The Kin project, launched by the developers of cross platform messaging app Kik, has announced that it will be completely moving away from the Ethereum blockchain in favor of Stellar.
In a blog post released November 14, 2018, the project’s Blockchain Team Lead Gadi Srebnik wrote, “Apps are coming online with thousands of consumers earning and spending Kin every day. To continue to accelerate this growth we are moving Kin off the Ethereum Blockchain and going all in on the Kin Blockchain.”
Moving the goalposts
Kin was first launched on the Ethereum blockchain as an ERC20 token after a rather successful initial coin offering (ICO). In December 2017, however, Kik Messenger CEO Ted Livingston criticized Ethereum for being unreliable and called it “dial-up era of blockchain.”
Notably, at the time of this statement, the dApp platform was experiencing unforeseen network congestion similar to Bitcoin due to increased transactional load. Transaction fees on the Ethereum network surged from a few cents to several dollars, especially after the CryptoKitties collectible game begain gaining universal popularity.
While Ethereum transaction fees have since receded and its developers have since made notable progress towards the platform’s next major scalability update, Kin announced a planned migration to the Stellar blockchain sometime in 2018.
Given that the Stellar’s platform is firmly built around a payments model, its primary advantages include scalability, transaction speed, low cost, and energy efficiency. In contrast to Ethereum, which processes a mere seven to 15 transactions per second, the Stellar network claims to be capable of confirming over 1,000 per second.
However, Kin changed course once again in March 2018 and decided to co-exist on both platforms, Ethereum and Stellar. The official announcement read:
“While Ethereum provides liquidity for Kin holders, its load times and fees can’t support our needs for day-to-day consumer use. The addition of Stellar as a second blockchain will allow us to operate the Kin Ecosystem on a faster, more efficient foundation, with low transaction fees — which is necessary for us to achieve the speed and scalability that digital services in the ecosystem will require.”
By May 2018, the limitations of a dual blockchain design started to become apparent to Kin’s developers. In a blog post published May 8, they announced their belief that building a custom blockchain would be the best course of action. Kin VP Netanel Lev explained that since current generation blockchains were incapable of scaling to a sufficient degree, a new one had to be created and tailored specifically. The result turned out to be a feeless fork of the Stellar blockchain, called the Kin Blockchain.
The “Kin Blockchain”
According to Kin’s Gadi Srebnik, “The Kin Blockchain is a federated, decentralized blockchain based on the Stellar protocol, on which Kin will be bought, sold, earned, and spent.” Going forward, it will also be the only source of Kin tokens.
In other words, Kin tokens on the Ethereum blockchain will slowly be phased out. Srebnik believes this approach eliminates the unnecessary complexity of atomic swaps and does not force a user to pick a particular blockchain when getting started with Kin.
While technical details of the migration process have not been revealed yet, users that currently hold Kin tokens on the Ethereum blockchain will reportedly be presented with “an easy way” to migrate to the Kin Blockchain. Apps built on Kin infrastructure will continue to work as they do today with no additional development work necessary.
Nevertheless, with Kin’s blockchain, the platform’s developers may have finally met their elusive requirement of a scalable chain.