Kin: Three Years, Dozens of Developers, Millions of Consumers. And It’s Just Getting Started.
Three years ago Kin went live inside the Kik Messaging App. At that time, more than 10,000 people from 117 countries purchased Kin and joined the movement to build a more fair digital world.
In the three years that have followed, over 40 million people have acquired Kin across an ecosystem of more than 50 independent apps. The Kin Whitepaper concluded with the following statement:
“Kin will bring to fruition a new era of decentralized community ownership, enabling a vibrant ecosystem of digital services that power daily life.”
While it is still early, Kin has made good progress towards fulfilling this vision. Kin has become the most used cryptocurrency by mainstream consumers, and the ecosystem only continues to grow.
“It has been gratifying to witness the birth and growth of the Kin ecosystem and its community across a spectrum of developers, applications, and services. Despite the challenges encountered along the way, the groundwork is solid for continued progress and a great future ahead.”
- William Mougayar, Kin Foundation Board Director
In this post, exactly three years since Kin first launched, we take a look back at how Kin has evolved and look ahead to where the opportunities lie. Below are just a few key milestones so far.
Kin is empowering a community of developers to build sustainable businesses through a monetization model that is value additive to their users. This has come at a time when it is becoming increasingly difficult for independent developers to compete with large scale tech monopolies whose business models extract value from their users. So far, developers have been paid a total of 476.92 billion Kin for their contributions to the Ecosystem. This has not only fuelled the growth of existing apps but has created a foundation on which new apps have been built from first principles specifically for Kin.
“If it wasn’t for Kin my app wouldn’t exist. It gave me the tools, a community of users, and a business model to build a profitable app from the ground up. I don’t think people fully understand yet how powerful the KRE is: an incentive to build on the blockchain and make the currency more valuable which is equivalent to Bitcoin’s mining.”
- Luc Hendricks, Founder, KinFit
On the foundation of a sustainable business model, these developers have built consumer experiences that are driving strong adoption of Kin as a currency. Every month, more than 3.5 million users are getting paid for their time and attention, and almost 3 million are spending that Kin across the Ecosystem. While the amounts are small today, these are the seeds of a growing digital economy. The amount of Kin earned and spent per user has increased more than 10x in the last year alone. Kin is providing an opportunity for anyone in the world to get paid for their time online. And the Kin being earned by these millions of consumers is being bought by mainstream advertisers, driving real sustainable demand for Kin. Kin is evolving into a truly self sustaining economy where everyone shares in the value creation.
“We are advocating for a better future where the internet is more competitive and consumers are compensated for their time/attention. Kin Ecosystem participants want a “social graph” like effect for value, where the value created by the network effect accrues at the network level vs concentrated to just Facebook, Apple and Google shareholders.”
- Josh Doner, Cofounder, Kin Ads
Three years ago Kin was deployed on the Ethereum blockchain. At that time this was the best option for an open, decentralized payments platform. This enabled tens of thousands of people to get Kin and use it in the ecosystem. But soon after launch, Kin ran into the scaling limits of Ethereum. To unlock increased scale, Kin started running on a Stellar testnet in parallel to Ethereum and in early 2019 Kin migrated to the Kin Blockchain, a custom fork of Stellar. This unlocked the requisite scale to enable millions of consumers to earn and spend Kin with zero fees and transaction times under 5 seconds — something no one in crypto had seen before. To create a simple developer experience, a new set of SDKs were rolled out that made it even easier for anyone developing an app to integrate Kin. The combination of a performant blockchain and simple developer tools paved the way for dozens of new developers to join the ecosystem and take Kin from hundreds of thousands of users to millions of users. By the end of 2019, Kin had crossed one million monthly active spenders, and by the end of Q1 2020 that number had already tripled.
To support the continued growth of the ecosystem, a new set of SDKs are being rolled out that make it even simpler for developers to integrate Kin. These SDKs will also set the Ecosystem up for a seamless migration to the Solana blockchain that was selected as the next destination for Kin after months of testing and a community vote.
“As we head towards the end of 2020 and into the new year I’m excited about a smooth transition of Kin to the Solana blockchain and the new growth in the ecosystem that will enable. The new open source Kin tooling to make this happen has been fun and challenging to contribute to. Our team is excited to be a part of this growing ecosystem.”
- Bryan Lahartinger, Developer, Kik
Kin is not just app developers and app users, it is a growing collective of people aligned to the mission of Kin. The contributions across the Kin Community span contributions to the open source code, development of tools and infrastructure to make Kin more accessible and understandable, governance proposals to refine the ways in which the Kin Reserves are allocated, content development to expand the reach and impact of the community, and so much more. What makes this powerful is that each one of these contributions is coming from people all over the world. Kin is a global movement with everyone aligned through the common incentive to grow the value of the Kin currency. Below are a few examples of recent community contributions to give an overview of just how diverse the ecosystem is.
- Kin Visualizer by u/kidwonder (Australia)
- Kin Explorer by u/Chancity (USA)
- Kin Ads by Miquel Tolosa, Luc Hendriks, and Joshua Doner (Spain/Netherlands/Canada)
- Kinfolio by u/peerbet_simon (UK)
- Kin Wallet Creator by u/sednax (Netherlands)
- Crypto Kin News by u/lmaton (UK)
- KINKRE Blog by u/kinkre (Australia)
- English to Spanish Translations by u/scara89 (Spain)
- Cuppa Kin by u/leehuk87 (UK)
- KRE Report by @Polype01 (Belgium)
- The Kinformant by u/TheKinformant (USA)
“The Kin Community is unified and vibrant. It has proven its resilience through difficult times and continuously displays passion and creativity. The Kin Community offers anyone the opportunity to come together, work together, and build meaningful bonds while all sharing in the value we create together. That’s an achievement in itself and something to be proud of.”
- Lee Huk, Creator, Cuppa Kin
As noted in the sections above, Kin is a global community of contributors across a breadth of domains. Each participant is unified through the shared interest to grow the value of Kin. The Kin Foundation has the responsibility of allocating the Kin Reserves to drive the productive growth of the ecosystem. In the three years since Kin went live, the governance of the Kin Reserves has evolved. There are now two Kin Representatives that act as a conduit between the Kin Foundation and the community of developers and holders, bringing broader representation and increased diversity of thought to the Kin Foundation governance process. This has been a positive step forward in expanding the reach and impact of the Kin Foundation.
The Kin Foundation’s evolution in governance has enabled fresh and independent perspectives to join the decision making process, which have helped to shape better project outcomes. KIN continues to have many challenges to solve on it’s path to mass consumer adoption, effective and fair governance plays a key part in solving those challenges
- Matt Hannam, Kin Representative
Looking ahead, the need for Kin has only grown. People are spending an increasing amount of their time online. This is an opportunity for developers to build experiences that empower consumers. Big Tech continues to be extractive in their business model, while Kin is expansive, creating a sustainable system that enables everyone to be fairly compensated for the value they create online. The world needs this and both developers and consumers are seeing this. Kin is on a strong trajectory to provide this value to the world in this next age of digital transformation.
“I think we underestimated how many pieces had to come together to make Kin work. The technology, the developer kits, the product integrations, the incentive mechanisms, the exchanges and buy modules, the marketing, the regulation, the governance, and so much more. It has been inspiring to see the ecosystem put together what is becoming a self sustaining crypto economy driven by real demand. It’s an exciting time.”
- Ted Livingston, Founder of Kik and Kin