Kik Founder Plots a Rebel Alliance Against Facebook’s ‘Death Star’


Ted Livingston knows what it’s like to be copied by Facebook. After his messaging app, Kik, launched profile codes in 2016, Facebook’s Messenger app did the same. Kik launched chatbots, and Facebook Messenger soon followed. Same goes for features like stickers and usernames. But unlike some startups that Facebook has copied out of existence or bought and shut down, Livingston has managed to keep his company alive and independent.

Over the years, Kik has dodged Facebook’s competition with esoteric offerings like “chatvertising” and a TV remote control app; it has even raised money from Facebook’s Chinese rival Tencent. In its latest twist, Kik did what many struggling startups are doing: It pivoted to crypto. Livingston took an interest in cryptocurrency years ago. In September, Kik debuted its own cryptocurrency called kin, raising $98 million in an initial coin offering.

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