Kin, the cryptocurrency launched by the popular messaging platform, Kik, has been making headlines recently because of Kik’s troubles with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In this feature, we will give you the rundown on this troubled cryptocurrency and why Kik’s legal case has implications for the entire crypto industry. 

The purpose of Kin is to provide a digital currency for the Kik community. Developers who make apps, games, and stickers on Kik are rewarded in Kin directly by their users instead of having to rely on ad revenue. Kin, in theory, gives Kik users more ways to connect and interact with each other.

What is Kin?

Kin was first launched as an ERC20 token on the Etheruem blockchain. Designed to be the primary currency in Kik’s ecosystem, users could purchase digital goods and services and app developers could earn revenue. Kin, short for Kinship, was designed to strengthen the ties within the Kik community.  

Who Invented Kin?

Kin was developed by Kik, which was founded in 2009 by a group of University of Waterloo graduates including current CEO, Ted Livingston. 

Did you know?

ICOs were normally launched by fledgling blockchain-focused startups so when Kik—a company that was nearly 10 years old and valued at more than $1 billion with over $120 million of traditional venture capital money raised—decided to do an ICO, the crypto world paid attention.

A brief history of Kin

  • December 2014 - Kik launches Kik Points, a kind of reward points system for Kik users, which ends in March 2017
  • September 2017 - Kik raises nearly $100 million in Kin token sale
  • June 2019 - Kik is sued by the SEC over the Kin token sale
  • September 2019 - Kik announces it will shut down its messaging app in order to focus on fighting the SEC’s lawsuit
  • October 2019 - MediaLab agrees to buy Kik Messenger, and preserve Kin

What’s so special about it?

The value of the Kin token has dropped dramatically since its ICOin 2017, but Kin’s legal problems with the SEC has renewed broad interest in the token. The SEC is claiming that the ICO was an unregistered securities sale because investors could expect to profit, the company used it as a money-raising scheme, and there was nothing that Kin users could expect to use the token for at the time. 

Kik claims to be fighting the SEC in open court for the good of the entire crypto world so that the SEC will finally clarify and update their rules, which are still based on the Howey Test from the 1940s.

Did you know?

Kik has committed $5 million dollars to fight the SEC on the Kin case, but the company has also started the

Defend Crypto Fund to raise money to help other blockchain organizations defend themselves against the SEC.

What else is different?

Kin claims to be one of the most widely used cryptocurrencies in the world with more than a million individual users having spent or earned Kin. In response to the SEC, Kin also claims to have the fifth-highest daily blockchain activity and more transactions than Ethereum and Bitcoin, backing up their defense that Kin is widely used and adopted and not a security.

How is Kin produced?

In 2017, Kin was launched via an ICO that produced a total supply of 10 trillion Kin tokens on the Ethereum platform. However, they are now in the process of migrating all of the original ERC-20 Kin tokens from Ethereum to the new Kin blockchain. The former Kin tokens that have migrated would now be Kin Coins on the Kin blockchain.

How do you get hold of Kin?

As of September 2019, the total market cap of Kin has dropped to only $9.4 million despite raising almost $100 million in their ICO. As a result, Kin is not very popular or widely available on the major exchanges, but can still be bought or exchanged on some smaller exchanges. 

What can you do with Kin?

Besides being able to send, receive, and exchange Kin, the cryptocurrency is also integrated with many apps that are part of the Kik ecosystem. These apps let users earn Kin and reward others in Kin with the most popular apps being MadLipz, Swelly, ThisThat, PauseFor, Kinit, and Perfect365.

The Future

At this moment in time, Kik's future seems to be looking brighter after a bruising 2019. The impact of the SEC's case against its former owners is still to be defined.