The popular Senegalese-American singer, rapper, songwriter, and record producer, Akon, shocked the world a few years back by announcing revolutionary plans to build a real-life Wakanda city in Senegal. The idea was to run entirely on renewable energy and be powered by Akon’s own cryptocurrency – Akoin.
The ambitious endeavor garnered the world’s attention, and despite some challenges, recent reports indicated that the entire project should be completed within the next several years.
CryptoPotato had the opportunity to interview the musician and mastermind of the project and two of the key individuals behind the ambitious Akon city idea: Lynn Liss, Co-Founder of Akon City, and business partner Jon Karas.
They talked about the development stages, mass acceptance, assistance from the local government, while Akon also told his personal bitcoin story.
Akon: The Bitcoin Gift From 2014 Sold Too Early
The musician explained that his history with the cryptocurrency space started in 2014. At the time, he received an undisclosed amount of bitcoins as a gift, but he didn’t fully understand what it was and sold them. With the mind-blowing increase of value BTC experienced since then, Akon now said, “man, do I wish I would have held on to it.”
Nevertheless, he did comprehend the cryptocurrency’s value and blockchain’s power but only after surrounding himself with ‘the best minds in the space.’ according to him.
“Watching the crazy rise of Bitcoin supports what I sensed from the start – it’s about what the people believe in, where they want to hold or put their assets, what places they trust, and that feeling of massive financial control decentralized.
Whether that’s Bitcoin or some other currency you believe in, if enough people believe, the value of the currency is going to maintain.”
When it comes down to his futuristic city idea, Akon admitted there was some initial backlash from skeptics, but “a tiger doesn’t lose sleep over the opinion of a sheep.” He believes in the project’s future and value for locals, which is why he and the team had worked tirelessly to prove the naysayers wrong.
Co-Founder Karas and Liss outlined that once people comprehended Akon City’s vision and spirit, they were “generally inspired” and supportive.
“The concept of creating a green, smart city on the Coast of Senegal with amazing Africa-inspired architecture captivated people’s imaginations and sense of possibility. The practicality and logistics to bring this vision to life are where the heavier lifting has been required.”
Support From Senegal Authorities
Both outlined the team they work with as a vital part of the entire process. Furthermore, they breached the “strong support” from the President of Senegal, Macky Sall, and his “very capable” ministers and officials.
The combination of all these factors and assistance from institutions allow them to obtain the necessary financing to build Akon City.
Karas and Liss thank the cryptocurrency community for being “excited and supportive,” especially as the Akoin digital asset “will be utilized all across every aspect of the city and will be an essential part of daily life.”
Speaking of the AKN token, early plans see its first massive adoption and real-life usage by at least 20,000 Mwale Medical and Technology City workers by the end of the year. The duo believes this is just the first out of many ways to popularize and utilize AKN.
“We’ve been fortunate to have our partners and the people of MMTC piloting and strengthening our Akoin Wallet for broader deployment, both throughout MMTC and Africa happening now.
In addition to these regional deployments, the main way we popularize AKN is by bringing valuable dApps and Apps into our ecosystem so users can find massive utility in Akoin right from the wallet.”
Further Akoin utilization includes implementation in sectors like micro-lending, healthcare, and entertainment. Separately, the team “spent a fair amount of time making sure AKN is accessible globally on the crypto exchange markets.” Most recently, Bittrex Global listed the coin on its platform, as reported.
“The more people feel that AKN is a trusted and preferred digital currency with very high utility and a place they want to store their financial value, the popularity of AKN grows.”
Helping the Young and the Effects of COVID-19
Africa has the youngest population in the world, with estimated 200 million people between 15 and 24. The ambitious project looks to build for the future and to serve their needs.
Karas and Liss also asserted that the team’s “largest mission” is to fuel the rise of entrepreneur and financial stability in Africa, which is something digital assets could help with:
“The beauty of cryptocurrency is its inherent scalability, cross border, and platform interoperability, and immutable nature.
Combined with the power of our Akoin ecosystem where dApps and Apps provide tools and services to this same youthful user base, who are adept in building their business and financial growth through mobile applications but also versed in the use of cryptocurrency as an improved way to store their assets and transact in the global economy.”
As with many aspects of life, the duo admitted that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic affected their project. However, they said it only reduced people’s ability to travel to work in the city.
On the other hand, the “core leadership,” including lead architect Hussein Bakri, financiers Julius Mwale, and other institutions, “have made their way to Senegal even during these challenging times to move everything forward.”
Plans remain on track as KE International has stuck to the schedule to break ground later this year and keep Akon City’s construction and launch as intended.
Interestingly, previous reports also suggested that Akon and the team could franchise the futuristic city idea and build similar revolutionary establishments in other parts of the continent and the world.
Featured Image Courtesy of APNews