“Almost Nobody Should Be Looking at Blockchain,” Says Kik CEO Ted Livingston

Jordana Sacks
  • The CEO behind the KIN cryptocurrency has warned that blockchain isn’t for everyone.
  • Ted Livingston, chief executive at Kik, has shared a remarkably pessimistic view on the technology for a man who used it to raise almost $100 million.

Kik CEO Ted Livingston has gone on the record to warn investors about the dangers of blockchain technology, taking a remarkably pessimistic stance for the leader of a project that last year raised nearly $100 million.

Speaking on the topic, he said

“Almost nobody should be looking at blockchain. Unless you’re trying to build one of the most used cryptocurrencies in the world, it’s very low odds that blockchain is going to create value for you.”

Ted Livingston

Livingston was sharing his views on the subject at the True North tech conference in Waterloo, where he dismissed the technology as having limited application for anything other than digital currencies.

Pointing out the lack of trust that often exists between the strangers who transact with each other, he said:

“What does blockchain do at the end of the day? It allows you to have a database that’s trustless. That can be applied in a bunch of ways, but most of those ways, you still need trust.”

Ted Livingston

Irrespective of this pessimism, Livingston did acknowledge the enormous incentive created by the money involved in crypto, pointing out that “the ‘bitcoin computer’ is 100,000 times more powerful than the top 500 supercomputers in the world combined.”

Although this ‘bitcoin computer’ doesn’t itself exist, Livingston recognized that the incentive structure it creates could be used for more than solving math problems, referring to the mining process that secures cryptocurrencies’ networks.

It was this idea that drove his desire to create he Kin cryptocurrency in the first place, which he envisaged as a way for users of Kik to pay developers who create new features.

Despite raising nearly $100 million through an initial coin offering (ICO), Kik ran into numerous problems with the technology, which necessitated a return to the drawing board for those involved in the project.

However, this doesn’t mean the company has abandoned blockchain entirely. Having already set aside three trillion KIN tokens for themselves, they aim to launch their own blockchain, a hybrid of Ethereum and Stellar, as soon as possible, with Livingston explaining:

“We were playing an impossible game. You know, we were trying to deliver software to consumers, and in doing that we needed to make money to sustain ourselves. But we’re playing against monopolies – Facebook and Google.”

Ted Livingston

Featured image from Max Pixel

Blockchain Is Well-Positioned to Help the Unbanked, OKEx Executive Says

Lennix Lai, OKEx’s Financial Markets Director, has recently made two presentations in Davos, where the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting is taking place, to spread the word about blockchain technology.

In his two presentations – made at the Russia House 2020 and EmTech Investment Meeting 2020 events – Lai argued that even though there are highly developed countries throughout the world, over 2 billion people are still being excluded from the traditional financial services over the operational costs associated with setting up branches in underdeveloped areas.

Lai noted that “unbankedness” is one of the “biggest hurdles in human wellbeing” and a great opportunity for the blockchain and fintech sector to make a difference in the world by helping those left behind by the traditional financial sector get access to financial services that could boost their living standards. At Russia House 2020, Lai said:

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies appear to be a solution to the problem by providing a digital, decentralized financial system that can work mutually-beneficially with traditional markets to substantially lower the operational costs and serve the areas traditional banking cannot cover.

Lai added that OKEx is committed to “bringing a robust and trustable environment to cater to crypto users.” The cryptocurrency exchange, he added at the EmTech Investment Meeting 2020 talk, sees global regulators a start endorsing the space in the future, and the volatility of BTC dropping.

This would make the flagship cryptocurrency a favorable alternative asset for mainstream finance. He also mentioned the growing decentralized finance space, which “reflects that people are starting to brace a free, open, permission-less financial system.”

The options, futures and spot markets OKEx offers, Lai said, let cryptocurrency users manage the price fluctuations in the space, and 2020 will see the exchange continue its efforts on stablecoins, its OKEx wallet, and derivatives products.

He concluded his presentation at the EmTech Investment Meeting 2020 saying OKEx believes “blockchain can achieve an inclusive sustainable development as well as financial inclusion for all, banked and unbanked.”

Featured image via Unsplash.