Kik is shutting down its popular but controversial messenger app despite having millions of active users around the world.
The company said it was closing down the messaging service so it could concentrate on the Kin cryptocurrency it has also created.
In a blog, Kik Interactive said the decision had been forced on it by a legal issue with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over Kin.Kik Messenger is shutting down despite the service having millions of active users around the world.
After launching in 2009, Kik quickly rose to the tops of the App Stores and then slowly veered off but it’s remained popular in the US, with around 300 million users, most of which are teenagers.
The app has also proved controversial and a BBC News investigation in 2018 suggested it had featured in 1,100 UK child sexual abuse cases police had investigated in the past five years.
In response, Kik said it was "constantly assessing and improving its trust and safety measures".
Kik’s life as a messaging app is now over as the company appears to be moving more into the cryptocurrency space.
About two years ago, it launched a cryptocurrency named Kin and raised nearly $100 million in an ICO (sort of like crowdfunding but for crypto). Thanks to this, the coin is one of the most used cryptocurrencies in the world with 600,000 monthly active spenders of the coin.
Speaking about the Kin project, Kik’s CEO Ted Livingston took to Medium to say: “Two years ago we set out to build a new economy that offered equal opportunity to billions of people. Today millions of consumers and hundreds of developers have come together to build this better future with Kin.”
However, following the launch of the cryptocurrency, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has sued the company accusing it of illegally selling Kin tokens by failing to register the sale, which is one of the reasons Livingston is shutting down on Kik to focus on Kin. The company is understood to be defending the SEC’s claim. It is going to downsize to only 19 people from over 100, despite advertising new roles on its Facebook page only last week, with a vision to develop Kin further.
In the Medium post, he added: “But no matter what happens to Kik, Kin is here to stay. Kin operates on an open, decentralized infrastructure run by a dozen independent companies. Kin is a currency used by millions of people in dozens of independent apps. So while the SEC might be able to push us around, taking on the broader Kin Ecosystem will be a much bigger fight. And the Ecosystem is close to adding a lot more firepower.”