The week in review: Akon’s African crypto paradise


It’s never a dull week in the world of crypto. We’ve got a rapper building his own crypto paradise, a country building a national mining pool, and lawmakers trying to let New Hampshire residents pay their taxes in Bitcoin. And more. It’s wild. Get on board.

Akon building crypto city in Senegal

Is Africa blazing a trail in crypto? Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said last November that Africa would define the future of Bitcoin. And his prediction could be coming true already.

On Monday, the Senegalese-American, Grammy-nominated rapper and blockchain entrepreneur, Akon announced that he is building a city of the future in Africa. And it’s all founded on cryptocurrency.

The city is located on a 2,000-acre piece of land in the coastal village of Mbodiène, Senegal. It will supposedly be the first ever to run on 100% renewable energy and, presumably, to be powered by the rap star’s own digital currency, Akoin. The land to be used was actually gifted to Akon by Senegalese president, Macky Sall, back in 2018. And it’s prime real estate – just a 5-minute drive from Senegal‘s international airport.

The project will be built in phases over the next 10 years. It has already been some time in the making, though. Akon actually announced plans for the crypto city at the Cannes Lion Festival in 2018. At the festival, he explained that blockchain could be the key to growth in Africa.

“I think that blockchain and crypto could be the saviour for Africa in many ways because it brings the power back to the people,” Akon said. “Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology offer a more secure currency that enables people in Africa to advance themselves independent of the government.”

The rest of 2020 will see Akon expand Akoin, find partners, and continue to develop the crypto city designs. A whitepaper is expected in February.

Blockchain is most in-demand tech skill, says LinkedIn

Looking for a job in crypto? Dreaming of a decentralised future? You could be in luck. In new research carried out by LinkedIn, blockchain has topped the list of most in-demand hard skills for 2020.

According to the social media giant, its methodology for determining demand was based on the number of people in blockchain getting hired for high paying jobs. Blockchain beat out cloud computing, analytical reasoning and artificial intelligence for the top spot. In terms of soft skills, creativity topped the list, followed by persuasion and collaboration.

Linkedin’s Talent Blog head writer, Bruce Anderson, explained: “Blockchain has emerged from the once shadowy world of cryptocurrency to become a business solution in search of problems. Which means that you don’t have to be in financial services to be seeking new hires who have background and expertise in putting blockchain to use.”

Libra Association forms steering committee to guide technical development

It’s been a while since we heard from the Libra Association. But it was never going to be too long into 2020 before we got news from the governing body of the eponymous stablecoin, introduced by Facebook in 2019.

According to an announcement on 16 January, the Libra Association has voted to establish a 5-member Technical Steering Committee. The committee will be made up of leading experts from various firms in the fintech and blockchain industries. Its mission is to direct the technical roadmap for the Libra network, form working groups to prioritise selected avenues of research, guide the development of a codebase, and generally develop and engage the Libra development community.

The members are: Calibra core product lead George Cabrera III, Anchorage co-founder Diogo Monica, Union Square Ventures partner Nick Grossman, Bison Trails CEO and founder Joe Lallouz, and Mercy Corps director of emerging technology Ric Shreves.

The 5-member group will publish a technical governance framework in Q1 of this year. This will include “the process by which the open source community can propose technical changes to the network and a transparent process for evaluating those proposals.” Better get started.

New Hampshire legislators kill crypto tax payments bill

Two New Hampshire lawmakers’ attempt to legislate for the payment of taxes and fees in the form of cryptocurrency has officially been shut down, according to public records.

Last November, the General Court’s Executive Departments and Administration Committee voted in favor of ending the bill 17-1. This was then confirmed by the broader body of legislators by vote last week.

Representatives Dennis Acton and Michael Yakubovich introduced the back in January of last year. If approved, the bill would have instructed the New Hampshire state treasurer to “develop an implementation plan for the state to accept cryptocurrencies as payment for taxes and fees and allows state agencies to accept payment in cryptocurrencies after July 1, 2020.” Will the committee come to regret not passing the bill?

Uzbekistan eying national cryptocurrency mining pool

It was reported this week that Uzbekistan is exploring the idea of a national cryptocurrency mining pool and digital asset exchange.

One of the country’s government bodies, the National Agency for Project Management (NAPM), shared its plans at a press conference. The country’s national cryptocurrency mining pool will incentivise domestic and foreign miners to work together. Miners in the pool will apparently get discounted electricity rates.

Local news reported that the aim is to increase transparency and security of cryptocurrency mining in the country. It also noted that the NAPM claims the pool will help improve energy efficiency in the sector.

Keep reading…

Blockchain is most in-demand tech skill, says LinkedIn

What crypto Twitter had to say in 2019

Top crypto trends to watch out for in 2020

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