The highest profile ICOs from a consumer internet company to date has come to a close after messaging app Kik raised nearly $100 million from its token sale.
The exact amount is 168,732 ETH — around $47.5 million based on today’s $282 ETH price — came from over 10,000 backers. Combined with $50 million raised in a pre-sale for institutional investors the grand total is around $97.5 million.
The Canada-based startup initially planned to raise as much as $125 million from backers, but it elected for a sale system that imposed a purchase cap on buyers of its ‘Kin’ token. Although unclaimed tokens were resold, it was never likely to sell out to the full amount. Added to that, Kik opted to prevent Canada-based individuals from taking part after regulators deemed its token to be a security, which didn’t help its cause.
Still though CEO Ted Livingston said the sale was a success.
“We are really excited,” he told TechCrunch. “If you had told me back in January that we would sell $100 million of a new cryptocurrency in September, I wouldn’t have believed you.”
ICOs, also known as token sales, are a wild west right. Companies have used them to raise over $1.7 billion this year but investors are concerned at the potential for scams and less legitimate offerings. Speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt last week, Pantera Capital’s Dan Morehead — whose firm runs a $100 million fund dedicated to ICOs — cautioned that the space is even more speculative than the dot-com era, with more than 60 token sales happening each week.
At nearly 10 years old, and with 15 million monthly users and a valuation of more than $1 billion, Kik stands out as the highest profile ICO company to date — but the token sale itself is also notable because Kik chose against additional VC financing.
The goal is audacious. Livingston previously explained in some detail that the aim is to develop a decentralized ecosystem that is not reliant on revenue from advertising or e-commerce. Instead, developers earn Kin tokens based on interactivity and attention from users, the idea then being that they develop Kik apps and bots that focus only on the user experience.
As I wrote earlier this month, it is likely to be a case study for how consumer internet companies can embrace the blockchain regardless of the success of the project. With the money now banked, Kik needs to get to work and make good on its vision.