Celebrities and digital currencies have not augured particularly well, with many of them having to part with huge sums of money just to get the authorities off their backs. One celebrity is however out to change all this and is building a futuristic city powered by blockchain technology and digital currencies. Grammy-nominated singer Akon believes he can change millions of lives in Africa with his Akoin currency, but is it all just a dream or can the real-life Wakanda be actualized?
Born Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam, Akon relocated to the U.S from Senegal at seven where he went on to release chart-topping hits. He, however, never forsook his roots and has invested a lot of resources into several initiatives in Senegal and beyond. His most prominent is the Akon Lighting Africa Initiative, one that seeks to bring clean energy to millions of African homes.
In his most daring project yet, Akon announced in 2018 that he would be launching Akon City, a utopian city which would avail all sorts of opportunities for the African youth. The city will be built in a 2,000-acre land gifted to him by Senegal’s president and will be just a 5-minute drive from a newly-built international airport as well as the capital of Dakar.
Akon City will be powered by Akoin, a digital currency named after the ‘Locked Up’ and ‘Lonely’ singer. Akoin will purportedly be a trusted digital currency that will stimulate revenue-generating opportunities which will “support and empower youth entrepreneurship, economic stability, and growth across Africa and the world.”
If you don’t know more about the currency, that’s because there isn’t much more to know as up till now, Akon and his team are yet to release the project’s whitepaper. Anyone in the digital currency industry knows just how important a whitepaper is – it introduces the public to your project, including its goals and milestones and how you intend on achieving them.
Akon has kept us in the dark on this. And it’s not because he hasn’t been asked about it. In an appearance last year, he was asked why he has yet to release a concrete plan on how his city will operate. His response:
“I come with the concepts and let the geeks figure it out.”
In addition to the lack of a whitepaper, Akoin has also missed some of the milestones it has put up so far. Akon had pledged to release the token in July 2018, a deadline he has now missed by close to two years. Granted, developing a functional digital currency is a tough ask. However, Akon has failed to keep his fans on the loop on the progress, and this void has been filled with all manner of theories.
With huge pledges but little tangible effort, the project has shifted focus to the big picture and the incredible future that could be if everything went according to plan. Damoy Robertson, the project’s marketing advisor in an interview stated, “The key thing we are focusing is getting the public, potential users and investors to understand just how important Akoin is and the size of the opportunity.”
While he’s right about the need for market sensitization, the product is just as crucial, and this hasn’t been forthcoming.
Noble as the idea is, Akoin is still just a concept, and as Silicon Valley has come to prove, most concepts die out fast if they aren’t accompanied by diligent and strategic moves. As it stands, Akoin is nothing more than a digital currency project that’s clinging on the fame of a celebrity to make a splash.
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