Kik Sacrificed as CEO Fights Kin Lawsuit

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Kik Interactive CEO Ted Livingston, whose cryptocurrency Kin is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), announced today that the Kik Messenger platform will be shut down in order to focus on the cryptocurrency side. The operation will be reduced from over 100 people to just 19, with the individuals being let go receiving layoff notices on Monday, while the remaining team focuses on converting more Kin users into buyers and fighting the SEC case.

Livingston Accused SEC of Underhand Tactics

Kin was the first ICO offered by a mainstream tech company, but was hit with a charge of “conducting an illegal $100 million securities offering of digital tokens” by the SEC in early June. Unlike many in his position, Livingston deliberately sought a date in court with the SEC in order to finally set some guidelines once and for all as to what can and cannot be considered a security in the cryptocurrency space, which has notoriously vague guidelines at present. In a blog post announcing the move, Livingston admits that he and his team “underestimated the tactics they (the SEC) would employ”, which he says have included taking the company’s quotes out of context, pressuring exchanges not to list Kin, and purposefully drawing out proceedings in order to “drain our resources.” Rather than selling the company’s batch of Kin tokens to fund the case however, Livingston has chosen to kill the messaging platform to free up funds for the fight ahead.

The Battle Hots Up

Livingston adds in the blog post that his main priority now is “converting Kin users into Kin buyers” using the “elite 19 person team” he has left. The massive reduction will allow the Kin Foundation to drop their burn rate by 85%, putting them in a position to “get through the SEC trial with the resources we have.” Admitting that the SEC currently has the power to push Kin itself around, Livingston states that “taking on the broader Kin Ecosystem will be a much bigger fight.” The SEC isn’t usually one to skirt a fight, meaning that this battle could be a long and bloody affair.