UPDATED 18:11 EDT / AUGUST 30 2017

EMERGING TECH

Kik raises $50M in presale round for its new cryptocurrency tokens

Kik Interactive Inc., the creator of the Kik Messenger chat app, announced today that it has secured $50 million in funding during a presale round of its new cryptocurrency, Kin.

The token distribution event will start at 9 a.m. EDT Tuesday, Sept. 12. Several accredited investors bought into the presale round, including Blockchain Capital, Pantera Capital and Polychain Capital. Kik said it’s looking to raise a total of $125 million through the token sale.

Launched in 2010, Kik Messenger focuses heavily on anonymity, and the app allows people to sign up for an account without having to provide personally identifiable information such as a phone number. The company hopes to use Kin to expand Kik’s features while still preserving privacy. At the same time, Kik also wants to use its cryptocurrency to create a more open app ecosystem.

“We’re one step closer to launching Kin and integrating it into Kik, which will be the first mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency,” said Ted Livingston, founder and chief executive of Kik Interactive. “Kin will fuel new experiences in communications, information, and commerce inside of Kik, and will also serve as a foundation for a new decentralized ecosystem of digital services, bringing a fair and sustainable business model to the market.”

Livingston said in May that Kin is designed to fight what he calls the “copy-and-crush strategy” used by bigger companies to crush competition. According to Livingston, Kin will give developers a fighting chance against large companies.

Kin, which is an ERC20 token on the Ethereum blockchain, will initially work as a sort of rewards system for developers who create apps for Kik Messenger. Using the Kin Rewards Engine, Kik will divvy out a set amount of its cryptocurrency to developers each day using “an algorithm that reflects each service’s contribution.” The company hopes that this rewards system will generate demand for Kin, driving up the token’s value.

“Kik is by far the largest consumer company to enter the cryptocurrency space, and this is a seminal moment for the industry,” said Ryan Zurrer, a partner at cryptocurrency hedge fund Polychain Capital. “We have been impressed with Kik’s thoughtful approach to the creation and distribution of Kin, and have confidence that the team will execute their vision of creating a decentralized ecosystem of digital services through Kin.”

Registration for Kin’s token distribution event is currently open and must be completed by 9 a.m. EDT Sept. 9.

Photo: Kik

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