The American singer and song writer, Akon, has finally received the ‘thumbs up’ for his 2,000-acre crypto city in Senegal, Africa. Akon has been given the land, which is close to the sea and only one hour’s drive from Dakar’s new international airport, by the Senegalese President. Plans are for the city to be tax-free and enjoy tax incentives whereby encouraging others to invest. The US-based firm, KE International, has been given the initial $4 billion contract, with phase one of the city due to be completed by 2023. It will have homes, offices, a hospital, hotels, a school, a police station, a waste facility, and a solar-power plant (the intention being also to 100% power this new city by renewable energy). It will be the second of such cities in Africa, the other being Mwale’s Mwale Medical and Technology City in Kenya (also built by KE International).
Akon is, himself, also intending to launch a Digital Currency (Akoin cryptocurrency) which will be run on the Stellar Blockchain. ‘Akoin’ will be the method of payment in this new city and it is hoped that, by using Blockchain technology, there will be more transparency and less opportunity for corruption and fraud. The objective is that the cryptocurrency will be traded on exchanges and, via atomic swaps, it will also be possible to exchange Akoin on a Peer2Peer basis i.e. without the need to go via an exchange. This will enable people to swap Akoins in a similar way to which pre purchased ‘phone minutes are done currently. This Peer2Peer trading of pre-paid ‘phone minutes is common in countries such as Nigeria due to high inflation rates and a lack of traditional backing services. The intention is for Akoin to be
available in all 54 African countries, thus making payments faster and cheaper across the continent (which could potentially rival national currencies).
This begs the question, will the likes of Google, Tencent (from China), Apple, Facebook or the global petroleum firms (such as Shell or Esso) be also looking to replicate this type of ecosystem, either by building their own eco crypto-based city physically or on-line? Many multinational firms already have customers and suppliers spread all over the world, by creating their own Digital Currency and using it as a method to allow payments to be made by its customers and suppliers. By creating a ‘digital-footprint’ and therefore offering optimum accountability in tracking and tracing transactions, these Digital Currencies could potentially help improve the speed of moving money and save costs whilst offering greater transparency and reducing the possibility of nefarious activities. This type of scenario could possibly come to fruition if we were to bear witness to what the publication Atlantic is calling, “The Coming of the Second Great Depression”. There is a very real possibility that the weakening of the US$ or the Euro, with their massive levels of debt and languid economic activity, could lead a loss in confidence with people turning to corporate currencies!