Globally, chat continues to soar in popularity as a means of communication. Founded in 2009, Ontario, Canada based Kik Interactive, Inc., is one of many firms offering a connection to this world. The company is creator of Kik, a platform popular with U.S. teens where individuals can chat with friends and engage with chat-based services.
Recently the company announced the launch of Kin, a cryptocurrency that will serve as a foundation for a decentralized ecosystem of digital services. Kin will be curated as an ERC20 token on the Ethereum blockchain and will be used on Kik as the primary transaction currency.
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Digital services, like chat apps and social platforms, are capturing the world of communication, information, and commerce in new and innovated ways. For future generations, this will be a natural and core aspect of their daily lives. At the same time, growing aspects of these services are controlled by fewer and fewer companies, leading to less innovation and choice. As a result, decentralization is increasingly being seen as a sustainable way forward.
Says Ted Livingston, founder and CEO of Kik:
“Kik believes that Kin can bring together a broad group of participants to create an open ecosystem of digital services that prioritizes consumer experience and choice. As a leader in the chat space, we want to bring a fair and sustainable model for digital services to the market and fuel an alternative ecosystem for communications, information, and commerce.”
Envisioned as universal cryptocurrency for daily use in our digital lives, Kik believes that its millions of monthly active users will help drive mainstream consumer adoption of Kin, establishing demand and fundamental value for the cryptocurrency. This native integration Kin into the Kik app, positions it to become one of the most adopted and used cryptocurrencies in the world.
Via the Kin Rewards Engine, Kin will be populated into circulation as a daily reward, distributed among stakeholders by an algorithm that reflects each community’s contribution to the overall ecosystem. This foundational structure will create a natural incentive for owners of other digital services to adopt Kin and become partners in the Kin ecosystem. Over time, this Kin Engine will be employed as a fully decentralized system based on smart contract technology.
The Kin Foundation, envisioned as a non-profit governance body for the Kin Ecosystem has also been created. Its mandate is to foster an open network of digital services that consumers can easily embrace and find value in. Moreover, it will offer developers an open and sustainable platform to develop, enhance and monetize those services.
As the Kik project advances, the Kin Foundation will oversee the transition of the Kin Ecosystem to a fully decentralized model that operates with no assistance from Kik or any other entity. As a first step toward open governance, Kik will open source all of its client and server code, and will support others in building comprehensive digital services with integrated transaction economies.
“We believe cryptocurrency is the next important business model innovation in tech,” said Fred Wilson, partner at Union Square Ventures and Kik board member. “Kik will be the first mainstream application to integrate a cryptocurrency. This could be a watershed moment for the blockchain sector.”
Livingston, the aforementioned CEO of Kik, says he started the company with a small group of University of Waterloo students. “At the time, chat between Blackberry, Android and iPhone users was not possible, so we wanted to break down barriers and build a company that would allow users to chat with whoever, whenever. We thought chat would be much bigger than talking to your friends and have had the vision of becoming a chat platform since day one.”
He says that he’s always been interested in new technologies and how they can change the world. This philosophy helped him discover bitcoin in 2011. “Since then, we’ve seen digital services bring together communications, information, and commerce in new ways, and an increasing number of digital services are controlled by a decreasing number of companies. This consolidation can have negative impacts on user choice and privacy, developer monetization, and industry innovation.”
“The blockchain and related technologies offer the opportunity to create a fair and open ecosystem that supports diverse participation and innovation. Kin, I believe, is a first step to launching a decentralized ecosystem of digital services that’s both open and compelling.”