Akon Launches His Own Currency

Interlinking with his vision to build a crypto-based city, the Senegalese superstar creates a cryptocurrency to help develop the continent.

New York, USA. 20th May, 2015. Akon, American R&B artist and co-founder of Akon Lighting Africa initative, speaks during a press conference on "Sustainable Energy for All: Actions and Commitments" at UN headquarters, New York, United States. Credit: Xinhua/Alamy Live News.


The name Akon was once simply synonymous with hip-hop, R&B, Grammy nominations, multi-platinum selling songs, and so on and so forth.

Today, however, Akon is viewed as a businessman, an innovator, a philanthropist and a visionary – all in the name of developing Africa.  

Though he was born in Missouri, he spent his childhood in Senegal before later returning to the States. The American-Senegalese superstar, real name Aliaume Thiam, made headlines across the globe with his ‘Lighting Africa’ initiative which, to date, has brought solar power to 18 countries in Africa, improving safety, health and well-being for over 100M Africans who lacked basic electricity.

His latest venture sees him creating a cryptocurrency, to be called AKoin.

Unveiling his plans at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, he said: “I think that blockchain and crypto could be the saviour for Africa in many ways because it brings the power back to the people…cryptocurrency and blockchain technology offer a more secure currency that enables people in Africa to advance themselves independent of the government”

Consumers of the AKoin Ecosystem will be able to buy, hold and spend the cryptocurrency straight from their smartphones, all this will be possible once they have downloaded the app which is expected to be available for all later on this year.

This project is definitely not one of vanity, its primary aim is to create an independent generation and foster an entrepreneurial mindset amongst Africa’s youth. It will seek to offer an abundance of digital and real-life platforms and experiences that create opportunities and inclusion for youth through a suite of blockchain-powered apps.

Cryptocurrencies, popularised by the rise of Bitcoin, use cryptography to convert pieces of information into an almost uncrackable code to ensure secure and verified transactions. They function without any government, authority, or central banks input, and will, therefore, give the people of many African nations the control they have lacked for so long.

Akon’s project is the first of its kind anywhere in the world.

The AKoin Ecosystem unlocks the potential of the world’s largest emerging economy through the creation of a stable currency and innovative, revenue-generating opportunities that stimulate and support youth enterprise, economic stability, and growth across Africa and the world.

As expected with anything new, there will be doubters and cynics but Akon has already touched on his lack of technical knowledge saying in jest: “I come with the concepts and let the geeks figure it out”.

This currency is set to aid Akon’s other projects such as the ‘Lighting Africa’ initiative and will support his work in improving living conditions for many Africans.

The star is also creating a completely crypto-based city which will start on the 2,000 acres of land in Senegal which Akon received as a gift from the President of Senegal, Macky Sall.

The new crypto city will be five minutes from the new international airport and close to the coast and the capital city, Dakar. No doubt this will also bring in tourism revenue for the African nation.

Aside from this new venture and his ‘Lighting Africa’ initiative, Akon co-founded the Konfidence Foundation in 2007, a health and education charity for underprivileged children in West Africa and the United States.

Akon Lighting Africa has earned recognition from the UN and has won numerous awards and praise for its ground-breaking work. Last year, the organisation secured a $1bn credit line.