Akoin: Akon launches new cryptocurrency to rival bitcoin

Anthony Cuthbertson

Senegal-born singer Akon has announced plans for a new cryptocurrency that he hopes will form the base of a radical new city he plans to build in Africa.

Like bitcoin, the akoin cryptocurrency would function outside the realm of governments and traditional financial institutions, meaning it will "bring the power back to the people."

Akon, whose real name ia Aliaume Thiam, hopes that the new virtual currency will be at the centre of a "100 per cent crypto-based city" called Akon Crypto City – set to be built in the country of his birth.

"This futuristic city [is] already in development, beginning with 2,000 acres of land gifted to Akon from the President of Senegal, is within 5 minutes of the new international airport, close to the coast and a short drive from Dakar, the capital city of Senegal (Akon's homeland)," states a website that briefly details the endeavour.

"Akon Crypto City blends leading Smart City planning designs with a blank canvas for cryptonizing our daily human and business exchanges, towards inventing a radical new way of existence."

Akon was at Cannes Lion this week to launch the Akoin cryptocurrency, which he says will be available for sale within the next two weeks.

"I think that blockchain and crypto could be the saviour for Africa in many ways because it brings the power back to the people and brings the security back into the currency system and also allows the people to utilize it in ways where they can advance themselves and not allow government to do those things that are keeping them down," Akon said during a panel at the event, according to Page Six.

The singer admitted that his technical knowledge of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is limited, saying, "I come with the concepts and let the geeks figure it out."

It is not the first time a cryptocurrency has been associated with a popular singer, with the Coinye West alternative currency sparking a lawsuit with Kanye West over trademark infringement.

The creators of coinye west abandoned the cryptocurrency within weeks of launching it on exchanges in January 2014, although the network is still functional.