Moving Kin Between Apps in the Ecosystem

Nearly 30 apps have joined the Kin Ecosystem in the past few months, with more joining all the time. The ecosystem is rapidly growing, and each app provides a wide variety of Kin experiences.

Currently each app provides its own unique way to get and use Kin, but for Kin to become a true ecosystem, mainstream users need the ability to easily use their Kin in any participating app. After all, the core idea of an ecosystem is interconnection. Getting Kin in one app and using it in another should be a seamless experience for both end users and developers who join the ecosystem.

As a team driven to create inspiring lighthouse experiences for Kin, we are currently developing the ability to move Kin from one app to another, and in doing so, show the value that a truly interconnected ecosystem can provide to both companies and users alike. We are working to showcase this as fast as possible, with the best user experience, in order to let developers in the ecosystem include it in their apps, and to show end users that Kin can be used anywhere.

While the goal is clear, we recognized that there are many ways to achieve it. The main question was whether to stick with the current situation, where each user owns several Kin wallets (one for each app) or to create a new reality in which each user owns only one Kin wallet, which they use throughout the ecosystem for all apps.

After exploring both possibilities, a consensus emerged around the latter method. Using one Kin wallet creates the smoothest experience for users — one Kin balance to use in all apps so that users will be able to use Kin anytime, anywhere, without the extra step of transferring Kin between wallets. However, we also recognized that since Kin is still growing and not all users will yet understand the concept of an interconnected ecosystem, we want to take things one step at a time. Most users are only just starting to get to know Kin through one app, so automatically opening a wallet for them within that app is the fastest and simplest way for them to experience Kin.

With this in mind, the following options emerge as a way to move toward creating a “one wallet” experience:

  • Overwrite an existing wallet on app X with another wallet from app Y.
    Based on the current backup and restore functionality this would be rather easy to implement on a technical level. However, it means that the existing wallet on app X would be gone, along with all the Kin in it. So unless users do this before getting any Kin on app X, this solution would, understandably, lead to user frustration. Also, it has a dependency on users understanding they first need to back up their wallet on app Y, which itself creates friction and potential confusion.
  • Merge wallet on app X with wallet from app Y.
    This alternative is better for the users, since there is no chance of Kin being lost, but it presents a number of more complicated technical challenges. It also raises a number of questions in terms of user experience, like what happens to the original wallet, how does the history of Kin usage carry over, where would it be presented, etc.
  • Connect to app X with existing wallet from app Y.
    This is the ideal solution. A new wallet isn’t created for each app at all, but rather users create a wallet once, and from that point, every time they use a new ecosystem app, they will connect with their first wallet. This does put a lot of weight on specific users behaviors though, and as mentioned above it is unclear if users are ready for this functionality at this point.

The more we explored the options above, the more we recognized that it’s still too early for users to proactively deal with their wallets, or have to understand the concept behind it. So instead, we headed back to the basics — what is the easiest way to get Kin in one app and use it in another? How can a user achieve this in the easiest way? How can users move their Kin around when they have several wallets?

Sending Kin from wallet A to wallet B is a basic functionality we have already demonstrated on Kinit. Users can send Kin to their friends quickly and easily based on their friend’s phone number. However, when trying to send Kin to another app, the only common identifier that everyone uses is the wallet ID, making things a bit more complicated.

Using the term ‘public address’ among mainstream users is definitely not the right thing to do if we want to simplify the experience. So, we had to find a way to make this more user-friendly. There are some ways to hide the complexity, like using QR codes (exposing a QR code on app X and than using that on app Y to send Kin). But is it actually the best solution for mainstream users?

We wanted to find a way to simplify the experience even more. How did we manage it? You can read all about it in a separate post coming soon from the Kinit team!

The first step for any solution to move Kin around is to let people know what is available in the Kin Ecosystem. A discovery feature will be available soon in Kinit on Android (soon to be available on iOS, too) providing an easy way to explore the ecosystem apps with a call to action to download those apps.

By the time we release the ability to move Kin around, we are hoping that enough users will be using at least two ecosystem apps.