Messaging App Kik Is Shutting Down as The Company Focuses on Cryptocurrency Kin

Founder and CEO Ted Livingston cited pressure from the SEC

Kik for the iPhone Kik/iTunes App Store
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The jury may still be out on cryptocurrency, but one company is going all-in, as Ted Livingston, founder and CEO of messaging application Kik and cryptocurrency Kin, revealed that he is shuttering the former to focus on the latter.

The most recent data for Kik indicated that it had 300 million registered users as of May 2016, while Livingston said in his Medium post revealing his decision that Kin has over 2 million monthly active earners and 600,000 monthly active spenders.

Livingston cited pressure from the Securities and Exchange Commission for the decision, saying that the company will shut down the Kik app and lower its headcount to “an elite 19-person team,” leaving over 100 people without jobs.

The company began selling Kin cryptocurrency in 2017, raising $100 million from investors, Oscar Gonzalez of CNET reported, but it never received SEC permission for an initial coin offering, and the SEC filed a lawsuit against the company in June.

He wrote, “After 18 months of working with the SEC, the only choice they gave us was to either label Kin a security or fight them in court. Becoming a security would kill the usability of any cryptocurrency and set a dangerous precedent for the industry. So, with the SEC working to characterize almost all cryptocurrencies as securities, we made the decision to step forward and fight.”

According to Livingston, the company and its leaner team will proceed with a three-part strategy:

  • Move the Kin blockchain forward to support 1 billion consumers making one-dozen transactions per day with confirmation times under one second.
  • Accelerate the adoption, growth and success of all developers in the Kin ecosystem.
  • Build a mobile wallet for Kin.

He concluded, “We are all in. And despite these hard decisions, my confidence in Kin only continues to grow. Together we will show the power of the Kin ecosystem. Together we will get millions of people to buy Kin to use it. And together we will build a new economy that offers equal opportunity to billions of people. Together we will win.”


david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.
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