May 25, 2017, during Token Summit at New York University (NYU), Kik’s founder Ted Livingston announced a whitepaper outlining the creation of Kin, an ERC20-based token.
Designer of the popular messenger app Kik, the company plans to extend blockchain technology into the messenger market, allowing users to make transactions in cryptocurrency. Kik’s rise as a messenger is indisputable; the company boasts 300 million users according to Tech Crunch, and received a nearly $1 billion valuation in 2015 after Chinese investment firm Tencent invested $50 million in the company. Now Livingston has set his eyes on blockchain technology.
During the announcement today at Token Summit in NYU, Livingston stated he doesn’t want to simply create a token, he wants to build a system of value.
“We give Kin value,” said Livingston. “Could we use some of that value to spark the creation of a new ecosystem of digital services?”
Livingston also emphasized that his intentions are not to create an advertising platform. “We just built a place that people come to together to provide value for each other, and if you do that, you can make a better future and you can also make money,” he said.
Kik did tests with virtual currency in 2014 with a service called “Kik Points” which could be traded for limited edition emoticons. Now, Kik plans to manifest Kin as an ERC20 token which can be used as a general purpose cryptocurrency for services like chat, social media, and payments. To meet financing goals, a trillion units out of 10 trillion total will be distributed at a token sale to be later announced. The company plans to use the remaining unsold tokens to fund Kik operations and deploy the Kin Foundation.
The roadmap for token allocation is clear and laid out in the Kin Whitepaper:
It will take four straightforward steps to reach Kik’s goal; first coining the Kin tokens, next integrating Kin tokens into the Kik platform. Then, development will begin on a system called Kin Rewards, which will introduce Kin into circulation as a daily reward, distributed amongst developers whose contributions are gauged by a disbursement algorithm. The final step will be to launch the Kin Foundation as a non-profit governance body to manage the entire ecosystem surrounding Kin.
Kin Rewards presents users the opportunity to earn Kin for engaging other users in transactions. The proportion of rewards received is relative to transaction engagement.
If a good or service is provided in exchange for Kin, the total amount of transactions completed by that vendor is logged. Rewards are provided based on the percentage of those overall transactions that were made with Kin on a daily basis.
Fred Wilson, partner at Union Square Ventures and Kik board member, said in a release, “cryptocurrency is the next important business model innovation in tech.”
He went on to say, “Kik will be the first mainstream application to integrate a cryptocurrency. This could be a watershed moment for the blockchain sector.”
Kik’s capability to advertise Ethereum to its numerous users may be a boon to holders of the currency as mass awareness may cause a surge in the value of Ether, which recently rose above the $200 USD mark.
Jeremy Nation is a writer living in Los Angeles with interests in technology, human rights, and cuisine. He is a full time staff writer for ETHNews and holds value in Ether.