Kin, One Year in

Ted Livingston
Sep 26, 2018 · 4 min read

It’s been one year since the Kin token distribution event. Since then we have been following a three step strategy to make Kin the most used cryptocurrency in the world:

  1. Create a scalable blockchain
  2. Launch Kin inside Kik
  3. Expand the ecosystem to other apps

We have made great progress on all three.

Create a scalable blockchain

We iterated through a number of options, starting with Ethereum, then Stellar, then combining Ethereum and Stellar, and then combining Ethereum with our own custom fork of Stellar. Getting to this latest step has unlocked the scale and usability necessary to unblock step two and three of the strategy, allowing developers like Kik, Kinit, Perfect365, and the 40 developers in the Kin Developer Program to start building mainstream consumer applications.

That said, there is still work left to do: independent federation nodes need to come online, the anti spam system that allows for zero transaction fees needs to launch, and the atomic swaps that combine Kin on Ethereum and Kin on our Stellar fork needs to be perfected. Once this is complete, the Kin Blockchain will support the scale and simplicity that developers need, while allowing Kin to be seamlessly and securely bought, sold, and used across the Kin Ecosystem.

Launch Kin inside Kik

We launched the first utility at the conclusion of the token distribution event last year, allowing users in Kik to use Kin to unlock exclusive stickers based on their balance. We then moved to allowing users to earn and buy stickers. However, this quickly crashed the Ethereum network, which is when Kin decided to move app transactions to Stellar.

Kik helped support scalability studies, with Kik users creating test transactions from hundreds of thousands of real devices. Kik also helped co-create the Kin SDK that used the Stellar fork and launched premium chat themes.

Chat themes have helped test the boundaries of reliability and usability (such as transactions times, and backup and restore), something that large and valuable app communities need to see before rolling out features to their millions of users who expect seamless experiences. As these scalability and usability challenges get worked out, expect to see more mainstream Kin features from Kik and others.

Expand the ecosystem to other apps

We launched Kinit, a way for brands to pay you for your attention, becoming the first iPhone app in the world to get approved by Apple for earning and spending crypto. This, combined with Kik users, gave Kin more active users than all Ethereum dapps combined.

Kin worked with large partners, like Blackhawk Network, IMVU, Perfect365, and Unity, who are excited about the Kin vision and business model. Like Kik, they need a blockchain and SDK that is scalable and reliable with out of the box features such as backup and restore. Expect more integrations as these features are built and proven. This is also what is needed to unblock launching with platforms like Unity.

Finally, Kin has also launched the Kin Developer Program, selecting 40 developers to participate in the program. Because the Kin Blockchain doesn’t yet have the anti spam measures in place to protect itself, only developers who are accepted into the program can work with the Kin Blockchain. Once the anti spam system is in place, this will change. And once these 40 developers are live, it will also create enough usage and diversity of transactions to start rolling out the Kin Rewards Engine.

Don’t Hate the Player, Change the Game

What has also become clear in the past year is how much the world needs Kin. We have seen consumer companies increasingly struggle to compete. We have seen acquired founders get pushed out after being promised independence. And we have seen consumers creating even more value, but continuing to see none of it.

We need to change the game. We need a way where developers can compete on a level playing field. A way where consumers and developers are put on the same team. A way where we can all win together by working together.

When we first created Kik it took almost two years of building before Kik went viral. We had to develop the right components and get the right pieces in place. Some days, we made more progress than others. But then one day in 2010 it all came together, and seemingly overnight, Kik became the fastest growing app in history.

Today it feels like we are in a similar place. Problems are being solved. Pieces are getting put in place. But step by step we are getting there, creating a new game. A game the world needs. A game we can all win at together.

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