Facebook unveiled its Libra cryptocurrency initiative today, which is part of an alternative financial system (including new subsidiary and wallet Calibra) it aims to build alongside industry and academic partners including Mastercard, PayPal, Visa, Uber, Andreessen Horowitz and Creative Destruction Lab. Facebook’s plans for Libra sound ambitious, risky and novel — but a predecessor exists that can shed light on some of the company’s motivations, and possibly the shape it wants the project to ultimately take.
I’m talking about Kik’s Kin, the other cryptocurrency created by a social network. Kin is likely most well-known for being the subject of a current SEC lawsuit, which specifically targets the initial coin offering (ICO) Kik ran in 2017 around the currency to generate capital. The SEC filed suit earlier this year, claiming that the $100 million offering was illegal because it was not registered with the agency.