Business and Economy

Akon’s Akoin strikes partnership with BitMinutes to drive financial inclusion in Africa through blockchain

Atlanta-based BitMinutes Inc., a financial services technology company that leverages blockchain and pre-paid minutes tokenization to help its partners deliver secure, affordable financial services to their customers, has announced a partnership with Akoin, a new cryptocurrency and DApp eco-system from global artist and visionary Akon, built for empowering rising entrepreneurs.

The union reaffirms both companies’ commitment to serving the unbanked, beginning with  Africa.

While executives at the two companies have been talking for more than a year, their collective progress as individual companies made the timing right for a partnership, according to Tom Meredith, the CEO and founder of BitMinutes.

“We’re excited to be Akoin’s first DApp partner and use case,” said Meredith. “We believe Akoin brings a sophisticated ecosystem to a region of the world in dire need of modernization.” Meredith added that Akoin is highly respected on the continent, not only because of its technology, but also the passion of its founder, American-Senegalese rapper Akon, who is committed to making positive change in Africa.

To that end, Akon recently said that “transparency is the one thing that can weed out the corruption in Africa. Our mission has always been to create a system that can give everything back to the people, and put them more in control of their resources.” Akon may be on the verge of realizing that mission, starting with BitMinutes.

BitMinutes’ tokens also allow peer-to-peer value transfer to more than 1.2 billion bank and mobile accounts across more than 70 contracted countries, while prepaid airtime top-ups are available to more than 4 billion mobile accounts in approximately120 countries.

Through the Akoin ecosystem, BitMinutes tokenizes prepaid cellphone time, allowing it to be sold for fiat or cryptocurrency. “Think of it as a blockchain-based banking and settlement system for prepaid minutes, where you can also convert those minutes to cash or crypto,” wrote Reza Jafery in an article that appeared recently in Hackernoon. “People who don’t have bank accounts can approach the prepaid minutes vendors in their village and convert cash into BitMinutes or Akoin. Through the Akoin platform, BitMinutes can be sent quickly and freely to other phones, used for airtime top-ups as well as be converted to Akoin tokens or fiat currency.”

The “prepaid minutes vendors” are part of BitMinutes’ Trusted Area Network (TAN). BitMinutes has already trained more than 100 TAN agents in Nigeria, serving more than 1,000 people in the country. Akoin is prepared to grow that operation exponentially across the continent.

“Given Akon’s relationships with African countries and governments, integrating Akoin is considered a win by each of the political leaders,” said Jon Karas, Akoin President & Co-Founder. “The fact that BitMinutes is already doing something amazing in Nigeria and Kenya for the unbanked is what makes this a good partnership. However, the real winner isn’t Akoin or BitMinutes, but millions of Africans who will, as Akon’s hopes, ‘regain control of their resources.’”

Not surprisingly, BitMinutes’ token, the BMT, is on the verge of a full listing on the LATOKEN exchange. The company is currently participating in an Initial Exchange Offering (IEO) through the end of October, with a full listing set for November 1. BitMinutes is also in talks with other exchanges about a listing.

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