In brief

  • Akoin, the crypto platform created by rapper and entrepreneur Akon, has partnered with BitMinutes.
  • BitMinutes tokenizes mobile phone airtime.
  • It's just the start for Akoin, which also powers a proposed "crypto city" in Senegal, Akon City.

Akoin, the cryptocurrency platform of rapper and entrepreneur Akon, today announced a partnership with its first decentralized application, BitMinutes.

Akoin’s main promise is to offer a stable and trusted digital currency in a continent that suffers from “weak and over-inflated fiat currencies that prevent citizens from accessing financial services western countries take for granted,” according to a statement accompanying today’s announcement. 

Akon also wants the coin, an ERC-20 token, to power a network of decentralized applications. Africans will be able to use Akoin to pay for services such as utility bills and mobile phone bills. 

How does Bitminutes work?

Today’s announcement, a partnership with BitMinutes, is for a decentralized application that tokenizes mobile phone minutes. It’ll let people trade mobile minutes between one another. 

Akoin can be swapped for tokenized airtime—in the form of BMT, BitMinutes’ native token—which in turn can be swapped for real airtime, which can be used to top up mobile phones, or traded on other markets. 

The dapp is built on the Stellar-powered blockchain, is currently in private beta, and is expected to launch in the second quarter of this year. 

“Leveraging this growing store of value already found in prepaid minutes, BitMinutes expanded services also include micro-lending where prepaid minutes serve as collateral,” said BitMinutes CEO Tom Meredith.

Today’s announcement appears moderate when compared with Akon’s far more ambitious plan to build a city in his own name. Akon City is currently under construction a few hours outside of Senegal’s capital, Dakar, and will be powered by Akoin. 

In a statement, Akon said: “There are people who have the means but don’t have the tools. There are people who have the tools but don’t have the means. For this to work, we all have to work together.”