The Kin Foundation set the lofty goal of “becoming the most used Cryptocurrency by End of Year” in 2018.
Depending on their measure of success, they’ve either got a long way to go, or an incredibly long way to go.
There are also some key problems that stand in their way that will need to be resolved – but shipping solutions to these challenges would send strong signals that Kin is poised for growth in Q4.
The Most Used Cryptocurrency:
To reach the status of the “most used cryptocurrency” by the end of year, Kin would likely need to compete on transaction numbers, transaction volume or total number of wallets. Kin is a long way off on all these fronts, but the most likely measure is in terms of transaction count (especially given Kin’s focus on micro-transactions).
So where does Kin sit currently? As of September 5th, during a slow bear market, here are the top transacting blockchains based on Blocktivity’s reporting of a 7 day average:
Transactions Per Day, Per Blockchain:
- EOS – 4M transactions/day
- BTS – 1.2M transactions/day
- Steem – 1.1M transactions/day
- ETH – 600k transactions/day
- BTC – 230k transactions/day
- KIN – 20k transactions/day
While there is some debate as to the legitimacy of how transactions are counted for “EOS,” “BTS,” and “Steem” (all of whom are made by the same dev), even if we were to discount them entirely and leave ETH as the leader with 600,000 daily transactions, this is still very far from Kin’s 20,000 transactions a day – many of which are automated account creation transactions performed by the Kin Foundation.
So, let’s examine some of those key problems.
Problem #1 – Restricted Integration (SDK):
Even though the Kin Foundation is focused on building an “open and fair” ecosystem on an open source technology, they’ve taken a very restrictive approach to their early integrations.
While the Kin team launched a $3 million Developer Program and accepted 40 different participants to that program, the ability to build on the Kin blockchain is not yet available to anyone else.
Right now, developers who are interested in Kin are stuck:
- Building for the ERC20 Kin token, which is unsupported. It’s also unclear if these apps will count towards the KRE.
- Waiting for the Kin SDKs to have a public launch in the future.
At this point in time, developers have no real ability to develop for the Kin ecosystem and so Kin is turning away party guests before they even have a chance to knock on the door.
If Kin hopes to be the most used cryptocurrency by EOY, they will need to play a volume game with developers and not be too dependent on current apps, which could face serious challenges with integration, legal and user education.
Problem #2 – Isolated Ecosystems (Identity Layer):
One of the most important aspects of the Kin Ecosystem, that we’ve yet to hear any official discussion about, is the “Identity Layer” solution.
In order for users to move their Kin in and out of apps without creating multiple wallets, Kin will need to provide some sort of “Login with Kin” button (likely through Kinit) allowing people to receive compound value for their Kin by earning it in one app and spending it anywhere.
This is one of the core tenants for Kin and their “rebel alliance” – without this ability, apps are just isolated ecosystems that are no different than current in-app “rewarded video” experiences.
Rather than create a work-around, Kin has chosen that the first batch of apps will not be able to have users transfer their Kin outside of the app until some unknown future date.
An identity layer is crucial for Kin’s long term success, but the ability for users to transfer their Kin from apps to a public blockchain is table-stakes for truly being the most used cryptocurrency by end of year.
Problem #3 – Centralization (No Public Blockchain):
Kin has positioned themselves as a private, single-product focused blockchain, which wins them no friends within the cryptocurrency community.
Right now, Kin’s nodes are all run by the Kin Foundation or other private members of the ecosystem. It is currently not even possible to run your own node for the Kin blockchain mainnet as:
- The GitHub code is not up to date with the mainnet nodes.
- The network passphrases are not publicly released.
This means that the Kin Foundation fully controls the Kin blockchain network and could rollback any transaction or change a transaction at any time.
Blockchains are designed for decentralization through ‘trustlessness,’ and Kin won’t be able to become the most used cryptocurrency without building that trust with the blockchain community. Until Kin launches public nodes and decentralizes the network, then they can’t claim to be the most used cryptocurrency, as they would really just be a highly used in-app currency from a private company.
Problem #4 – Trapped Value (No Atomic Swap):
Currently, nearly all the Kin in existence is sitting on the Ethereum blockchain as ERC20 tokens.
The Kin Foundation shifted from Ethereum to their own private Kin Blockchain and left their tooling for the Ethereum blockchain unsupported.
This means there is no real purpose to the Kin ERC20 token (KIN1), and its value is entirely based on speculation until there is an “Atomic Swap” option to bring the Kin back over to the Kin Blockchain.
The Atomic Swap was originally targeted to go live in Q3 of 2018, but has been pushed back until at least late Q4 of 2018. With Kin’s track record of deadlines it is unclear if we’ll see the functionality released by end of year, but, it would be a crucial component to reaching their goal.
Problem #5 – Kik Engagement:
The Kik team has been disappointingly quiet on the progress of integrating Kin into Kik.
While Kik is supposed to act as a core beacon of the Kin Ecosystem, so far we’ve seen mostly idle wallets, minimal updates to the user experience and low engagement rates.
We’ve received minimal insights into the progress here, or future plans/timelines. The one communication we have from the Kin team on the “progress of the Kik integration” left us with vague answers, no hard data or concrete details.
Perhaps Kik is just playing their cards close to their chest – but the article doesn’t instill confidence. Coupled with the low volume of daily active users (and the lack of clarity around Kik wallet creation numbers), it breeds concern that the Kik integration may be under performing.
Integrating Kin into Kik could single handedly result in Kin being the most used cryptocurrency in the world by the end of year, if the engagement and retention rates are strong. This is Kin’s main lifeline for delivering on that goal, and yet the community has mostly been left in the dark here.
TL;DR Recap: How We Become Most Used:
What can Kin do to become the most used cryptocurrency by end of year? Any of these launches would signal good things:
- Launch public SDKs.
- Launch an Identity Layer.
- Launch public blockchain nodes.
- Launch the Atomic Swap.
- Roll out Kin into Kik.