In Drunken Text, Kik CEO Threatens to Quit: ‘I’m Not Going to Jail for This’


Kik CEO Ted Livingston appears to be close to quitting the social messaging startup he founded in 2009 following news Monday that the app is shutting down.

In a misdirected message sent seemingly under the influence of alcohol, Livingston said he intends to leave the project, citing fears about its ongoing battles with U.S. regulators.

“Will, I know I’ve been drinking, but this ain’t the drink talking, I’m [fed] up with this shit,” he wrote.

The planned recipient of Livingston’s message is unclear, although in the text it’s suggested to be Kik board member William Mougayar. Mougayar could not be reached for comment.

“We’ll talk more in the morning about replacement, but i quit,” he said, adding:

“I have my ticket. I’m not going to jail for this.”

Livingston deleted the message after it was received by this reporter, who is also named Will. When asked to clarify his comments, Livingston replied “no comment.”

Livingston appeared to suggest there is ongoing talk as to who would continue operations following his departure.

The latest message shows a glaring division between Kik’s public language regarding the case and the palpable behind-the-scenes concern.

The Ontario-based Kik has been in a protracted battle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the company’s $100 million initial coin offering (ICO) in 2017. Claiming that dealing with the SEC had cost the company $5 million, Kik mounted a “Defend Crypto” crowdfunding campaign in May 2019 that garnered support from a handful of key players. However, a damning SEC complaint filed in June painted the company’s ICO as a last-ditch effort by Kik to stay afloat.

Earlier Monday, Kik announced the regulatory proceedings had taken their toll on the company and that its flagship messaging service would be shut down. Livingston announced that Kik plans to downsize to 19 core developers to continue the development of Kik’s native token, KIN.

Kik CEO Ted Livingston image via YouTube/Kin Ecosystem Foundation

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