What would you do with a $1 billion valuation? For Kik, the answer is setting up and launching their own cryptocurrency. In 2015, Kik received funding to the tune of $50 million from Tencent Holdings, which put them into the Unicorn Club (inclusive only to startups with a billion dollar valuation or more).
Now, in 2017, they are making waves after announcing a new cryptocurrency called Kin. This will be used to promote decentralization in social media and content offerings, and a soon-to-be decentralized Kik aims to give away Kin equivalent to $100,000 per day and growing to developers and content creators who draw attention to their platform.
Relying on the Ethereum Network will enable Kin to reach optimal transaction throughput, while their hybrid environment will be able to engage consumers in a less technology-intensive manner. Kin will engage both tech savvy and non-tech savvy users by paying them for their efforts and allowing 1 trillion units of Kin to circulate between users. They have announced that 10% of Kin tokens will be sold in an ICO, while the rest will be used to pay out the daily reward.
Some of the atmospheres in which Kin are likely to be used include:
Symbiotic community monetization
Community monetization has previously consisted of users creating valuable content to share with their audience in exchange for information. This creates a new paradigm in which value that people create is shared directly with other users in a peer-to-peer (P2P) format. By offering a daily bonus, Kik is trying to ensure they have a wide pool of developer and content creator talent to support their ecosystem.
Kik provided examples such as using Kin to enter a raffle for access to celebrity private chat rooms with capped member limits in their whitepaper. Some other examples include tipping and crowdfunding options.
Platforms such as Patreon have given people the ability to crowdfund their favorite content creators for some time now, but by decentralizing their application and bringing that content to a readily-accessible, native platform, Kik is laying the groundwork for a much larger-scale collaborative landscape and wider-scale content exposure. More exposure, more money.
Kik is working to expand and decentralize content crowdfunding with the advent of the Kin Foundation. Once Kin comes into use, creators will be able to put their content out into chats, both personally and through use of bots, and charge fees for use of their content in Kin. Other users can tip content creators for their work even if it is free. Best of all, users control the content they want to see by providing value in the form of Kin in return.
Monetized brand visibility
Huge brands such as Google, Pepsi, and Facebook have long been the kings of buying and using consumer information to target their advertisements. Such ads as the Pepsi Equality Rally video showing highlight such trends, even of they do not always work out as intended. Kik hopes to decentralize production and interactions with content that people have on a day-to-day basis.
Kik is helping to shift the power from big brands into the hands of content curators and smaller firms, to ensure consumer privacy and data are put towards the best use cases possible instead of blanket targeting.
Brands can use these smaller, more targeted advertisements to reach warm audiences or those that are interested in their product or a similar one. Kik’s efforts to seem intended to disrupt this centralization of power and then bow out of the center so the new ecosystem can balance itself.
Open-source chatbot development and monetization
Kik may be the largest of currently available chatbot platforms, sporting a number of developed chatbots exceeding 187,000. Kin will be used to reward chatbot developers based on the network share of users that interact with their programs. By distributing the daily reward according to user interaction, they are promoting strong developer talent and platform loyalty.
Kin is a cryptocurrency under development by Kik Interactive for use in developing a decentralized content ecosystem. Kin is slated to use the ERC-20 Ethereum token generation smart contract. The Ethereum Network will act as an underlying settlement layer to resolve and store network transactions.
In order to solve the decades-long issue of consumer privacy violation, information selling, and brand-centric advertising methods, Kik is becoming the first social media and messaging platform to adopt blockchain technology. They are developing Kin and intend to open-source all of their code and remove themselves from the equation, then let the Kin Foundation take over.
Kin has been in the conceptual stage since CEO of Kik, Ted Livingston learned about bitcoin in 2011. They had an intermediate testing phase called “Kik Points” which could be purchased and used on the Kik platform, but that was likely just a test to see what levels of transaction volume they would see from their users. They currently engage at least 15 million users and claim to have more than 270 million registered users.