What Critics Have Right About Kin
Recently, we published our 5 part series on “What Critics Fail to Understand About Kin.” While we firmly believe that there is a lot of unfair criticism about Kin, there are also many points that critics got right.
At the end of the day, successful projects are often successful not because of the things they do well, but instead because of their ability to identify their short-comings and work to correct them.
We already know the “5 Challenges that Kin Must Overcome to be the Most Used Cryptocurrency by EoY,” but these related primarily to technical and product hurdles.
Given that, it is important for the Kin community to know what critics have right about Kin.
#1 – Kin’s Communication is Either Confusing or MIA:
When it comes to communication from the Kin Foundation team, the community feels they have three choices:
- No information.
- Confusing and vague statements that don’t get clarified.
- A response of “I’ll look into it and get back to you!” that goes unanswered.
The Kin Foundation has struggled in the past to meet their deadlines and fulfill previous production promises. Rather than adjust their goal-setting practice, the Kin Foundation stopped giving updates.
There is no official resource for answers and the community has no insights or updates on:
- The Kin & Kik Integration.
- The KRE.
- The Identity Layer.
- The Atomic Swap.
- Partnership integrations with Unity, IMVU or others.
Kin continues to operate like a private company, rather than a blockchain project with community stakeholders – and leaving people in the dark has left a sour taste in the mouth of many community members.
It’s also a misaligned behavior for a company that says its operations will one day be managed by a non-profit foundation where the community is supposed to have a strong voice.
#2 – The Community is Unkept:
Kin’s community is the overgrown garden that no one wants to love or nurture.
In the Kin subreddit, many posts, questions or requests for help are answered by the community members (when they have the information to do so) – but the content remains largely unfiltered. In fact, spammy advertisement for other cryptocurrencies, and referral links to exchanges have often sat on the front-page of the subreddit for days on end leaving the community to wonder where the mods are.
In Telegram the situation is even worse. Users frequently use Telegram to get answers on new projects they are exploring. When they come to the Kin chats, they are instead met with an onslaught of aggressive (and sometimes offensive) memes, and given misinformation by multiple sources. In fact, multiple new people have come into the Kin Telegram in the past day only to be told that Kin is crashing because it’s “an exit scam.” (Note: The one saving grace here is if that if something is really bad and in need of moderation, you can often ping Benji and he will get to it in the next day or so).
The rare times we do hear from the community team, it’s with odd questions like:
- If you could pitch Kin to Mark Zuckerberg how would you do it? (Which is fundamentally misaligned with Kin)
- If you could rebuild Udemy from scratch using Kin how would you do it? (Which seems like we’re doing free work for the crypto that is supposed to be ‘rewarding the creation of value’ and is name dropping a partner we don’t have and causing confusion).
The Kin Foundation has at least 3 full-time community managers, and yet, it’s unclear to the community exactly what they are doing. The community feels ignored and taken for granted and that needs to be resolved.
#3 – Kin Wants Free Labor:
Kin is the cryptocurrency that is supposed to be all about rewarding users who create value. Creating a rebel alliance so people can earn their fair share.
At the same time, Kin has shown on multiple occasions that they want free or underpaid labor themselves – such as with the creation of their Ambassador program, where they wanted tremendous community management commitment and content creation from their Ambassador team in exchange for prizes such as T-shirts or online badges (which are still undelivered weeks after the conclusion of the pilot program).
The team has even gone as far to float the idea of volunteer community moderators to help manage Reddit and Telegram.
It isn’t uncommon in the world of crypto to have users step up and help moderator and manage the community – what is uncommon, and in this case hypocritical, is not paying them.
In most communities, the community member moderators are rewarded with bounties paid out in the tokens they’re working for.
Given that Kin has raised $100 million in an ICO, and sits on trillions of vested Kin tokens, they should ensure they “walk the walk” when it comes to rewarding users who create value.
#4 – The Kin Rewards Engine is Broken:
The real core of Kin is in the KRE. Given that developers are essentially replacing their monetization methods with Kin, they need to be able to be dependably rewarded for their users actions.
Right now, all previously released information about the KRE is considered inaccurate and out of date and the KRE is back on the drawing board.
Kin has realized that:
- The KRE would cause too much downward pressure in an early market that is highly illiquid.
- The KRE will have challenges in identifying fraud.
There are some other problems they haven’t yet acknowledged:
- The KRE doesn’t give a reliable way to predict income per user action (as compared to “Rewarded Ad Views”).
- The KRE may open up developers to double-taxation events as it requires both receiving the token (income tax) and then selling the token for fiat (capital gain/loss).
- The KRE’s declining reward model, instead of a growing reward model, means early adopters win big, but later adopters will depend on the market growth matching the KRE output.
There are a number of complexities surrounding the KRE, but if developers don’t get clarity on their potential earnings, they simply won’t be willing to take that risk.
Woah, this sounds bleak, do you still believe in Kin?
After writing this article, and addressing “The 5 Challenges Kin Must Overcome to be the Most Used Cryptocurrency by EoY.” I know a lot of people are going to ask if I think Kin can still be successful.
The answer to that is, yes.
I still think they can be successful, although I am also less confident than I was before.
In order to get there, they have to acknowledge and work on correcting the challenges they face both as a team and as a product. Weak teams defend their actions, good teams correct them.
I still own the Kin I’ve purchased – but I’m certainly looking for a change in the status quo.
Why do you think these things are problems for Kin?
While I can appreciate that in any startup you need to “pick what you are best at” and cut corners on other aspects to move quickly, Kin can’t continue to cut corners on community and communication. Success in the blockchain world will depend on a strong community that supports the project, and potential partners will look at how Kin treats their community as a litmus test of how Kin would treat them.
Do you think Kin will be the most used cryptocurrency in 2018?
I highly doubt they will be able to achieve their goal of being “the most used cryptocurrency” by the end of the 2018 year – and I think Kin is going to be a long hold in order for it to be a success.
I think users who are dreaming of a $0.01 Kin (or higher) in 2018 are simply wishful thinkers. I think we have a long journey ahead of us to build a robust ecosystem.
At the same time, I would love nothing more than if the Kin Foundation proves me wrong. This is one case where I’d love to eat my words.
But, I think it is fair, healthy, and constructive for us to admit that there are a few things that critics have right about Kin.