Ted Livingston, the CEO of messaging platform Kik and creator of the Kin Foundation cryptocurrency, has forced a retraction from CoinDesk after they fell for a hoax involving supposed drunken messages sent by Livingston where he claimed he wanted to quit. Livingston, who announced on Tuesday that he was shutting down Kik to free up funds to fight the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s case against Kin, stated that he was on a plane when the messages were sent and wondered how CoinDesk “could make such an obvious mistake” in thinking they were genuine.
I just landed in Washington. I took off from Tel Aviv 12 hours ago. This is obviously fabricated. I’m not sure how CoinDesk could make such an obvious mistake, but we’ll find out https://t.co/SjL9wMVGkp
— Ted Livingston (@ted_livingston) September 24, 2019
CoinDesk Jumps the Gun
CoinDesk reported late on Monday that Livingston had, under the influence of alcohol, got the name of one of their reporters confused with that of a Kik board member and sent the reporter a series of messages on Telegram in which Livingston admitted to being “[fed] up with this shit”, followed by a desire to quit, adding that, “I have my ticket. I’m not going to jail for this.” This would have been in direct contrast to Livingston’s blog post regarding the SEC issue that he has resolved to fight for months, sacrificing the existence of the Kik platform to do so. Livingston, who was flying from Tel Aviv to Washington as the story broke, stated when he landed that the texts were “obviously fabricated” and questioned why CoinDesk ran with it.
Telegram Hoax Revealed
CoinDesk retracted the story and apologized once they realized their error (rather than waiting for Livingston to land and ask him first before publishing), stating that they had been “the apparent victim of a Telegram hoax”, discovering after the fact that the CEO was in the air with no Wi-Fi at the time when they believed they were speaking with him. Instead, the hoaxers created a Telegram profile that resembled that of Livingston’s and fooled the reporter into thinking it was Livingston himself. Reactions to CoinDesk’s actions weren’t kind on the publication, with one user asking them to “please research before publishing rubbish.” Given that Livingston was mid-flight when he was supposed to be spilling his innermost secrets, Winston Churchill’s famous quote that “A lie gets halfway around the world before truth puts on its boots” has never been more fitting.