Akon finalizes deal to build a cryptocurrency city in Senegal

The Title is a Mad-Lib

Akon finalizes deal to build a cryptocurrency city in Senegal

Akon City will run on AKoin, Akon’s own cryptocurrency. (Courtesy of Hussein Bakri/BAD Consultant/Semer Group)

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.

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.

Aerial rendering of a smart city centered by two towers
The city will be cut up by main arterial roadways. (Courtesy of Hussein Bakri/BAD Consultant/Semer Group)

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.

Rendering of mountainous towers
One of the proposed building typologies features biomorphic ridges. (Courtesy of Hussein Bakri/BAD Consultant/Semer Group)

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.

Rendering of L-shaped apartment complexes
Sinuous curves define the buildings of Akon City. (Courtesy of Hussein Bakri/BAD Consultant/Semer Group)

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.