Akon’s cryptocurrency and city failed — enter Idris Elba
Akon’s cryptocurrency and city failed — enter Idris Elba

In 2020, Akon, the best-selling Grammy-nominated musician, made a bold and ultimately absurd claim that he would build a Wakanda-style city in Senegal. The layouts were magnificent: slim, sleek, curved skyscrapers, new museums and tree-lined boulevards, all in the heart of a country where 36% of people live below the poverty line.

Part of the scheme relied on “Akoin”, a cryptocurrency created in 2018 and bearing the slogan “One Africa. One coin.” Crypto, along with the city, aimed to unite Africa behind a bigger vision and an affordable, digitized economy.

However, those dreams of a futuristic, Frank Gehry-inspired cityscape in Senegal and a single African currency soon turned into nightmares not just for Akon, but for everyone.

Read more: El Salvador’s Bitcoin City Canceled — But Did It Ever Exist?

Unpaid loans, write-offs and lawsuits

Although Akon moved from media to media and podcast after podcast extolling the virtues of Akon City and Akoin in 2019 and 2020, the projects themselves soon began to fail.

First, Akon was sued by his former business partner, then Akon blamed the COVID-19 pandemic for delays, and finally Sapco, the entity that bought the land for the city, failed to pay hundreds of individuals who sold their land nearly a decade ago.

Akon still suggests that the city will be developed – at least partially – by 2026, but the reality on the ground looks less and less like Wakanda and more like any other failed urban project.

Meanwhile, Akoin has been removed from every exchange where it was once available for purchase. Buyers have been refunded, the Akon City website has been taken down, and Akon has told Cameo (the website where celebrities are paid by people to record personalized videos) that he will not make any crypto-related requests.

Read more: Crypto city project reportedly wants to attract tech talent with ‘hot girls’

Idris Elba enters the chat

So, now that it’s clear that a new, absurdly structured city in a poor country requires experts and people with money and means to get the project across the finish line, actor Idris Elba decided to create his own new city just off the coast of Sierra Leone. Again, a country where a significant portion of the population lives below the poverty line.

Again, the dream is quite big, and the attempt to build an “eco-city” seems to depend largely on the goodwill and intentions of artists, venture capitalists and governments. It’s unclear exactly what’s in store for the tiny island of Sherbro, as no plans have been revealed yet, but Elba told reporters that “the character of the island hopefully will remain intact.”

The move is slightly disturbing, as Elba previously narrated and starred in what can only be described as a propaganda film about the gold industry, an industry that regularly destroys and destroys entire ecosystems to extract the precious metal, often at the expense of local people. residents.

Most gold mining takes place in poor regions desperate for cash, where regulations and people’s safety are disregarded. The Golden “Documentary” fails to address these issues and concerns in any meaningful way.

Regardless, Elba assumed the city would take decades to plan and build — a much more realistic vision than the one envisioned for Akon City — and didn’t plan for a silly tokenized currency to accompany it.

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