With the launch of its own virtual currency, the company aims to build an open and sustainable ecosystem of digital services to compete with established giants.

Canadian messaging platform Kik has announced that it is going to introduce its own digital currency via an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Called Kin, the tokens can be used by the users of the app to acquire digital services on the platform. Besides, they can be converted to cash via the digital currency exchange.

Currently, the chat app serves more than 15 million users each month, most of which are teenagers in North America. Since its launch in 2009, Kik has raised $120 million in venture capital funding from a range of investors, including China’s Tencent Holdings.

It is not the first time the platform issues its own tokens. It previously experimented with a cryptocurrency Kik Points which let users earn points by watching ads. The points could then be used to buy digital items, like emoji and stickers.

The new currency will enable people to take part in an economy by purchasing and selling stickers, hosting and joining group chats, creating bots, and other.

According to Ted Livingston, the CEO of Kik, the company is committed to create a decentralized ecosystem of digital services that will compete with large companies controlling the digital services everyone uses and eliminating consumer choice.

“We believe that a broad group of participants can come together to create an open ecosystem of tools for digital communication and commerce that prioritizes consumer experience,” Livingston said in a white paper.

“As a key player in the chat space, we are compelled to lead the change required to bring a fair and user-oriented model for digital services to the market.”

It’s clear that Livingston refers to Facebook when speaking about huge companies. It is the world’s biggest social network platform managing two largest messaging apps, WhatsApp and Messenger.

Kik is also going to introduce rewards system that will incentivize developers by compensating their efforts. Each day, the Kin Rewards Engine will spread a certain amount of tokens among all the services in the ecosystem. While the daily reward will increase, more creators will join the ecosystem, Kin will grow in price with increasing number of transactions, and as a result the daily reward will be higher.

ICO is becoming a popular type of fundraising, especially in view of the growing prices of main digital currencies. Such prominent investor as Tim Draper became the first high-profile venture capitalist to participate in the ICO.

Earlier this month, Aragon completed its crowdsale in the first fifteen minutes, raising in total $25 million. Blockchain crowdsales solution Cryptonomos has announced a token crowdsale that will provide access to the capacities of cryptocurrency mining facility Giga Watt. Meantime, Boost VC has recently unveiled its desire to invest directly into ICOs.

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