Kik

Kik Interactive Inc. is creating a cryptocurrency as a first step to launching a decentralized ecosystem of digital services.

About Kik

 

Kik Messenger, commonly called Kik, is a freeware instant messaging mobile app from the Canadian company Kik Interactive, founded in 2009 by a group of University of Waterloo students.  As of May 2016, Kik Messenger had approximately 300 million registered users, and was used by approximately 40% of United States teenagers. In September 2016, however, the app appeared to no longer be growing. Still, Kik currently claims to have over 15M monthly active users, with 57% of active users in the age range of 13-24, and with 64% of them living in the US.

Kik is known for its features which preserve users’ anonymity, such as allowing users to register without providing a telephone number. Kik Messenger has drawn controversy due to its reported involvement in a number of incidents of child exploitation: the app has been criticized as unsafe for minors due to its anonymity features and allegedly weak parental control mechanisms. However, the Kik Trust and Safety team is dedicated to assisting law enforcement with their inquiries, and provides resources to help.

Kik has raised over $120M in traditional venture capital, including a $50M Series D (closed August 2015) from Tencent (makers of WeChat) at a nearly $1B pre-money valuation. Other investors include Foundation Capital, RRE Ventures, Spark Capital, SV Angel, Union Square Ventures, and Valiant Capital Partners. Now, however, Kik is looking towards an ICO, rather than an IPO, as a potential exit, and to its cryptocurrency Kin as an alternative to ad-based revenue. This approach provides Kik with a sustainable monetization model that does not compromise user experience or privacy, and does not require mass display advertising or the selling of consumer data. And if Kik’s cryptocurrency becomes a self-sustaining economy, the value of Kik’s stake in Kin could end up being more valuable than the company’s potential exit valuation as an ad-based business in an IPO or through an acquisition.

Kin is envisioned as a general purpose cryptocurrency for use in everyday digital services. Kin will be used on the Kik social network for things like emojis, stickers, hosting and participating in group chats, building apps like bots, etc., and more generally be the unit of account for all economic transactions within the Kin Ecosystem. It will also serve as the basis of interoperability with other digital services. Kik views its users and community as uniquely suited to the adoption of a cryptocurrency. According to the company, Kik users are highly engaged, with over a quarter of a billion messages sent on Kik every day and over 187,000 bots created by third-party developers so far. The network’s prior experience with ‘Kik Points’ has also suggested that Kik users are amenable to digital currency. Although the stated goal is for Kin to also be used as currency outside of the Kik app, even internal use by a community with millions of active monthly users has the potential to make the Kin a highly popular and valuable cryptocurrency.

Kin

Kin will be implemented on the public Ethereum blockchain as an ERC20 token. However, based on Kik’s experience with Kik Points, the expected daily transaction rate could potentially surpass Ethereum’s throughput capability. Also, Ethereum transaction confirmation times result in delayed responsiveness compared to what users typically expect. These considerations, along with wanting to make the Ethereum blockchain transaction fees implicit, have led Kik to a semi-centralized hybrid on-chain and off-chain Transaction Service model.  At the core, the transactions in Kin will be settled on the Ethereum blockchain, but there will be be a centralized off-chain ledger with an API available to all digital service partners. This hybrid solution will create a semi-centralized system in which end-users enjoy a standard user experience insulated from some of the complexity of blockchain systems. However, this approach also has the drawbacks typical of a centralized system, such as having to rely on trust between participants. The long term plan is to migrate the transactional infrastructure to a fully decentralized system while retaining a low friction user experience.

In order to finance the Kin roadmap, Kik will conduct a token distribution event that will offer for sale 10% of its Kin currency. Kik will keep 30% of Kin and 60% of Kin will be overseen by a nonprofit Kin Foundation aimed at making Kin a popular cryptocurrency. That foundation will give away 20% of its stock of Kin every year to developers and contributors to the Kin economy.

Token Sale Use of Blockchain

Product

2.8
Product
Readiness

Is the product ready for use? Is there a working prototype or MVP? How long until it is operational?

3.0
N/A
3 - Prototype / MVP / alpha.
Appeal

How appealing is the product? How good or necessary is it? Does it have a distinct edge?

2.0
N/A
2 - Meh, okay.
Target User Base

Is it mass market or niche?

4.0
N/A
4 - Large audience / wide market.
Competition

Are there many other similar solutions or is this one of just a few, or even one of a kind?

3.0
N/A
3 - Some normal competition.
Innovation

How innovative or inventive is the product, either conceptually or technologically?

2.0
N/A
2 - Some, but nothing outstanding.

Product

Product Whitepaper

Use of Blockchain

2.0
Use of Blockchain
Blockchain Development

Is blockchain technology essential? Does it make the solution significantly different and better?

2.0
N/A
2 - Some smart contract functionality.
Disruptive Blockchain Advantage

How disruptive is the introduction of blockchain technology into the product's market space?

2.0
N/A
2 - Some, but not much.
Need for Custom Token (vs. BTC or ETH)

Is the token essential or could it be done just as well or better with fiat or Bitcoin?

2.0
N/A
2 - Some, mainly network effect.
System Decentralization (besides token)

How decentralized is the system architecture other than the token (e.g., data collection, storage, access, and use, or decision making processes, etc.)?

2.0
N/A
2 - Centralized with some plans to decentralize.
Contribution to Blockchain Ecosystem

How compelling is the solution's contribution to the evolution of blockchain infrastructure and economy?

2.0
N/A
2 - Meh, okay.

Use of Blockchain

Use of Blockchain Roadmap

Whitepaper

3.2
Whitepaper
Comprehensiveness

Is there a concrete and practical development plan (vs. just a conceptual vision)?

3.0
N/A
3 - Covers most key issues; a few holes.
Readability

Is it easy enough to understand?

3.0
N/A
3 - Readable, takes some time.
Transparency

Does it candidly describe and disclose where the project now stands, how much exists and how much still needs to be done, etc.?

4.0
N/A
4 - Informative disclosure.
Business Plan Presentation

Does it contain a viable, comprehensive business plan?

3.0
N/A
3 - More information required.
Technology Presentation

Does it present a well thought out technological architecture? Does it address implementational challenges?

3.0
N/A
3 - More information required.

Whitepaper

Whitepaper Compliance

Roadmap

2.6
Roadmap
Concreteness

Is there a concrete and practical development plan (vs. just a conceptual vision)?

2.0
N/A
2 - Vague, noncommittal.
Feasiblity

Is the development plan realistic? Is it based on reasonable goals and timelines?

2.0
N/A
2 - Very ambitious.
Vision

Is there a larger, long-term vision?

3.0
N/A
3 - A trend with potential.
Dependencies (services or capabilities)

How available, operational, or trusted are the other systems or capabilities on which the project relies?

3.0
N/A
3 - Imperfect but available, or using substitutes.
Current Position

Where is the project now, relative to its vision and plans?

3.0
N/A
3 - Getting there.

Roadmap

Roadmap Company and Team

Compliance

3.0
Compliance
Token Utility (value through usage)

How much use is there for the token itself (regardless of its value as an investment vehicle)?

5.0
N/A
5 - Foundational or varied use cases.
Token as Security (tradable instrument)

How valuable is the token as an investment vehicle or financial instrument?

3.0
N/A
3 - Partly; compliance not fully assured.
Token/Smart-Contract Readiness

Is the blockchain infrastructure of the project ready for use? Is there a working prototype or MVP? How long until it is operational?

2.0
N/A
2 - Proof of concept or test platform.
Attention to Compliance Issues

How much attention is given to compliance (via token and ecosystem design, token sale participation, etc.)? Is this issue addressed directly and coherently?

4.0
N/A
4 - Specific, detailed.
Legal Review/Risk Assessment

What kind of legal documentation (reviews or agreements) and risk assessment are provided?

1.0
N/A
1 - None available.

Compliance

Compliance Token Sale

Company and Team

3.8
Company and Team
Company Stage and Foundation

Is the company already established? Has it raised funds before? Is it mature?

5.0
N/A
5 - Well established, has raised significant funds.
Background of Lead Team Members

Do we know who they are? Do they have LinkedIn profiles? Do they have solid, relevant backgrounds?

4.0
N/A
4 - Verifiable relevant experience.
Team Assembly and Commitment

Is a solid, fully committed core team in place? Do they have online (e.g. LinkedIn) profiles showing sufficient relevant experience? Is their participation transparent?

4.0
N/A
4 - Fully assembled and committed.
Team Skill Set Relevance

Does the amount of talent and skill in each area seem to fit the project requirements?

3.0
N/A
3 - Correlated to project requirements.
Team Skill Set Balance

Is the team well-rounded (biz/tech/blockchain)? Is there sufficient talent and skill in all areas of required development?

3.0
N/A
3 - Somewhat uncertain, probably okay.

Company and Team

Company and Team Product

Token Sale

1.8
Token Sale
Raise Amount Max

Is there a clear cap? Is the maximum raise amount modestly sufficient (as opposed to either greedy or insufficient)?

1.0
N/A
1 - Very greedy (e.g. uncapped).
Raise Amount Min

Is the minimum raise reasonable considering the development plan? Are there raise-amount dependent milestones?

1.0
N/A
1 - None or nonsensical.
Fund Allocation

Is fund distribution and allocation reasonable and justified?

2.0
N/A
2 - Use of funds only loosely defined.
Token Allocation

Is the ratio of tokens sold to those kept reasonable? Does it prevent the company from having too much control?

2.0
N/A
2 - Unclear or suspicious.
Media Presence and Following

Is the sale being talked about in Reddit, Bitcointalk, Social Media, Medium, etc.? Is information available and accessible? Is there interest?

3.0
N/A
3 - Some presence, lukewarm reception.

Token Sale

Product

Category Breakdown
Readiness

Is the product ready for use? Is there a working prototype or MVP? How long until it is operational?

3.0
N/A
3 - Prototype / MVP / alpha.
Appeal

How appealing is the product? How good or necessary is it? Does it have a distinct edge?

2.0
N/A
2 - Meh, okay.
Target User Base

Is it mass market or niche?

4.0
N/A
4 - Large audience / wide market.
Competition

Are there many other similar solutions or is this one of just a few, or even one of a kind?

3.0
N/A
3 - Some normal competition.
Innovation

How innovative or inventive is the product, either conceptually or technologically?

2.0
N/A
2 - Some, but nothing outstanding.
Product Score:
2.8

Use of Blockchain

Category Breakdown
Blockchain Development

Is blockchain technology essential? Does it make the solution significantly different and better?

2.0
N/A
2 - Some smart contract functionality.
Disruptive Blockchain Advantage

How disruptive is the introduction of blockchain technology into the product's market space?

2.0
N/A
2 - Some, but not much.
Need for Custom Token (vs. BTC or ETH)

Is the token essential or could it be done just as well or better with fiat or Bitcoin?

2.0
N/A
2 - Some, mainly network effect.
System Decentralization (besides token)

How decentralized is the system architecture other than the token (e.g., data collection, storage, access, and use, or decision making processes, etc.)?

2.0
N/A
2 - Centralized with some plans to decentralize.
Contribution to Blockchain Ecosystem

How compelling is the solution's contribution to the evolution of blockchain infrastructure and economy?

2.0
N/A
2 - Meh, okay.
Use of Blockchain Score:
2.0

Whitepaper

Category Breakdown
Comprehensiveness

Is there a concrete and practical development plan (vs. just a conceptual vision)?

3.0
N/A
3 - Covers most key issues; a few holes.
Readability

Is it easy enough to understand?

3.0
N/A
3 - Readable, takes some time.
Transparency

Does it candidly describe and disclose where the project now stands, how much exists and how much still needs to be done, etc.?

4.0
N/A
4 - Informative disclosure.
Business Plan Presentation

Does it contain a viable, comprehensive business plan?

3.0
N/A
3 - More information required.
Technology Presentation

Does it present a well thought out technological architecture? Does it address implementational challenges?

3.0
N/A
3 - More information required.
Whitepaper Score:
3.2

Roadmap

Category Breakdown
Concreteness

Is there a concrete and practical development plan (vs. just a conceptual vision)?

2.0
N/A
2 - Vague, noncommittal.
Feasiblity

Is the development plan realistic? Is it based on reasonable goals and timelines?

2.0
N/A
2 - Very ambitious.
Vision

Is there a larger, long-term vision?

3.0
N/A
3 - A trend with potential.
Dependencies (services or capabilities)

How available, operational, or trusted are the other systems or capabilities on which the project relies?

3.0
N/A
3 - Imperfect but available, or using substitutes.
Current Position

Where is the project now, relative to its vision and plans?

3.0
N/A
3 - Getting there.
Roadmap Score:
2.6

Compliance

Category Breakdown
Token Utility (value through usage)

How much use is there for the token itself (regardless of its value as an investment vehicle)?

5.0
N/A
5 - Foundational or varied use cases.
Token as Security (tradable instrument)

How valuable is the token as an investment vehicle or financial instrument?

3.0
N/A
3 - Partly; compliance not fully assured.
Token/Smart-Contract Readiness

Is the blockchain infrastructure of the project ready for use? Is there a working prototype or MVP? How long until it is operational?

2.0
N/A
2 - Proof of concept or test platform.
Attention to Compliance Issues

How much attention is given to compliance (via token and ecosystem design, token sale participation, etc.)? Is this issue addressed directly and coherently?

4.0
N/A
4 - Specific, detailed.
Legal Review/Risk Assessment

What kind of legal documentation (reviews or agreements) and risk assessment are provided?

1.0
N/A
1 - None available.
Compliance Score:
3.0

Company and Team

Category Breakdown
Company Stage and Foundation

Is the company already established? Has it raised funds before? Is it mature?

5.0
N/A
5 - Well established, has raised significant funds.
Background of Lead Team Members

Do we know who they are? Do they have LinkedIn profiles? Do they have solid, relevant backgrounds?

4.0
N/A
4 - Verifiable relevant experience.
Team Assembly and Commitment

Is a solid, fully committed core team in place? Do they have online (e.g. LinkedIn) profiles showing sufficient relevant experience? Is their participation transparent?

4.0
N/A
4 - Fully assembled and committed.
Team Skill Set Relevance

Does the amount of talent and skill in each area seem to fit the project requirements?

3.0
N/A
3 - Correlated to project requirements.
Team Skill Set Balance

Is the team well-rounded (biz/tech/blockchain)? Is there sufficient talent and skill in all areas of required development?

3.0
N/A
3 - Somewhat uncertain, probably okay.
Company and Team Score:
3.8

Token Sale

Category Breakdown
Raise Amount Max

Is there a clear cap? Is the maximum raise amount modestly sufficient (as opposed to either greedy or insufficient)?

1.0
N/A
1 - Very greedy (e.g. uncapped).
Raise Amount Min

Is the minimum raise reasonable considering the development plan? Are there raise-amount dependent milestones?

1.0
N/A
1 - None or nonsensical.
Fund Allocation

Is fund distribution and allocation reasonable and justified?

2.0
N/A
2 - Use of funds only loosely defined.
Token Allocation

Is the ratio of tokens sold to those kept reasonable? Does it prevent the company from having too much control?

2.0
N/A
2 - Unclear or suspicious.
Media Presence and Following

Is the sale being talked about in Reddit, Bitcointalk, Social Media, Medium, etc.? Is information available and accessible? Is there interest?

3.0
N/A
3 - Some presence, lukewarm reception.
Token Sale Score:
1.8

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