IPLv2 Product Overview

As discussed in this previous blog post, some of the teams at Kik have transitioned to working on projects integrating Kin into Kik. I’ve been fortunate to work on one of these projects, called the IPLv2. This project will get Kik users to experiment with Kin inside of Kik.

So what are the goals for this project?

Introduce crypto to Kik users. Most Kik users are new to crypto. For the vast majority of participants this project will create their first cryptocurrency, wallet, and blockchain transactions! We’re excited to start learning how to best introduce complex concepts like “crypto wallets” and “public addresses” to Kik’s users in a way they can easily understand and use.

We care deeply about all of Kik’s users and especially our TDE participants! For the successful integration of Kin into Kik, we need to deepen our understanding of users who don’t have existing expertise with cryptocurrencies. Since our token distribution event (TDE) participants are experts in crypto, this project is targeted to our day to day Kik users. Over time we will migrate all Kik users and TDE participants to a rich Kin wallet experience. Look for more updates in early 2018.

Start simple and minimize time to production. We know our community is eager to see Kin up and running inside of Kik, and we are too. Successfully integrating Kin into rich Kik experiences like public groups, isn’t a trivial task. There are many technical and product hurdles to overcome in order to prepare Kik as an appropriate launch pad for Kin, but we don’t want to wait until Kik is the perfect launch pad either. As a result we are starting with some minimum viable product (MVP) earn and spend use cases within Kik. Over time we will build richer experiences and deeper Kik integrations.

Experiment with an example use case of a two-sided economy (both earn and spend). One of the concepts we discussed at length in the Kin whitepaper was a focus on building two-sided economies. For the IPLv2, we want to see the full cycle in motion, users can earn and spend Kin within the same digital service.

Given these requirements, we defined a simple MVP product that includes a real Ether wallet, modifications to Kik’s Sticker Shop to support spending Kin on sticker packs, and updates to our Bot Platform to facilitate earning of Kin through bot surveys. Some of these simple experiences are built using similar concepts to our previous experiments with Kik Points.

What should you expect to see from this project?

1. Introducing Kik users to the Kin wallet

First and foremost, we need to introduce users to the Kin wallet. One of the benefits of integrating with a chat app like Kik is that we can easily broadcast messages to users via our bot platform.

One of the bots that Kik uses to communicate with our users is Kik Team, Kik’s onboarding bot. For this project, Kik Team will message a subset of Kik’s power users and ask them to try out Kin.

Once the user has decided to participate, and they tap on the chat bubble with the link to the wallet, it will open the Kin wallet for the first time. As you might expect, we need to explain to users how the Kin wallet will use their information, and users will need to accept our terms of Service and privacy policy to continue. Once the user accepts, it kicks off the initial wallet creation and opens a real Ether wallet for the user!

2. What can you do with the IPLv2 Kin wallet?

Once a user has successfully created their wallet, they are awarded an initial Kin amount. Why grant users Kin from the start? Opening an empty wallet is a sad user experience in any application, and we also want users to have a frictionless start to their Kin experience, allowing them to participate in the economy right away.

In addition, users can earn Kin by completing polls to help make Kik better responding to some of our partner companies’ polls or by uploading sticker packs they have created to be listed for purchase in the Kin sticker shop. Users will be able to spend the Kin they were initially awarded or Kin that they earned on one of the exclusive Kin sticker packs.

3. What does it look like to spend Kin?

When a user chooses to spend Kin on a sticker pack, they transition to a Kin-only section of the Kik Sticker Shop. When the user taps to “Spend ## Kin,” the Kik sticker shop calls the Kin wallet to initiate the transaction. The Kin wallet then displays the “Spend Kin?” confirmation dialog. If the user confirms the transaction, they will return to the Kin sticker shop unlocking the pack. Now, the user can send the Kin stickers they purchased.

There’s an interesting product consideration that needed to be addressed for this flow. Because we’re using the Ethereum public blockchain for transactions, it is not guaranteed that the transaction will actually complete in a timely fashion. In fact, it’s possible that it will take several minutes (or longer) until a transaction is processed and confirmed. This is not an acceptable user experience for a consumer app. Imagine waiting 30 minutes after paying for an app in the App Store before being able to download it.

For the scope of this project, we try to make sure all transactions appear instant to users and that delays are handled in the background. How we evolve the product while achieving this experience is going to be an important part of our technical implementation over time.

4. What does it look like to earn Kin?

When a user chooses to earn Kin by answering poll questions, the user is transitioned to a chat with a bot, in this case we integrated with Kik Team. As a user answers the poll questions, they incrementally earn Kin for every question answered. But, in order for the bot to send Kin to the user, the bot needs to know the user’s Kin wallet public address to complete the transaction.

When should the user give their public address to the bot? Generally, any two users or bots that exchange Kin will know the other’s public address, and therefore, can look up the user’s transaction history. In the interest of user privacy for this project, we will specifically prompt the user to confirm receiving Kin from a bot the first time the user is to receive Kin, which will share the user’s public address behind the scenes (even in this case where Kik Team is a trusted bot).

Once a user shares their public address with a bot, earning Kin becomes a seamless experience.

That’s the gist! There are obviously a ton of other details we could elaborate on, but hopefully this gives you an idea of what we’re building and some of the considerations to our approach.