It is often said of blockchain that it is a closed sector, where a few enthusiasts meet. A sector where everyone is wondering, when the sacrosanct adoption on a large scale will come. If a world famous singer begins to use it to improve the quality of life of human beings, what about? Will singer Akon with his Akoin project and his own futuristic city be the cornerstone? CZ the founder of the Binance exchange that we no longer feature, may think so. Anyway, CZ was the moderator of the panel”CZ & Akoin: Driving Crypto Adoption and Innovation in Rising Economies”During the Binance conference Off The Charts, who celebrated the 3 years of her baby.
Are you ready to discover an Akon more humanistic than ever, accompanied by Jon Karas his partner? Ready to discover a CZ more jovial and groupie than ever? Yes ? well here we go!
Hi Akon, thanks for being here today. I have been to few concerts in my life but yours are one of them! How does a music star like you come to cryptocurrency?
Akon : Cryptocurrency and blockchain have always interested me. At first like many I had no idea what it was about and a friend of mine explained it to me. He then introduced me to Brock Pierce who is, as you yourself know, a great advocate of the ecosystem. He took his time and explained to me what it was about the future, but I’m used to that kind of thinking and didn’t pay more attention to it at the time. Everything changed when I returned to my homeland, Senegal. After I finished my stay, I had to return to the United States. Having had my plane in extremis, I only realized once on board that I only had frank CFA. My flight was stopping over in Paris and I told myself that I could exchange there. What was my misunderstanding when it was explained to me that this currency was not accepted here. How could France, the country which created the CFA franc, not exchange it on its own territory? I then thought about the explanations of Brock Pierce and I realized that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies were what Africa needed to build its future.
Between that realization and wanting to launch your own currency, the Akoin, how much time has passed?
Between 2 and 3 years. I took the necessary time to really understand how blockchain and its economy work. One of the goals of my life is to help the development of this continent which is so dear to me, victim of mismanagement of its own resources and its monetary instability. With Jon karas we thought about how to change things and I realized that Akon sounded like Akoin. The solution then became obvious, some sort of destiny perhaps?
You are a man of many facets, musician, entrepreneur, humanist … How do you want people to remember you in the future?
Music is the area that made me famous and allowed me to be where I am today. Nevertheless, I have always seen music as a bridge to enable me to accomplish greater purposes. I want people to remember me as someone who helped Africa grow. I want other people to join me in my fight. This continent has always given its tools to develop other countries, now it is up to us to provide it with new ones. Things must change!
What are the objectives of the Akoin token?
Jon karas : There are two main interests:
- Simplify conversions between currencies: as you know CZ, Africa is a continent where coexist 54 countries, as many governments and more than 40 different currencies. This situation makes the discussions slow and difficult and does not encourage investors to launch projects in the territory. With the Akoin, users can easily switch from one currency to another in seconds. The days of long conversions with high fees will be a bad memory. Africa being a country where the use of prepaid telephones is frequent, we have signed a partnership with BitMinutes which makes it possible to tokenize the remaining time. The user can easily exchange it for fiat, Akoins or other services.
- Access to decentralized applications: this will be the gateway to participating in the ecosystem. The dApps will facilitate access to micro loans, the micro lotteries that we are going to launch, education and the health field. It is a large ecosystem of which Akon City is one.
Speaking of Akon City, the company that won the contract is the US company KE International. This is known for the construction of Mwale Medical and Technology City (MMTC). Can you tell us more about this city?
Jon Karas: Yes MMTC is a technological and ecological city project launched in 2014 in Kakamega in western Kenya. It is an ecological and technological city whose construction will be completed this year. Near 4,800 ecological residences are available, but the heart of the city is the Hamptons Hospital which has nearly 5,000 beds to welcome patients. The city is gradually developing with its shopping centers and soon an airport to facilitate travel. Operating with a solar power plant is a waste incinerator, the city has obtained the certification LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) which is a reputable ecological certification.
It is for all these reasons that we chose the company KE International for the construction of Akon City.
Akon : Regarding Hamptons Hospital, the research carried out there attracts luminaries of the medical profession and it is currently in charge of the research department against Covid 19 on the African continent. We have signed a partnership with him as part of the project Akoin because the medical sector is particularly important in a country like Africa.
Jon karas : The Akoin will be a means of payment for the inhabitants and researchers of the city. From the simple invoice, to the salary, everything will be done with the token Akoin.
Obtaining such a contract is impressive! How did you manage this masterstroke?
Jon karas : To tell you all CZ I have a secret weapon with the code name AKON. The inhabitants know him and are aware that his approach is sincere. So they listen to us easily and also easily sign (to laugh).
What are the most promising things that are happening?
Akon : As we said, our goal is to bring new tools and concepts to African soil. The Akon city and Akoin, its utility token, will surely be the start of a proof of concept for other cities around the world. These cities will obviously have to be adapted according to the cultural heritage of each country.
Jon karas : There are a lot of promising things happening! We first signed a partnership with Jeev Network. It is a solution to digitize the healthcare sector by connecting doctors and their patients. Sanjeev Kaila, the founder is a true visionary.
We are also in close contact with the World Food Bank and the Global Food exchange. Many agricultural companies are also in contact with us, as it is one of the main income of Africans.
We are launching Akon Effect Opportunity Hubs. It is a technological hub where citizens can learn about new technologies such as AI and blockchain. The first will open at Mwale Medical and Technology City at the end of 2020.
We are also focused on building our community through our partnership with Sensechat, a messaging system for easily sending cryptocurrencies. Of course we are always looking for new partnerships.
When I try to develop Binance in Africa, I find myself with people who are either completely confused or very interested. I don’t feel like there is a happy medium. Given your ambitions, do you have any communication problems with governments?
Jon karas : Akon has been heavily invested in Africa for years, with Akon lighting africa in 2014 for example. As with your question about getting the contract, people understand his love for Africa and therefore he has immense support from the citizen but also from the government. There is a real desire to bring technology for the quality of life and the inhabitants welcome us with open arms.
Akon, as an entrepreneur, what lessons have you learned from the African market. What works and what does not?
Akon : I will say that what does not work is the rush. Many companies come to Africa importing a model that has been successful elsewhere. The African people are not like the others and want their culture to be respected. Must therefore understand it and adapt accordingly. The company must inspire confidence, to a people who have been manipulated for too long.
Like Binance you also have your own foundation, what is it?
Jon karas : The purpose of the foundation is to improve the living conditions of people. We are therefore focused on education, finance, access to health, improved productivity. We also use blockchain to make sure locals legally keep the land they have farmed for generations. Our team continues to grow and we are confident for the future.
Has the covid 19 crisis had an influence on your projects?
Akon : Ironically, the Covid 19 has been a blessing for me. Everything being closed, distractions were no longer possible and I was therefore able to fully concentrate on my project and sign quite a few partnerships for it. It is indeed easier to canvass people when they are unable to run away from you (to laugh).
Jon karas : I agree withAkon, what we have accomplished in the past 90 days is simply amazing. Without this crisis it would surely have been longer. However, other partnerships require “real” meetings and this is impossible in the current context, so we will have to wait.
Now that these questions are over I have a few questions about you Akon. After this crisis, do you have concerts planned?
Akon : Yes, I have tours planned to combat, among other things, the various forms of harassment. My fans don’t worry, this one will be global, I just want one thing: to get back on stage.
Can we use the Akoin for your concerts?
Akon : Yes of course ! The Akoin must be able to be used in all circumstances, my concerts are no exception.
During your tours, you have visited countless cities, which is your favorite?
Akon : Malta without any hesitation, I love this city.
And among all the foods that you have been able to try, which is your favorite?
Akon : I’m not a complicated man, so the pizza.
Finally, which book would you recommend everyone to read?
The four Toltec agreements of Don Miguel Ruiz without hesitation.
While to some Akon’s project seems disproportionate, it seems difficult to attack the man for his beliefs. As Akon City is already considered a “special tax zone” by the Senegalese government, it will no doubt attract many investors or people seeking different taxation. Maybe one day Cryptocurrencies and you, dear readers, will meet there over pizza and a concert Akon in the company of CZ our favorite groupie.
Engineering student, Community and Bounty Manager, I have been sailing the turbulent oceans of blockchain since 2017.
Aware that blockchain will change our future, I too want to participate in the revolution. Find me on Bitcointalk and on LinkedIn