In its first step towards the futuristic Akon City, Akoin, the cryptocurrency business that is chaired by global artist Akon, can now be used to pay for goods and services in a west Kenyan city.
As per a release shared with CryptoSlate, the move is part of the business’s trial run of the cryptocurrency and will see a select group of residents receive their salaries in the AKN token, and will allow them to use the token to pay for food, drink, gas, clothes and medical services in Mwale Medical Technology City (MMTC).
The development follows from an announcement earlier this year that said Akoin would power the $2 billion MMTC project, home to an estimated home to over 35,000 people and thousands of businesses.
Akoin to initially monitor the trial
Akoin and MMTC will be monitoring the trial, which starts later this month, to analyze data, crunch the numbers and prepare for the trial to be scaled up to even more residents in the city in December, before AKN is the only currency used across MMTC in early 2021.
Akoin views the trial as the first step towards rolling out the token to other African cities, and ultimately Akon City, the planned Senegalese city named after the global artist.
Julius Mwale, the founder of MMTC and a New York-based entrepreneur, outlined his vision for bringing the cryptocurrency to his city at last month’s virtual cryptocurrency conference “BlockDown 3.0.”
Transactions during the trial will use atomic swaps to instantly convert currencies, plus an Akoin credit and debit card.
By the end of 2021, Akoin is aiming to serve 20,000 workers at MMTC and be the primary settlement platform for retail stores, worker payroll, airport purchases, and utility payments.
“Ready for the rollout”
Speaking alongside Lynn Liss and Jon Karas, co-founders of Akoin, Mwale said:
“We’re ready for this. We’ve been working week in and week out with the Akoin team. We’re expecting an initial 30,000 transactions next month (November).”
Liss added those transactions include those using atomic swaps, plus swapping between AKN and Bitminutes. “We want to scale it up to 1.5 million transactions per month. We expect the city to complete fully by the end of this year. We’re working on utility and bill payments. It will be an explosive cryptocurrency city,” she noted.
Meanwhile, pop star Akon said in a joint statement with Mwale that the platform can make “serious headway in bringing millions of people into the formal economy, which is a critical step for economic growth.”
The development could not have come at a better time. Just yesterday, the AKN token was released on popular cryptoexchange Bittrex and already saw trading volumes of over $500,000 across its Bitcoin and USDT trade pairings.