While the biggest and most disruptive event of 2020 was undoubtedly the COVID-19 pandemic, with the world still in the midst of these unprecedented times, it was not all doom and gloom. One of the success stories of the last year was the stunning rise in the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin in particular leading the way, going from around $5,000 in March 2020, to crossing $40,000 a few weeks ago. This has brought a renewed focus and increased the spotlight on the crypto sector, with more and more people and investors looking to get into this space.

However, the big difference this time, as opposed to 2017, when there was a similar rally, is that big companies and institutional investors have all looked to enter the crypto space, being convinced of its advantages and merits. This was not the case last time around, and is why there is a lot more confidence that cryptocurrencies are here to stay now. In fact, we are already seeing many sectors beginning to adopt crypto and the underlying blockchain technology, with the best example being that of the online gambling sector.

Here, operators have begun giving players the option to make payments using cryptocurrencies and on sites with bitcoin or litecoin gambling games, players are able to place bets and therefore potentially earn their rewards in this form, making it extremely attractive, and also showing a great example for other sectors on how to incorporate crypto into their operations.

We mentioned that individuals and investors are getting into crypto in a big manner, and one of the most famous examples of this is the African rapper Akon. The singing star has backed Akoin, a cryptocurrency targeted towards Africa, and this recently launched in Kenya as a mode of payment, while it is also the centrepiece behind a planned $6 billion city development project in Senegal, Akon’s home country.

Akoin will be the currency backing this project, and with more and more people being attracted towards digital currencies, this can only be a good thing, especially in Africa where cryptocurrencies have proved to be extremely popular.

Akoin has also begun trading on exchanges such as the Bittrex Global exchange. This means that it is already in line to be accepted globally, and its increasing value should help improve the prospects for the proposed smart city in Senegal as well.

This is not the only infrastructure project being backed by Akoin – it is also supporting the Mwale Medical and Technology City, which is a technology and medical complex being developed in Kakamega, Kenya.  All workers at the complex will be paid in Akoin, and transactions and fees will also be accepted in that currency, with no extra fees for those using Akoin, as opposed to fiat currency. 

As for the city in Senegal, it is situated in the west of the country, and work will begin in the next few weeks, with the American company KE International helming the project. It has also received backing from the government in the form of tax benefits, as well as import assistance. Again, similar to the project in Kenya, Akoin will be the currency used in this city, with transactions and salaries all being paid in this manner.

Ease of access will be maintained through issuing debit cards for simple transactions, while people will also be free to convert Akoin into the fiat currency if they wish. This flexibility will be a key part of the Akoin ecosystem, and should help attract more people to using the currency.

Akon’s work towards philanthropy in Africa is already legendary, and the singer has taken another step towards cementing his legacy on the continent with this project.