Senegalese-American singer Akon says he has signed an agreement with the government of Senegal to build a city with a cryptocurrency-based economy named Akon City.
“Just finalized the agreement for Akon City in Senegal,” Akon tweeted earlier this week. “Looking forward to hosting you there in the future.”
The singer initially announced plans to create a city in the west African country, which will use his own cryptocurrency called the Akoin for currency, at the Cannes Lions advertising festival in 2018.
Akon is an “investor who believes in Africa”
Although there are few details, Akon’s announcement means that this cryptocurrency-based city, which was originally known as Akon Crypto City, is one step closer to being realised.
Akon’s tweet came days after Africanews.com reported a signing ceremony for a memorandum of understanding between the signer and state-owned tourism company SAPCO had taken place.
“Beyond his status as an artist, it is Akon, the investor who believes in Africa (signing up to the agreement),” the tourism ministry said in a statement before the ceremony reported Africanews.com.
According to a statement released in 2018, Akon City will be built on three square miles of land near the country’s capital Dakar that has been given to Akon by Macky Sall, the president of Senegal. The land is located “within five minutes” of the Blaise Diagne International Airport.
“Already in development, Akon Crypto City is the first of its kind, 100 per cent crypto-based city with Akoin at the center of transactional life,” said the statement in 2018.
“This futuristic city, built on 2,000 acres of land gifted to Akon from the President of Senegal, is within five minutes of the new international airport, close to the coast and a short drive from Dakar, the capital city of Senegal (Akon’s homeland).”
However, Africanews.com also reported that that the SAPCO Secretary General Aliune Ndiaye said that “Akon plans to build a complex in the seaside village of Mbodiene, some 120 kilometres south of the capital Dakar”.
It is unclear if this development is Akon City, which is now planned to be built in a different location, or if there are two Akon-backed projects happening in Senegal.
More cryptocurrency cities could follow
Speaking to Newsweek in 2018, Akon said that he hoped that the city would be the first of many that uses cryptocurrency – a digital currency based on blockchain, which is a set of digital records that track transactions chronologically and publicly.
“With the Akoin we are building cities, the first one being in Senegal. We’re securing the land and closing out all the legislation papers for the city. We want to make it a free zone, and cryptocurrency-driven as a test market,” he said.
“If it works, we will scale it out to all the other countries in Africa so all the cities are connected. It’s going to be a 50- to 100-year project, most likely. I probably won’t even live to see it finished. But for the project in Senegal, we have a 10-year deadline for that city to be built out.”
In the USA another smart city powered by blockchain technology is being planned for the Nevada desert by cryptocurrency millionaire Jeffrey Berns.