Kik Is Trialing A Tipping System With Cryptocurrency

Kik, for the few who are unaware, is a popular messenger application, used the world over. In a recent announcement, the company noted that they are debuting their own cryptocurrency to its mobile messenger environment. It has started trialing a new tipping feature, using its native Kin Blockchain. A small number of Kik users are being allowed to send cryptocurrency tips to moderators and admins

The cat was let out of the bag by some keen Reddit bloggers. Later, speaking to news media, Laura Newton, head of product and design at Kik, said

“The addition of admin tipping incentivizes public group admins to foster enjoyable chat experiences on Kik while giving group participants the opportunity to thank admins for maintaining these spaces in the app.”

At the moment the tipping widget is enabled on a limited number of groups and only for Android devices. Expanding on this, a Kik representative noted “The initial rollout is 1,000 public groups. A public group has a maximum capacity of 50 users so this has a potential reach of 50,000.” Clearly, a small focus group to check the feature before being released to the almost 250 million strong community.

This looks to expand on the basic functionality that the KIN crypto had. Kik had used its currency to let users purchase special themes; now the tipping functionality looks to evolve into a more direct interaction between users. Discussing this further Ted Livingston, Kik founder, said

“Kik’s integration of Kin started with a simple experience, allowing the team to gauge the user response to cryptocurrency, and iterate on these insights. The introduction of this new peer-to-peer experience is a huge step forward in shaping Kik into the lighthouse example for new and existing participants in the Kin Ecosystem.”

How Does It Work

As would be expected, using the feature is simple. The user can access the list of people that can be tipped. This is done by clicking on the Kin icon on the platform. In its limited outing at the moment, only admins and moderators can be tipped; furthermore, only non iOS devices are being tested. Kik confirmed this by noting:

“You can only tip users who have a colored admin icon. Admins with grey icons are iOS users.”

This feature hasn't been designed to be a sole revenue generator for admins, though. There is an upper ceiling of just 500 KIN per day, which translates to about 2c, at the current rate of exchange.

What's The Technical Specifications.

Kin was initially launched on Ethereum and at the time of its ICO, was raised as an ERC20 token. Since then it has migrated to its own blockchain, KIN token. This is a custom fork of the Stellar network and will be used for all tipping transactions. While, at present, there is no way to exchange this native token for crypto or fiat currencies, there are plans for tie-ins with a number of exchanges to help with this.

To the chagrin of the dedicated fans, Kin Blockchain is not entirely decentralized. Like the one used by EOS, the platform also uses a Delegated-Proof-of-Stake (DPoS) consensus mechanism. This is for the obvious advantage of speed, the blockchain is able to process up to an impressive 120 transactions per second. This is a tenfold increase compared to the Bitcoin network.

While KIN shied away from naming its validation partners, it is acutely aware of its lack of decentralization. Whereas Proof-of-Stake (PoS) and Proof-of-Work (PoW) allows anyone to be a validator, KIN blockchain processes it via a group of pre-selected validators, called the Kin Federation. This naturally lends itself to fears of centralization and conflict of interest. Directly addressing this concern a spokesperson noted,

“Decentralizing the Kin Blockchain is a major priority for us right now, and we are currently in the process of selecting partners to validate transactions and move this effort along.”

Kik, Kith, And Kin

The Kin blockchain has been integrated into many apps However, Kik has been aggressively pushing forward with development plans on the Kin ecosystem. It has earlier set aside a $3 million fund to encourage developers. Kik is a little weary after it was found that one of the development teams was rather careless with customers private data. In fact, the company says, moving forward they will be “evaluating the security of all apps in the program before they submit the new versions with Kin integrations after the demo day.”

KIN has seen a successful implementation on Perfect365 a beauty app, with an estimated 100 million users. Taking its cue from them Kik has been working through the issues to successfully integrate the Kin blockchain.

With its small-scale testing environment, Kik has certainly found the perfect testing milieu. However, this pilot project has already highlighted two major concerns; in relation to decentralization and apt use of the native token. The messaging platform will need to iron out these and other issues, otherwise, they might have to go back to the drawing board to re-strategize about incorporating its cryptocurrency into its business.

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