Kik shuts down messaging app in fight with SEC

But it's doubling down on support for Kin, its cryptocurrency.

Oscar Gonzalez Former staff reporter
Oscar Gonzalez is a Texas native who covered video games, conspiracy theories, misinformation and cryptocurrency.
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Oscar Gonzalez
2 min read

So long, Kik. 

Jason Parker

Instant messaging app Kik is shutting down as the company continues its fight with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The move will let the company focus instead on its  cryptocurrency , which was the catalyst for pressure from the SEC

Ted Livingston, Kik's founder and CEO, posted about the demise of the messaging app on Monday. More than 100 employees were laid off, leaving the company with only 19 people, he said. Those still employed will work on Kin, the company's cryptocurrency.

"These are hard decisions," Livingston said in a Medium post. "Kik is one of the largest apps in the US. While losing Kik will have a big impact on these numbers, the continued growth of the Kin Ecosystem has more than made up for it."

in 2017, Kik began selling Kin crypto and raised $100 million from investors. However, the Canada-based company didn't get permission from the SEC for an initial coin offering and thus violated the registration requirements in the Securities Act of 1933. The agency filed a lawsuit against Kik in June. 

"By selling $100 million in securities without registering the offers or sales, we allege that Kik deprived investors of information to which they were legally entitled, and prevented investors from making informed investment decisions," Steven Peikin, co-director of the SEC's division of enforcement, said in the statement in June. "Companies do not face a binary choice between innovation and compliance with federal securities laws."

According to Livingston, Kin is used as currency in a dozen apps and has more than 2 million monthly active earners with 600,000 monthly active spenders. The company's goal is to accelerate Kin's usage to support more than a billion consumers.

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