It's an undertaking that can't be exaggerated: Akon – the American-Senegalese R&B singer, songwriter and producer – is creating a new cryptocurrency called "Akoin."
Yes, you heard that right.
As Akon tells it, the forthcoming coin will serve as the currency for a yet-to-be-developed city in the country of Senegal. The "Akon Crypto City" will occupy a reported 2,000 acres of land gifted to the singer by the president of Senegal and is envisioned to be a "100% crypto-based city with Akoin at the center of transaction life."
And that's not all.
Akoin, while also being a transactional currency, is a key component to the broader "Akoin Ecosystem" founded to empower youth all over the African continent through a "suite of blockchain-powered apps" that allow young entrepreneurs to "buy, hold and spend cryptocurrency right from their smartphone", as stated on the coin's official webpage.
The cryptocurrency's unveiling and, more importantly, its use for both the development of a "crypto-based city" and as the underpinning of a cause to empower African youth, has arguably launched the celebrity of Akon to whole new level.
It bears mentioning that part of the enthusiasm and support on social media for Akon has been a long time coming.
Back in 2014, the Grammy-nominated singer started a for-profit company dubbed "Akon Lighting Africa" with the help of his two friends, Thione Niang and Samba Bathily.
The idea was to broaden electrical access to areas of Africa. Funded by a $1 billion credit line, Akon Lighting Africa has gone on to install 100,000 solar street lamps in 480 rural communities across 15 different African countries.
Praise for Akon – not only as a singer but as an entrepreneur and philanthropist impacting the Senegalese people and the African continent more generally – is one of the reasons why his name continues to be in the social media spotlight.
And for what it's worth, the multi-platinum album-selling artist himself isn't one to shy away from attention.
Talking at Cannes Lions in a panel moderated by People deputy editor JD Heyman, Akon stated he was preparing to confront the President of the United States, Donald Trump, during the 2020 presidential elections.
"I'm going to go after Trump… I'm going to come in with a team so crazy, man, it's all going down. I'm not holding my tongue," he said.
For all the talk of Akon's new plans to launch a cryptocurrency, build a crypto city and take on the president of the U.S., it's no wonder people are likening him to Marvel superhero character Black Panther, and his planned city with Wakanda, the fictional utopia.
You must be joking
The social media response to Akon's plans weren't all positive or supportive, however.
One user on Reddit thought of the announcement was one big joke, asking "Is this the Onion?" in reference to the American satirical newspaper.
Still others on Twitter made jabs at the celebrity's image, taking clips from past music videos by Akon and referencing the names of hip-hop artists with whom he has collaborated.
But two can play at that game.
Because of the chatter – both hopeful and cynical – there is undoubtedly a great degree of interest around the impact that Akoin could have on Senegal, depending on how the cryptocurrency plans shake out – first and foremost being its official launch.
Image Credit: Miguel Campos / Shutterstock.com