UPDATE (Sept. 24, 14:22 UTC): This article has been updated to rectify inaccuracies in our original reporting.
Following reports its crypto-focused subsidiary Kin had laid off 70 employees, Kik Interactive CEO Ted Livingston announced Monday that Kik will also be shutting down its core messaging service.
In a company blog post, Livingston said the ongoing dispute with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has forced Kik to close its doors.
"After 18 months of working with the SEC the only choice they gave us was to either label Kin a security or fight them in court," Livingston wrote. "So with the SEC working to characterize almost all cryptocurrencies as securities we made the decision to step forward and fight."
In addition to shutting down the app, Livingston said the company would shrink its crypto operations to just 19 core developers with a focus on fostering the adoption of Kik's KIN cryptocurrency.
"Kin has over 2,000,000 monthly active earners, and 600,000 monthly active spenders," he wrote. "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."
Kik is currently in a dispute with the SEC over the 2017 initial coin offering of its KIN token. The ICO raised $100 million, which the SEC claims was an unregistered securities offering. Since the SEC allegations in June, Kin’s token has dropped from $0.000036 to $0.0000105 as of today, according to data provider Messari.
While the Kik app is shutting down, Livingston said the core developer team is pivoting toward developing the KIN token.
Israeli news site Calcalist first reported the Kin layoffs. Calcalist also claimed Kin was being shut down as parts of the technology would be moved to different platforms, such as the Kik app.
Aspects of the report were confirmed on the Kin Foundation’s official Reddit page. “I can confirm a restructure is happening,” a spokesman from the foundation wrote at the time.
Kik image via Shutterstock
Editor's note: A previous version of this article stated that the Kin Foundation is also shutting down. It has been updated to correct this error.
CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk offers all employees above a certain salary threshold, including journalists, stock options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.