Kik, the controversial social media app popular among teens, will shut down, its CEO said late Monday.
The Canada-based social network — once valued at $1 billion — ultimately became notorious as a destination for child exploitation. As investigation., 13-year-old Nicole Lovell was murdered in 2016 by a man she met over the app. The chat tool was also linked to more than 1,000 child sexual abuse cases in the U.K., according to a BBC
Kik CEO Ted Livingston made no reference to the app's safety concerns, only saying the app was pulling the plug following a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into the company's cryptocurrency, called Kin.
The SEC in June charged Kin over its initial coin offering, which raised $100 million, for not registering with the federal agency. It said Kin coins are securities, while Livingston argued that "becoming a security would kill the usability of any cryptocurrency and set a dangerous precedent for the industry."
Kik's closure will allow the company to refocus on Kin, launched in 2017, Livingston said in a post on Medium.com. The business will also reduce its staff of about 100 to "an elite 19 person team," he said.
"After 18 months of working with the SEC the only choice they gave us was to either label Kin a security or fight them in court," Livingston said, citing the burdens of "a long and expensive process to drain our resources."