$70 Million So Far: Kik ICO Kicks Off to Small Scams and Big Demand

Mainstream ICOs may have finally arrived.

The much anticipated token sale for social messaging giant Kik, which is today offering buyers the chance to purchase tokens that will power future apps on its platform, launched at 9 a.m. EST, drawing upwards of $70 million in its first few hours.

Data from the ethereum blockchain indicates Kik has so far raised more than 3.2 million ether (worth about $71 million at press time) in upwards of 8,000 transactions (not all of which have confirmed) through 12 p.m. EST. More than 17,000 buyers have registered to participate in the sale, which will be conducted in two parts.

In total, Kik is looking to raise a total of $125 million through the ICO, though it’s already raised $50 million from the private sale of its token, called Kin, to institutional investors.

Going forward, the remaining tokens are to be sold in two parts: today’s sale allows investors to purchase up to 15.2 ETH in Kin tokens, with any remaining tokens to be sold tomorrow should that limit not be reached.

While a notable total, the preliminary figures suggest Kik is performing comparably to other major ICOs focused more on die-hard technology users. For example, a token sale for the prediction market gnosis raised $12.5 million in 15 minutes in April, while a sale for tokens powering the distributed filecoin network raised more than $100 million in its first hour last month.

In response to requests for comment, Kik declined to confirm the amount it has so far raised, stating its final fundraising totals will be posted on its website tomorrow.

Still, the Kik fundraising should help push up the total earned by ICOs to date. All time, more than $1.8 billion has now been raised via the funding method, according to data from the CoinDesk ICO Tracker.

That’s not to say there weren’t issues with the sale.

Prior to the launch, a fake URL was distributed on social media boasting the ICO had begun 40 minutes prior to the official launch. That malicious address has since acquired 70.9 ether ($21,656.82), and some donations to the scam site were quite substantial, with payments of up to 5 ether ($1,527.20) sent earlier today.

Phishing scams and other malicious schemes are popping up frequently surrounding the investment schemes. Last month, ICO scammers stole $500,000 in ether from supporters of the Enigma blockchain project following a security compromise.

Further, there were some issues reported when an audit was published by smart contracts security firm Zeppelin Solutions yesterday that found issues with Kik’s code.

Zeppelin Solutions published its full review complete with errors, comments and corrections, and some took to Twitter to declare their outrage. There, blockchain researcher Udi Wertheimer went so far as to assert that it was “unbelievable” that Kik had not fixed the issues prior to the sale.

The reaction may be more understandable given the sale is one of the most widely anticipated due to the familiarity of the Kik brand.

Responding to an enquiry from Wertheimer, Zeppelin Solutions CTO Manuel Araoz acknowledged that the ICO might have benefitted from a longer development timeframe, saying: “We were hired to audit the smart contract, not the project schedule.”

However, he suggested that such issues simply come with the territory in a fast-moving industry.

“I personally do think it was a little bit rushed, but most sales are,” he said.

Scammer hand via Shutterstock

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