On January 13, pop singer Akon confirmed via tweet that his 2,000-acre, cryptocurrency-powered city in Senegal would soon break ground. The project was first announced in 2018, and the smart city will rise near the capital of Dakar, on a plot gifted to Akon by President Macky Sall.
Just finalized the agreement for AKON CITY in Senegal. Looking forward to hosting you there in the future pic.twitter.com/dsoYpmjnpf
— AKON (@Akon) January 13, 2020
Oh, and Akon City will run on ‘AKoin,’ a proprietary cryptocurrency, as a trial run for whether digital currency can be better integrated into Africa as a whole.
The new city is being pitched as sustainable, and when complete in 10 years, will be the first LEED-certified project in Africa. Because the project is being touted as a tourism city, SAPCO, the state-owned tourism agency, is co-developing the project with Akon.
While the designer for Akon City hasn’t been announced yet, from the renderings, the aesthetic seems to borrow heavily from the biomorphic, parametrically-designed structures found in other smart city proposals. At the heart of the development will be two sculptural, interlocking towers with a large void between them, reminiscent of Zaha Hadid Architects’ recent work in Beijing. A large manmade lake and promenade will front a curvy center and will join undulating glass tower complexes. While concrete details about the city’s makeup are sparse, the project will reportedly feature a mixture of residential and commercial areas.
According to CNN, Akon City is only a five-minute drive from Senegal’s new international airport, which opened in 2017. The project is being rolled out in phases, with the second phase set to begin in 2025.
While it may seem far-fetched, integrating blockchain technology into city building has been gaining traction in recent years—though none of the projects have been successfully realized yet. Tom Wiscombe Architecture and Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects (EYRC) are designing a 100-square-mile city powered by Bitcoin-competitor Ethereum in the Nevada Desert, and The Orbit in Ontario is expanding a town that was an early adopter to cryptocurrency into a full-fledged smart city.