevancy of why digital currency is such a futuristic event and how this is the future as we’re moving forward,” Akon said. “There are going to be digital currencies that will float through the whole universe that allow us to trade in a way that we’re already accustomed to - but now it’s going to be the norm.”
Slowly but surely, cryptocurrencies are becoming more accepted for mainstream purchases. For instance, in the world of online sports betting, several betting sites are now accepting Bitcoin as a deposit method that players can employ to top up their accounts.
The advantages of cryptocurrency in this instance are many. Deposits with Bitcoin will never be rejected, and acceptance of deposit via cryptocurrency will be immediate in virtually every instance. As well, Bitcoin is a very secure method to transfer funds and it allows for anonymity.
Who Is Akon?
Born in St. Louis but raised in Senegal, Akon, 47, is currently a resident of New Jersey. He rose to musical prominence in the early 2000s with hits such as Locked Up and Lonely, both of which have enjoyed a renaissance of sorts during the global pandemic shutdown.
Over his career, he’s collaborated with such artists as Eminem, Gwen Stefani and Lady Gaga, and seen 27 of his songs register on the Billboard Top 100.
What Is Akon City?
Akon City is located on 2,000 acres along the Atlantic Ocean, and is less than an hour’s drive south of the new international airport in Dakar. It is intended to be a sustainable and ecotourism smart city .
Akon City's Phase 1 is expected to be completed by the end of 2023, and will see the construction of roads, a hospital campus, a mall, residences, hotels, a police station, a school, a waste facility and a solar power plant.
Akon City Phase 2 will be built from 2024 to 2029 and will end with a complete cryptocurrency city running exclusively on Akoin cryptocurrency.
Akon City will also have parks, universities, schools, a stadium, hotels, and an industrial complex and will be fully completed by 2030.
Akoin is a cryptocurrency powered by a marketplace of tools and services fueling the dreams of entrepreneurs, business owners, and social activists as they connect and engage across the rising economies of Africa and beyond.
The Akoin marketplace aims to be the market leader for decentralized applications (DApp)-based services in lean economies, with a heavy focus on Africa. Working alongside industry-leading technical, business and marketing partners, the Akoin marketplace will support a suite of cutting-edge DApps to the benefit of entrepreneurs in Africa and globally.
The hope is that the Akoin token will provide a more trusted currency alternative that enables entrepreneurs to build and grow their business.
The launch of Akoin is anticipated in early July 2020. According to Jon Karas, president and co-founder of Akoin, the desire is that Akoin will be adopted across the African continent and beyond.
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