Kin Ecosystem Strategy and Roadmap Update

Written by: William Mougayar

August 12, 2021

Over the past few months, we have been working on reshaping a new Kin Foundation with the right resources and priorities to support the growth of our ecosystem. We are now in a good place and starting to hit on all cylinders. Here’s what the team has been up to, and what we are planning to continue working on.

First, a refresher on Kin’s raison d’être.

Let’s unpack this statement along its key components:

Easiest

We will continue making it easy to build with Kin via increased simplicity of our SDK’s. For example, a developer can now start building a typical use case around 5 easy steps that each consist of one line of code: create a key pair, create an account, check the account balance, request an airdrop, submit a payment. The best part is that developers are shielded from blockchain & crypto complexities.

Fastest

We are starting to increase the level of self-service capabilities once a developer hits our website. The objective is to offer a “seamless” workflow where interested developers quickly find the resources they need,- from tutorials, to quick guides, App registrations, getting support, learning from knowledge repositories and best practices, or going in-depth into the reference docs.

Innovative cryptocurrency-based user experiences

Kin will find itself integrated into innovative use cases that augment the user experience. We will be further supporting and incentivizing innovative use cases, and discouraging ones that we call “low efficiency” where, for example, wallet creation activity isn’t so additive to the well-being of the Kin economy.

Shared economic benefits

That’s where the Kin Rewards Engine kicks-in. The KRE is quite unique in the crypto industry when it comes to rewarding developers. Even if the KRE isn’t always perfect, many of its parts are excellent, and we are committed to keep iterating on it.

STRATEGY & PRIORITIES

Taking it from the top, everything we are focused on relates to:

  1. Growing the # of Apps, Developers and Users on Kin
  2. Enhancing the entire developer’s journey to be easy, pleasant and seamless 
  3. Supporting our Community of Advocates
  4. Increasing our Brand’s awareness via the right communications and positioning 
  5. Increasing the liquidity choices for Kin globally
  6. Progressing the decentralization and openness of the Kin Ecosystem

If something is not related to these 6 strategic priorities, we’re probably not doing it. Let’s unpack these.

Focusing on Growth 

Kevin Ricoy is now leading our growth initiatives pertaining to attracting new developers and apps to the Kin Ecosystem. We have equipped him with the tools and services required to start reaching thousands of app developers, getting them familiarized with Kin, and moving them to start exploring creative cryptocurrency-based use cases.

Enhancing the Developers Journey 

In order to support new developers as they encounter Kin, we hired a new Developer Support Manager. Joshua Maddox who is now working on streamlining the Kin Developers Journey at every step of their interactions with Kin technologies and capabilities. Our goal is to make this experience easy, pleasant, and as seamless as possible. 

Supporting Our Community 

The Kin Foundation is proud of the community of supporters around Kin, especially as they manifest their voices and influences across the many online channels, such as Twitter, Reddit, Discord, Blockfolio, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram,- to name a few. If you are reading this, you know who you are. We’d like to start using the word “Advocate” instead of supporters, because it is more descriptive. Advocates are self-motivated supporters who advocate their support of Kin at every opportunity. Advocate marketing can be powerful, effective and far reaching.

Increasing our Brand Awareness

This will be a big area of focus that I’m spearheading with Jesse Cecchetto. We realize that we need to see more significant stories and mentions about Kin in the media. Previously, Kin would be often mentioned in the context of the Kik SEC case, but going forward, we are clearly dissociating from the past. You can expect to see our brand profile rise again, via a strong content marketing agenda. As part of this process, we have recently updated and sharpened our messaging inventory, and we have some strong pitch content angles, in addition to publishing more thought leadership content from our own team.

Diversifying the Liquidity Choices 

For regulatory and compliance reasons, we can’t talk about details here, but suffice to say that the shortcoming in liquidity choices has been a vexing area for us. Again, we are climbing back up the hill and not leaving one stone unturned. Recently, we hired a new person who came from one of the top exchanges, and they will be leading our strategic opportunities in this segment and other partnerships, including across Asia related initiatives.

Increasing the Decentralization and Openness of Kin

Previously, Kik Engineering drove most of the software development of the Kin stack, but going forward, – the Kin Community and the Kin Foundation will work together to develop all Open Source Software in the open. New features that are being worked on will be visible to anyone. External contributions will be encouraged, and there will be RFCs (Request For Comment) for large changes allowing developers to provide feedback. Bram Borggreve has been the architect of this new updated direction, and he has written about this, in two parts: Kin Foundation – Open Source Manifest, and Kin Foundation – Developer Support.

KEY PROJECTS AND INITIATIVES

To support the above objectives and strategies, we are keeping an eye on the following key initiatives that are either already underway or about to get kicked-off. 

Kin Developer Portal 

Spearheaded by Bram Borggreve, the Kin Developer Portal was quietly soft launched a couple of weeks ago. You might have found it if you clicked on “App Registration” via our web pages. Now, instead of landing on a Google Sheet with a 48-hr delay for receiving an API key,  a developer can self-register their App and become instantly part of the AppIndex and eligible for the KRE. There are interesting Stats that we now have visibility into, at the global level (for all Apps), and at the App level. Each App will see how their App is performing across a number of metrics, including their KRE performance, Active User Balances, Monthly Active Users, Daily Spend Transactions, etc. We will write more about where the Developer Portal is going over the next few weeks. I am very excited about where the Kin Developer Portal is going.

New Merged Pages for Developers 

Joshua is working to streamline the developer experience across several pages and web properties (Website, Kintegrate, Docs, Github, etc.). There will be a more unified and consistent user interface with the required jumping points. Here’s a partial sneak preview, and we will reveal more over the next few days.

Data Intelligence

Since the move to Solana, we lost our previous Kin Explorer. The challenge in re-building it has been a limitation on the Solana rate for accounts pagination, due to our large number of wallets. No other token comes close to the total number of Kin wallets. Not even Solana Beach or Solscan could handle the millions of holder counts Kin has. Aside from that issue, we now have Kin stats that are scattered across KRE operations, Kin stats, Developer Portal Stats, and some internally generated accounting spreadsheets. What if there was a “Kin Uber Explorer” that grouped a cross-section of some of the key stats and metrics including the block explorer variety, KRE performance, wallet creations, user activity, etc., all in one place? That’s what we are currently building as a publicly available dashboard that anyone can point to and see at-a-glance the health of the Kin Ecosystem. This will be an important dashboard that I am very excited to see. 

Ledger Standard Derivation Path

MyKinWallet is currently using a custom derivation path in order to interact with Ledger, which was necessary during the Solana migration. We will be encouraging users to move to Solana’s standard path. Will Gikandi has worked on this, and will be deploying this update over the next few days. Using Solana’s standardized path has several advantages including a greater selection of wallet choices, ease of use, and better forward compatibility as a result of keeping with Solana’s latest standards.

KRE Calculator 

Will Gikandi is working on a KRE calculation tool that will allow Apps to forecast / model their KRE rewards based on some input and comparative data. This will help developers to come up with better ways to compete as they grow in Kin’s ecosystem. Healthy competition causes the economy to grow and benefits all stakeholders.

On-chain Voting

On-chain voting is another project that I am also very excited about, and one that we have been wanting to do for several months. As a starting point, we’d love to be able to run surveys and ask the community and developers questions and receive authenticated answers and votes on ideas and issues, somewhat similar to the Trust Wallet Web-based voting App. Ideally, an SPL wallet would connect to a Web page on a given voting proposal and stake their Kin during the voting period. There is a new Solana library called “governance” that will facilitate this implementation, but it is currently undergoing an audit. 

Kin Community Council and Kin Representatives

We would like to reinvigorate the Kin Community Council, and maybe merge it with the older Kin Representatives body. We would like to have more regular interactions with them. Both the KCC and Representatives have been extremely valuable to the community.

Buying Kin

We are currently implementing a Simplex integration that will be visible on the Kin.org website, and have reopened talks with Wyre to discuss back-end integration so that individual Apps can integrate Buy modules at their own discretion. Matt Hannam has been spearheading this work, and we will be communicating more details around these initiatives that will increase Kin’s demand. Please stay tuned, as these two projects are more complicated than they appear to be at first glance, and there are important details to each one of them.

Agora’s Evolution

Bram is working on a proposal to develop what we are calling an “Agora Convenience Layer”, which will enable Agora to be even more general-purpose, and not only limited to binary encoded messages. While the SDKs have been mobile focused, the convenience layer makes it much easier for other platforms to integrate Kin. Bram has been leading this idea, and he will share more details over the next several weeks.

SDK’s Evolution

Our SDK inventory is now quite full, and as noted in the following picture, some of them will be tilting on community support. Open source speeds up development and allows all stakeholders to take ownership and contribute.

KRE’s Evolution

We’d like to continue evolving the KRE. One area of on-going research will be to inject more understanding into the overall economic cause and effect variables on Kin. Greater understanding of the KRE leads to more innovative end user experiences.

Back-end Infrastructure 

There’s a lot behind the scenes in terms of back-end infrastructure. Without disclosing details for security reasons, we are working on streamlining and lowering the cost of our technical support infrastructure, which includes running Solana nodes and KRE data.

Kin Foundation’s Board of Directors

We would like to expand the Board, in particular, would love to see a woman (or two) become a part of it. We are currently scouting. If you’re out there and you possess suitable experience and insight to be a Board Member at the highest level of the Kin Foundation, or know someone who’s out there, please refer them to me.

Organizational Growth

As you have probably gathered from reading this post, we have quietly grown the team. We are now 9, going on 10:

  • Kevin Ricoy, Growth & Biz Dev 
  • Jesse Cecchetto, Marketing Communications
  • Joshua Maddox, Developer Support & Advocacy
  • Sam Dowd, Mobile SDKs (part-time)
  • Bram Borgrevve, Senior Technical Advisor & Special Projects
  • Will Gikandi, CTO and KRE/Data Operations
  • Matt Hannam, Acting Executive Director (part-time)
  • New Person, Strategic Partnerships and Asia (name to be announced later)
  • To be hired, Back-end Developer (we’re actively looking)
  • (note that Kevin still retains online community relations, but will gradually move this responsibility to Jesse)

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Much of what’s revealed in this blog post isn’t a set of promises. Rather, they are real initiatives which are already underway at various stages of completion targets. It might still take at least 3-6 months to complete the bulk of this work. 

The purpose and benefit of publishing this document is that, if you’re involved with Kin, you will be even more aligned with our priorities and direction. 

If you are a regular Kin community member, or have specific expertise in some areas, reach out to us. For example, and just to name a few areas, if you have figured a way to handle Solana RPC pagination, or if you are a UI genius that can offer some UI design help for the Kin Uber Dashboard, or front-end coding its responsiveness, or if you are a back-end developer with Go experience, or if you have already kicked the tires on the Solana governance library, contact us and we’d love to discuss how you can contribute.

In closing, I would like to give a special and warm shoutout to all the ardent Kin Community Advocates, and the app developers in the Kin Ecosystem. You have been by Kin’s side for years, in good times and tough times. Kin wouldn’t be where it is today, without your advocacy, beliefs and contributions.

While we have our hands full, we know that our ecosystem is empowered. Our focus is going to be unrelenting, as we power forward to an even better future.

As always, we welcome feedback. 


About Kin

Kin is a decentralized cryptocurrency purposely designed to integrate easily across Mobile and Web Apps, with a built-in incentive model that rewards developers for increased usage. Apps built with Kin get paid for creating compelling cryptocurrency-based user experiences, where greater engagement results in shared economic benefits for users and developers. Today, the Kin ecosystem boasts 60 million wallets, and has distributed over $70M in rewards across 60+ apps since its inception in 2017. Kin is an SPL token on the Solana blockchain, enabling consumer-scale apps to transact swiftly, with minimal-to-no fees. Learn more at Kin.org.

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