What is Kin?

The symbol for Kin is in the middle and around it are bunch of icons from the Kin team. If you don’t know what Kin is, you’re in the right place: please keep reading.

Disclosure: I own Kin and other digital tokens.

The goal of this article is to explain Kin to someone who has just stumbled across it somewhere. Maybe this article is the first place you’ve stumbled upon Kin, or maybe you’ve seen Kin in an app, heard it mentioned by a friend, or earned it somewhere without even realizing it was worth something. Whatever brought you here, I believe you’re in the right place to get introduced to Kin.

Here’s my definition of Kin:

Kin is a token that you can earn and spend in a growing number of apps, games, and services.

Here is another definition of Kin from Reddit:

KIN is the native currency of the digital world, allowing users, developers, and brands to monetize their online activity

Based on these definitions, Kin seems pretty simple, and it is. Kin is meant to be simple, easy to use, easy to understand, and easy to share with a friend. When I say “share with a friend”, I mean both sharing what Kin is, and also sending some Kin tokens to a friend. Both of these sharings should be easy.

Kin can be incorporated into any app, game, or website. As of right now, it’s incorporated into the Kinit app, which is available on iOS and Android (you can download Kinit here, if you’d like to). Kinit allows you to earn Kin and then spend it on things like Amazon gift cards. Kin is also partially incorporated into the Kik messaging app. The people behind the Kik messaging app are the same people who launched Kin.

Things are just getting started: Kin is in the process of being incorporated in over forty others apps, games, and services. A few examples are IMVU, a 3D avatar-based instant messenger; Nearby, a social network to get to know people who are geographically close to you; Vent, an app that lets people emotionally support each other; and Draft Fantasy, a fantasy football (soccer) app. Some of the 40+ apps are brand new and yet to be launched. Most of the apps I’ve listed are joining Kin’s developer program, which recently accepted forty developers or teams of developers who would like to incorporate Kin into their apps. An app that has Kin incorporated into it will allow you to earn Kin, spend Kin, or both earn and spend Kin.

Most people are familiar with spending something in an app: you might spend cash to get Gems 💎 in Clash of Clans, or you might spend those Gems on in-game power ups. But less people are familiar with earning within an app because it’s less common. Earning includes things like doing a survey to earn cash, watching a thirty second video ad for virtual currency, or signing up for a free informational packet on Sleep Number beds to be mailed to your house to earn more coins for the game Coin Dozer.

The power of Kin is not only that it will be usable in many apps, but also that it has a limited supply. A limited supply means that in the long run, there will only ever be a certain number of Kin, and no more. Kin has an algorithmic, digital component that keeps its final supply fixed.

The limited supply means that at first, many Kin tokens will be released in order to grow the ecosystem, but we already know how many will be released, and that number will never be exceeded. Inflation is when something grows, such as the number of tokens. We should never see an inflation of Kin tokens beyond the number of Kin that is already known and set in stone (or in this case, set in code). Because of this, Kin will never experience inflation like the U.S. dollar and other currencies have experienced. This also means that in the long run, as Kin is used by more and more people, its value should grow.

But how will Kin convince so many websites, apps, and games to start using it? The answer to this question lies within Kin’s design. 60% of the Kin tokens that will ever be created will go toward growing Kin’s ecosystem of apps. A small portion of that 60% will go toward marketing Kin to app developers and others, and the rest of that 60% will go directly to the developers and companies who are adding Kin to their apps, games, and services. The system for handing out this free Kin will be automated. The services that bring in the most people that are using Kin the most should receive the largest chunk of free Kin. Free Kin will be given out on a daily basis. To repeat the question, “How will Kin convince companies to add Kin to their apps? The answer is, “With money in the form of Kin tokens.”

Where will I see Kin in the future?

The Kin Foundation, which oversees Kin, has told us where we might see Kin. They believe Kin will be popular in seven different areas. The areas below are from the Kin team, and I’ve added a few example companies in parenthesis that may or may not become partners with Kin. The companies I’ve bolded are already announced partners, but this list only includes a few of the partners that have been announced:

  • E-commerce communities (Wish, OfferUp, Wayfair, eBay, Amazon.com, Jet.com, Walmart.com)
  • Education communities (Duolingo, Udemy, Skillshare, Coursera)
  • Gaming communities (Minecraft, Fortnite, Overwatch, League of Legends, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds)
  • Knowledge sharing communities (Quora, GitHub, Stack Overflow, Answers.com)
  • Messaging communities (SnapChat, Kik, IMVU, WeChat)
  • Social networks (Pinterest, Nearby, LinkedIn, Twitter, SnapChat — again)
  • Virtual goods/content communities (Twitch, Second Life, Imgur, Wikia, Tumblr, CNN, nytimes.com, Forbes.com, Medium, Reddit, MakerBot’s Thingiverse)

Kin is a digital token that tries to bring together many different apps, games, communities, and websites who are all offering Kin within their services. But why?

Here’s the goal that’s driving the Kin Foundation to align the interests of tons of apps and digital services: They’re trying to use the combined economic force of these communities to eliminate ads, increase privacy, and eliminate or lessen these and other annoying things in our mobile and digital worlds.

Alone, most of these companies would struggle to survive, but together, they can thrive. Have you noticed how Facebook’s Instagram copied SnapChat stories, and how Google has bought tons of its competitors? The ecosystem that is being built by the apps that integrate Kin offers an alternative to the two largest firms on the internet: Google and Facebook. By joining forces and using Kin as the interest aligner that pays more cash to the apps that get more people using Kin, apps should no longer need to advertise or hoard user data to make money.

Kin has a welcoming, growing community of over 10,000 people. We’d love for you to join us! You can start by checking out the fairly exhaustive Kin Beginner’s Guide and FAQ (Unofficial) over at Kin’s official page on Reddit.

What is Kin? was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.