September 12, 2017
Kin is a decentralized cryptocurrency token issued on Ethereum, an open-source public blockchain. It was created by Kik Interactive in September 2017 in a token distribution event, raising over $98 million from 10,000 participants. The purpose of the token is to facilitate value transfers in digital services such as gaming applications and social media, and will initially be launched on the Kik messenger to leverage the application's 15 million monthly active users. Use of Kin over other tokens is incentivised by providing a daily reward to developers of these digital services based on their usage. Kik’s latest effort has been allowing users to reward creators directly. Today’s digital content and social media companies monetize their websites using advertising. This model requires that these companies go after economies of scale, adding new users quickly. They also want new users to spend as much time as possible on their platform so they can maximize ad views and therefore revenue. The leadership at Kik believes this trend toward the attention economy is a mistake. Their philosophical argument for creating a cryptocurrency is that advertising and attention seeking is cheapening the content ecosystem and our relationships. Using Kin Coin, they hope to enable consumers to pay creators and developers directly. This crowdsourced patronage is an important trend in social media. We’re seeing similar projects that have gained traction with the likes of Kickstarter or Patreon. These services allow people to pay creators directly, without the need for advertisers. Kik needed further funding in 2017. Instead of raising money from venture capitalists, they decided to launch an ICO to create the token behind their new rewards points system. The token sale for Kin Coin was a success, raising $98 million in September 2017. The sale included over 10,000 people from 117 countries. Unfortunately, Canadian citizens were not allowed to participate, and Kik is a Canadian company. Some argue this dampened demand and contributed to the ICO not reaching its hard cap of $110 million. A total of 10 trillion KIN will exist, of which 750 billion are currently in circulation. The token launched on Ethereum. Kin Coin will launch on Kik later this year. The idea is for monetization to integrate seamlessly into the app. Users should be able to reward creators simply from their wallets with a few taps. Kin Coin is designed to be mobile-first, and a wallet app will arrive in the coming months as well. A few test users can use Kin Coin right now on Kik. The only thing you can do so far is buy some custom digital stickers for use in chats. Expect more features upon launch later this year. Over time, the idea is to allow other digital services and media applications to also integrate KIN. It won’t be exclusive to Kik. However, Kik will be the first company to launch Kin Coin integration. KIN’s value decreased following the ICO as hype died down. In January, KIN rode the wave along with much of the cryptocurrency market to an all-time high. Since January, the price has fallen, but never to pre-January levels. KIN is an ERC-20 token, so you can store it anywhere that accepts Ethereum. MyEtherWallet is a good option for paper storage. Of course, a Ledger Nano S hardware wallet is the gold standard for security. Kin has the backing of a major startup with a large active user base. This is an interesting opportunity to see how well crypto integrates with an existing community, especially a younger community who might not care about crypto. They just want things to work well. Solving the problem of giving crypto a great user experience is an important step to making crypto useful. If Kik can figure that out with the Kin Coin then this will be an interesting project to follow.