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Chat App Kik Launches 'Crypto-Economy' With Kin Token Integration

Messaging app Kik’s users can now begin earning and spending the cryptocurrency kin with the launch of its “crypto-economy,” the company announced Wednesday.

According to Kik, a limited number of users will be able to earn kin tokens in the Kin Marketplace Beta by taking quizzes, working on tutorials and answering polls, according to a press release. These tokens can, in turn, be used to purchase premium themes for the Kik app.

Kik is also rolling out free customization tools, including themes, for the app in response to user feedback, the company announced.

Product manager Laura Newton wrote in a release that Kik “wanted to build Kin into [the] products that people already use on a daily basis.” As such, custom options for its app felt like “the perfect option” given the demand.

She went on to say:

“Real consumer use of cryptocurrency doesn’t exist today, because the technology has yet to be adapted in daily life. We’ve built Kin into products that Kik users already use and have layered this experience in a simple and seamless way. Kin will continue to be a pillar of Kik’s product strategy, and we will deepen the functionality of Kin in Kik, providing other partners with a clear example of how to launch their own Kin economy in their apps.”

The marketplace will feature the first transaction run on kin’s blockchain, she said. Users included in the test can access the marketplace through the app.

Kin notably operates on its own blockchain, which it forked off the stellar mainnet earlier this year. The Kin Foundation announced it would be able to offer zero-fee transactions by using its own unique network, the company told CoinDesk.

That move came just months after Kin announced it would be running on both the ethereum network, on which it was originally built, and the stellar network, where it planned to move to late last year.

Kik app image by Annaliese Milano for CoinDesk

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Game Giant Unity to Work With Kik's ICO Token

The Kin Foundation wants video game developers to help take the kin cryptocurrency mainstream – and it has just scored the assistance of industry giant Unity Technologies.

Unity is the maker of a popular game engine that can be used by other developers. Popular games built on Unity include Cuphead, Pokémon Go and Kerbal Space Program, among numerous others.

The company is the first participant in kin’s “decentralized ecosystem for digital services and applications.” Created by messaging app firm Kik, the initial coin offering of the kin token garnered $98 million last year.

The foundation will work with Unity to develop a gaming-specific software development kit (SDK) that will allow millions of Unity developers to integrate kin – hosted on both the ethereum and stellar blockchains – into their designs, it announced on Thursday.

“The SDK will allow all game developers to design with kin and blockchain technology at the core,” Dany Fishel, EVP of Partnerships at Kin, told CoinDesk in an interview.

In practical terms, this means that the team will introduce a wallet and a marketplace for developers, Fishel explained. After emerging from its beta stage, the SDK will be open sourced and available in the Unity Asset store, as well as shared on GitHub.

The foundation intends for the kit to “bring monetization tools to developers,” and will facilitate three particular use cases – the first of which is peer-to-peer value exchange in mobile games. For example, Fishel said, players could “reward one another for the knowledge they can share” about unlocking game levels or other features.

Gamer push

The SDK is also intended to enable developers to reward users for “being good citizens of the apps” by reporting bugs or providing feedback.

Likewise, the kit would provide another means of monetization by allowing brands to interact with players by rewarding them for completing surveys.

Fishel also spoke to why the foundation sees the gaming industry as an ideal foundational participant for the kin ecosystem.

“Gamers in general already have a strong understanding of digital currency to being with,” he explained. “Game developers are the first ones to adopt technologies, they are the first ones to adopt innovation. So we see them specifically as a very natural audience to endorse a cryptocurrency.”

Fishel added that that the integration of kin into the gaming world is just the beginning of the creation of a larger ecosystem. While developers will provide the cryptocurrency within the context of a game, users will eventually be able to spend it outside the game as more partners come onboard.

Although Fishel was unable to reveal who the next partners will be, he told CoinDesk to anticipate collaborations with “community-driven apps that will provide great ways to earn and spend for users,” to be announced within the coming weeks.

Kik app image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Goodbye Ethereum: Kik Plans to Move Its ICO Tokens to Stellar

Mobile messaging startup Kik is planning to shift its Kin token network from ethereum to Stellar, CEO Ted Livingston confirmed on Wednesday.

Speaking in a live question-and-answer session on YouTube, the company’s founder argued that ethereum’s blockchain – which the app is presently based on – is unable to scale to the level that Kin needs, among other issues. The answer, he said, is to shift to the Stellar network, which was first unveiled in 2014 and created by Ripple co-founder Jed McCaleb.

Livingston went as far as to blast ethereum as “the dial-up era of blockchain,” noting that gas prices – which are needed to execute computations – and other transaction fees need to be built into the app to ensure users’ transactions go through. Kik first announced it was contemplating moving onto another blockchain in October, stating that ethereum’s scaling issues meant it “might not be the right solution” at the time.

In Wednesday’s video, Livingston said Kin was pushing the limits of what ethereum could handle with its roughly 10,000 users. The network’s reliability is another factor in the planned move, he said, pointing to recent network congestion as a result of the popular CryptoKitties app.

Livingston explained in the video:

“Stellar was built by the guys at Ripple and the thing we like about it is it’s custom-built for an application like Kin. It’s not like ethereum where it’s trying to be everything to everybody, and that makes it general-purpose and slow.”

Over the next few weeks, Kik will test Stellar’s scalability and reliability, according to Livingston.

“It’s very focused on what it’s trying to solve for: fast, reliable and inexpensive transactions for a lot of people,” he said.

A Kik spokesperson told CoinDesk that a limited number of users would begin using the app by the end of December, which represents somewhat of a delay due to the CryptoKitties congestion.

Assuming the tests are successful, Livingston said he foresees a second-quarter rollout of the app, built on Stellar, to all users.

Brady Dale contributed reporting.

Image Credit: nukeaf / Shutterstock.com

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.

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Kik ICO Ends Strongly With Nearly $100 Mln Raised

The Kik Interactive token distribution event (TDE) has just concluded amid much fanfare, and with substantial success, in spite of growing regulatory concerns.

The company raised nearly $100 mln from more than 10,000 participants in 117 countries, which, interestingly, makes the token, Kin, one of the most widely held cryptocurrencies in the world.

Kik Interactive has already created a substantial amount of market force through its interactive chat program. The company hopes that integrating the Kin token into the platform will drive widespread adoption of the coin and propel it into common cryptocurrency usage. To that end, Kik also intends to include a rewards program within the platform at a later date.

Already there?

While the Kik TDE has gained substantial news, other chat and news platforms are also making headway into the chat and rewards program and may offer more advanced services and rewards.

These platforms stand to gain by intersecting chat platforms with traditional media news feeds, as media trends continue toward decentralization.

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$70 Million So Far: Kik ICO Kicks Off to Small Scams and Big Demand

Mainstream ICOs may have finally arrived.

The much anticipated token sale for social messaging giant Kik, which is today offering buyers the chance to purchase tokens that will power apps on its platform, launched at 9 a.m. EST, drawing upwards of $70 million in its first few hours.

Data from the ethereum blockchain indicates Kik has so far raised more than 3.2 million ether (worth about $71 million at press time) in upwards of 8,000 transactions (not all of which have confirmed on the blockchain) through 12 p.m. EST. A total of 17,075 buyers have registered to participate in the sale, which will be conducted in two parts.

In total, Kik is looking to raise a total of $125 million through the ICO, though it’s already raised $50 million from the private sale of its token, called Kin, to institutional investors.

Going forward, the remaining tokens are to be sold in two parts: today’s sale allows investors to purchase up to 15.2 ETH in Kin tokens, with any remaining tokens to be sold tomorrow should that limit not be reached.

While a notable total, the preliminary figures suggest Kik is performing comparably to other major ICOs focused more on die-hard technology users.

For example, a token sale for the prediction market gnosis raised $12.5 million in 15 minutes in April, while a sale for tokens powering the distributed filecoin network raised more than $100 million in its first hour last month.

In response to requests for comment, Kik declined to confirm the amount it has so far raised, stating its final fundraising totals will be posted on its website tomorrow.

Still, the Kik fundraising should help push up the total earned by ICOs to date. All time, more than $1.8 billion has now been raised via the funding method, according to data from the CoinDesk ICO Tracker.

Scams and complaints

That’s not to say there weren’t issues with the sale.

Prior to the launch, a fake URL was distributed on social media boasting that the sale had begun 40 minutes prior to the official launch. That malicious address has since acquired 70.9036706 Ether ($21,656.82), and some donations to the scam site were quite substantial, with payments of up to 5 ether ($1,527.20) sent earlier today.

Phishing scams and other malicious schemes are popping up frequently surrounding the investment schemes. Last month, ICO scammers stole $500,000 in ether from supporters of the Enigma blockchain project following a security compromise.

Further, there were some issues reported when an audit was published by smart contracts security firm Zeppelin Solutions yesterday that found issues with Kik’s code.

Zeppelin Solutions published its full review complete with errors, comments and corrections yesterday. Some took to Twitter to declare their outrage, with blockchain researcher Udi Wertheimer saying it is “unbelievable” that Kik had not fixed the issues prior to the sale

The reaction may be more understandable given the sale is one of the most widely anticipated due to the familiarity of the Kik brand.

Responding to an enquiry from Wertheimer, Zeppelin Solutions CTO Manuel Araoz suggested that the ICO might have benefitted from a longer development timeframe, saying: “We were hired to audit the smart contract, not the project schedule.”

However, he suggested that such issues simply come with the territory in a fast-moving industry.

“I personally do think it was a little bit rushed, but most sales are,” he said.

Scammer hand via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at [email protected].