2018 saw the release of Black Panther, a movie produced by Marvel. Black Panther revolved around Wakanda, a technologically advanced country with a futuristic theme located in Africa. Now, if for some reason you thought that this was pure fiction, you will probably want to think again.
Of course, we don’t mean this in the literal sense since, as beautiful as it can be, Wakanda really isn’t real. However, could it be the next big thing? Akon, the 45-year old rapper, has revealed that he intends to build a futuristic city in Senegal. The city will be named Akon Crypto City.
Sitting on a 2,000-acre piece of land, the city will be built close to Dakar and will include a sports stadium, universities, an international airport, and schools. Akon further said that the city will only trade in a cryptocurrency which will be named AKOIN, after the star himself.
Other projects that the ‘Smack That’ singer has sponsored include Akon Lighting Africa. This particular project provides scaled solar power solutions across 18 African countries. He hopes that AKOIN will “provide immediate and continuous wealth generating opportunities which will initiate financial stability and micro-exchanges.” This is according to AKOIN’s website.
Akon pointed out that AKOIN could very well be the long-awaited savior of Africa in quite a number of ways. He said this while attending the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
According to the website, the president of Senegal, Macky Sall, has already granted the 2,000 acres of land.
The city sounds quite awesome from all perspectives. The website describes it in beautiful and vivid terms, as is expected. It will be located close to the coast, and it will only take a five-minute drive from the international airport. It’s the same case with the country’s capital, Dakar.
The city is intended to be used for multiple purposes. Its master plan states that it contains everything from universities to schools, a stadium, parks, residential and retail and light manufacturing.
Akon Crypto City will be open to anyone who’s looking to move into the future. There are numerous opportunities for businesses, high-profile persons, and brands that want to create amazing experiences in a futuristic surrounding.
We have to admit that it sounds wonderful theoretically. However, building a city from scratch takes quite a long while. Therefore, we don’t expect to see it finished anytime soon. We remain hopeful nonetheless.
A Transactional Future?
Last week, a group of technology experts gathered at the MEST Africa Summit to deliberate about the “challenges, opportunities and trends that are affecting markets all over the continent.” Akon’s sentiments were supported at this meeting.
Cash transactions across the continent are at 94% according to the CEO of WALA, Tricia Martinez. WALA is a zero-fee money app.
Tricia said that the huge fees charged by financial institutions are to blame for the huge setback for adoption.
“Financial inclusion will be solved by zero-fee,” she added.
Due to the high fees and inefficiencies, a good number of underbanked people have already lost hope in the financial system.
According to Campbell, blockchain is filling the gaps that Africa’s banks are continuously creating.
Campbell said that blockchain will have the same impact on payments as the internet has had on information.
Crypto is Internet Boom for Africa
Rasheed Alabi, an expert in risk management, seems to think that Africans see cryptocurrencies as a gateway through which they can escape the ailing economies all over the continent.
“After missing the internet boom, we don’t intend to let the opportunity that crypto has presented us with to just pass us by,” Alabi said.
The banking and internet sectors have been closely controlled by the governments. However, crypto is the one system that governments cannot control. This is according to crypto evangelists in Africa.
In an interview with CNN, Alabi said that citizens are losing confidence in their governments as their security and financial advisers. He also added that the liberalist movement is rising fast around the world.
Financial stability is expected to be among the packages that the AKOIN token will provide in the region. Though developed nations usually adopt new technology faster, it would be easier to be adopted in the underdeveloped nations since it’s a lot easier to build infrastructure from scratch rather than repairing broken systems. The latter dynamic is set to be put to the test by Akon’s crypto city.
While there are countries that are still fighting inflation, like Zimbabwe, there is a decent number of citizens that are viewing cryptocurrency and entrepreneurship that is based on the same as a perfect alternative. For these reasons, Africa could be the next ‘lab’ for testing digital currencies.
Just recently, Zimbabwe attempted to ban crypto. Across the continent, however, there has been a lot of adoption. In Ethiopia, IOHK, backed by Cardano, is initiating blockchain projects. Blockchain-powered, micro-loans are on the horizon in Kenya, with IBM behind this great idea. There are many more cryptoverse eyes in the region that are seeking to introduce the blockchain and cryptocurrency systems in the continent.
Keep your eyes open because more will be coming soon.
Bitcoin Use Continues to Grow in Africa
Analysts say that Bitcoin will achieve what fiat currencies have not been able to; economic stability and democracy. This is because it’s being used for a dynamic range of various purposes all over the continent.
In countries such as Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria, most citizens, and their economies, rely on cost-effective transfers that are also fast. Bitcoin can achieve this. This is just one among the many reasons why its presence is continuously being appreciated on the African continent. With Bitcoin, the end user is always making more money because of how fast and efficient the technology is. Transactions via Bitcoin are also incredibly cheaper than the more common currencies.
Funding e-wallets via Bitcoin have also been made possible. Such e-wallets include Neteller and Skrill. It’s now possible to trade Bitcoins and transfer the proceeds to your PayPal account. This has made peer-to-peer transfers a lot easier.
For the citizens who may not enjoy full access to financial services to access and receive money, Bitcoin has become a welcome alternative due to its unique ability to transfer funds to e-wallets, especially PayPal. Payment systems have now become more widespread, and their uses have also diversified into commerce, entertainment options, and even retail. Most of these sites accept PayPal, which is wonderful for Bitcoin traders.
In some countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria, Bitcoin is already being used for business transactions. There has been an increase in the number of local startups which are developing Bitcoin-based lending platforms. Cross-border lending has become more affordable and quicker, eliminating the need for banks.
Small business owners have a reason to smile since they are now able to make transactions all over the world from the comfort of their mobile phones or PCs. Furthermore, they can now access their money faster by phone and at the same time use remittance platforms in their localities. All this has been achieved by combining mobile technology with the Bitcoin blockchain.
Bitcoin is quickly making its way into our daily lives. In Nigeria, for example, a local online company, Shopnow.ng, is accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment. They also have a mobile app through which online customers can shop with Bitcoins. In Johannesburg, South Africa, an ATM has been set up where locals can receive Bitcoin in exchange for Rand. Bidorbuy, the biggest online market in the country, also accepts Bitcoin. Also in South Africa, one of the continent’s largest online markets, Pick and Pay, is accepting Bitcoins as a form of payment.
Entrepreneurs are continuously seeking ways through which blockchain technology and Bitcoin can be incorporated into daily lives. The above examples are just a few among the thousands that are currently accepting and trading through blockchain and Bitcoin.
For example, companies in Zimbabwe are already creating remittance services and mobile wallets based on Bitcoin. In Nairobi, Kenya, remittance firms are continuously springing up. They aim to make B2B transactions affordable. Blockchain startups are also advising new companies on the importance of blockchain technology and how they can adopt it successfully. Botswana will soon be seeing Bitcoin-enabled ATMs. Marketplaces, where Bitcoin will be the means of trade, are also being developed. New e-payment solutions are also in the making in Ghana. These systems will accept cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin among others.
Companies all over the world have accepted the importance of bitcoin in Africa. They are now taking steps towards developing new enterprises with an African focus. These include peer-to-peer markets and mobile phone top-up services. Kobocoin, the newest African digital currency, is meant to be used in the African remittance market.
The Bitcoin Trading Industry in Africa
The best indication of the tremendous growth of Bitcoin in Africa would be the huge number of Bitcoin exchanges in the continent. Some local companies include Luno, Bitcoinfundi, NairaEx, ice3x, and BitPaya. Kraken and Bitstamp are two of the international names on the scene. These exchanges allow customers to trade cryptocurrencies.
Mobile accessibility, transparency, and speed tend to be the main focus among African exchanges. Currently, the main emphasis lies on peer-to-peer exchanges. However, as more people continue to view cryptocurrency as a tool for investment, the focus will almost certainly shift to other areas.
The fact that Bitcoin cannot be controlled by central banks is perhaps the main reason why it’s gaining ground. Bitcoin may also be a solution to the inflation that has rocked the continent, as well as the underbanked population in the region.
Its popularity can also be attributed to how easy and cheap it has become to conduct peer-to-peer transactions. This is also why experts are predicting that it will only increase in popularity as more people understand how it functions and the benefits that it will bring. This is especially true in countries where the adoption of mobile technology is on the rise.
What Has Led to the Increase in Bitcoin Use and Bitcoin Trading in the African Market?
Unlike other currencies, Bitcoin is completely free from control by central banks and governments. This means that it’s highly transparent and its value cannot be affected by inflation. The main reason for its continued success, however, is mobile technology.
Mobile phone use in Africa is growing faster than on any other continent. Opportunities that were denied in previous generations have risen in the entertainment, retail and commerce sectors. A mobile phone is also the only way that you can access the internet in many parts of Africa. Since Bitcoin is a digital currency, it’s fast becoming the alternative way of doing business on the continent.
Some time back, some Africans lost their money to Ponzi schemes like MMM and other online ventures. Therefore, they lost trust in online businesses. This is a huge problem that Akon and his AKOIN project will have to overcome to be successful in Africa.
According to CryptoCompare, the majority of transactions involving cryptocurrency are being processed in Nigeria and South Africa.
Alabi suggested to African governments that they should get on board instead of continuously trying to oppose Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general. Akon’s vision is an opportunity for them to be a part of the Bitcoin growth.
Some governments have begun embracing the blockchain technology.
Ghana’s land registry is using it to prevent fraud while South Africa is using it to verify identities. In Kenya, blockchain technology is being used to boost remittances.
Other Personalities Involved in Crypto
Besides Akon, there are some other personalities who have been associated with cryptocurrency. Ol’ Dirty Bastard, a member of the Wu-Tang Clan, was involved in the crypto world after the launching of a coin by his son. DJ Khaled also associated himself with the CTR Token, which was later deemed as a fraud by the SEC. A buzz hit the internet when rapper 50 Cent claimed that he ‘forgot’ $8 million in Bitcoin assets.
Akon is keeping his hands clean with AKOIN’s creation and launch. He says that he will let the geeks figure everything out while he comes up with the concept.