Kin Definition

What Is Kin?

Kin is the cryptocurrency for the messaging service Kik. Kin has special uses within the Kik messenger platform. Users can earn Kin for making contributions to the broader Kik community, and then spend Kin on various goods and services within the Kik platform.

Key Takeaways

  • Kin is the cryptocurrency offered by the messaging service Kik, launched via an ICO in 2017.  
  • The Kin ICO raised roughly $100 million. 
  • Kik had a key advantage over certain cryptocurrency competitors as it already had millions of active users through its messaging platform.

Understanding Kin

Kin first launched in September of 2017 via an initial coin offering (ICO), raising roughly $100 million in investor funds over a period of about two weeks. Upon its launch, the founders of Kin described the Kin Ecosystem as “designed specifically to bring people together in a new shared economy,” with the cryptocurrency itself acting as a “foundation for a decentralized ecosystem of digital services.”

While most companies that launch their own cryptocurrency don’t necessarily have a ready-made user base, Kik had a key advantage here with millions of active users through its messaging platform. As such, the platform helped drive consumer adoption of the Kin cryptocurrency. The Kik app can house many of the traditionally third-party services and features for the currency, including the Kin wallet.

Although Kin was officially launched late in 2017, it comes on the heels of a large experimental campaign done by Kik. Over a period of close to three years, Kik ran a project called Kik Points. This was very similar to Kin in that it offered Kik users the chance to earn and spend points within the app itself. At its highest levels, Kik Points reached transaction volumes equal to three times more than Bitcoin. 

Kin Rewards Engine 

Perhaps even more notable about the launch of Kin is its Kin Rewards Engine. Through that, Kik launched Kin as a daily reward distributed among stakeholders by an algorithm based on the community’s contribution to the ecosystem.

Ted Livingston—Kik CEO and founder—suggested that the Kin token is an opportunity to distribute value amongst developers. The idea is that Kik will give away value, incentivizing developers to “build an open and decentralized ecosystem of apps” on the Kik platform.

The Kin Foundation

The Kin Foundation focuses on the governance of Kin and focuses on “growing an open ecosystem of digital services.” The ecosystem is not be based around advertising, as many social media platforms are, but rather on users being able to provide value to themselves and one another, and on those users being rewarded for that contribution.

Besides being a digital currency, the Kin website describes the token as “different from other digital currencies because it is a cryptocurrency.” Kin is similar to Bitcoin in that it makes use of the public blockchain and has monetary value. The fact that Kin is part of a blockchain allows its developers to control the creation and flow of tokens to prevent a surge. Blockchain support also allows a token to be guaranteed over the long term.


As of July 12, 2021, Kin was ranked the 323rd cryptocurrency by market cap—per CoinMarketCap.

Future of Kin 

In 2019, Kik announced it would shut down its messaging service to focus on Kin. However, shortly after the announcement, the company was purchased by MediaLab. The messaging service remained intact, but this came shortly after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Kik for raising money in its Kin ICO without registering the offering. 

In 2020, the SEC ruled that Kik violated federal securities law by selling Kin in 2017 and was ordered to pay a $5 million fine. However, the messaging service was not required to shut down the Kin network, nor required to register Kin with the SEC. Thus, sales of Kin can still take place.