Akon Launches Cryptocurrency Business Empire

  • Akon launched a cryptocurrency called “Akoin”
  • The cryptocurrency will support throughout a new city he’s building in Senegal

Akon made a splash at the Cannes Lions Festival where the most powerful people in marketing and advertising gather to chart the path forward for the industry. He announced the launch of his own cryptocurrency called Akoin. The digital currency will support Akon’s Lighting Africa Initiative. It will be the de facto currency in a Senegalese city he’s constructing on land donated by the government. Will cryptocurrencies be the tool that puts African nations on the path to overcoming their economic challenges?

Why This Matters: Akon joins a host of other celebrities involved in cryptocurrencies. For example, Nas is an investor in cryptocurrency trading platform Coinbase. The Game is on the advisory board at Paragon, a cryptocurrency startup tailored to the marijuana industry.

Akoin’s website describes the digital currency as stable because it will be pegged to hard assets. Akon and his team plan to build a whole ecosystem around the cryptocurrency, including construction of the city and initiatives to support young entrepreneurs.

Many African governments have expressed skepticism about the viability of cryptocurrencies. Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank banned banks from processing digital currency payments only for the country’s High Court to reverse the order. South Africa’s Revenue Service recently published guidance on how it would tax cryptocurrencies sparking debate about their classification. Kenya’s Central Bank has slow-walked issuing regulations on cryptocurrencies.

All of this skepticism relates to concerns these countries have about the riskiness of digital currencies and the potential for people in these countries to lose money. Time will tell whether cryptocurrencies like Akoin will bring stability to African economies or leave consumers wishing they had kept their money in traditional currencies.

Situational Awareness: Akoin is now part of the nearly 1,600 cryptocurrencies trading around the world. The total market capitalization for these digital currencies is over $241 billion.

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