Kik announced the launch of Kin, its own cryptocurrency that the company says will serve as a foundation for a decentralized ecosystem of digital services.
Kin will be created as an ERC20 token on the Ethereum blockchain, and will be integrated into Kik as the primary transaction currency.
Kik founder and CEO Ted Livingston has been vocal about his dedication to combining payments and chatbots, calling payments “the missing piece” to making bots successful in an op-ed April 2017. Seemingly to boost this vision, the company also announced the launch of the Kin Foundation, which it “envisions” as an independent non-profit governance body for the Kin ecosystem.
The Kin Foundation’s mandate will be to grow an open ecosystem of digital services that consumers can find value in, while giving developers an open platform to develop and monetize those services. The goal is to ensure that the Kin economy will not be monopozed.
“By integrating Kin into Kik, we hope to spark the creation of a new ecosystem of digital services.”
“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,” said Livingston. “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.”
In a Medium post, Livingston outlined his reason for creating the cryptocurrency, expressing concern over a few businesses consolidating power and giving consumers less choice.
“These forces could lead to a future of less choice, less innovation, and ultimately, less freedom. We need a better solution,” Livingston writes. “By integrating Kin into our chat app Kik, we hope to spark the creation of a new ecosystem of digital services that is open, sustainable, and compelling. It will be an ecosystem in which developers link arms to compete with the giants together, building a better future for society while also making money.”
Kin will be adopted as the transaction currency inside of the Kik app, which has “millions” of monthly active users.
The company will also develop the Kin Rewards Engine, which will work to promote the use of Kin as a common currency. The engine will divide a set amount of Kin within the ecosystem as a daily reward, which will be distributed among stakeholders by an algorithm that reflects each community’s contribution to the overall ecosystem. The company plans to make the engine a fully decentralized system based on smart contract technology.
“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.”