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Kivo: A New Social Experience in Solana

By Cove

Published on 2023-09-21

Discover how Kivo is transforming the crypto experience with its innovative social trading platform built on Solana, designed to make buying, selling, and staking cryptocurrencies more accessible and fun for retail users.

The notes below are AI generated and may not be 100% accurate. Watch the video to be sure!

Kivo: Revolutionizing Social Crypto Trading on Solana

In the ever-evolving world of cryptocurrency, social applications are having a moment, and Solana is proving to be an excellent foundation for building these innovative platforms. Enter Kivo, an exciting new social project on Solana that aims to transform the way we interact with crypto. In this in-depth exploration, we'll dive into the world of Kivo, examining its features, potential impact, and the vision behind this groundbreaking application.

What is Kivo?

Kivo is a social trading platform built on Solana that aims to make the experience of buying and selling cryptocurrencies more social and accessible. At its core, Kivo allows users to create groups of up to 10 people where they can collaborate on crypto trades, engage in DeFi activities like staking, and learn from each other in a fun, interactive environment.

Connor, one of Kivo's co-founders, explains the concept: "We really just want to make the experience of buying and selling crypto more social, but we also want to facilitate onboarding crypto as well as new friends." This approach addresses a key issue in the crypto space - the complexity and isolation that often comes with navigating the world of digital assets.

The Product-Driven Approach

One of the most striking aspects of Kivo's development is its strong emphasis on a product-driven approach. The team is focused on creating a user experience that is intuitive and enjoyable, rather than getting bogged down in technical complexities that might alienate new users.

Frank, another co-founder, elaborates on this philosophy: "We're really trying to bridge the gap here. The level of on-chain sophistication on CT (Crypto Twitter) is just magnitudes greater than what we find with retail. So we're really trying to bridge the gap here."

This focus on user experience is evident in the design of the platform. Kivo features a chat interface, allowing users to communicate and propose trades easily. A central pie chart displays the group members and their decisions, creating a visual representation of the group's activities.

Kivo Groups: The Heart of the Platform

At the center of Kivo's functionality are Kivo groups. These are small, intimate groups of up to 10 people where users can collaborate on crypto activities. The idea is to create a space where friends can come together to explore the crypto world, share knowledge, and make decisions collectively.

Within these groups, users can propose trades, discuss strategies, and even engage in more complex DeFi behaviors like staking. The platform is designed to make these activities more accessible to retail users who might be intimidated by the complexity of traditional crypto platforms.

Simplifying Complex DeFi Behaviors

One of Kivo's key features is its ability to simplify complex DeFi behaviors. For example, the platform includes a "group staking mode," represented by an ice cube icon in the interface. This feature abstracts away the complexities of staking, making it easy for users who may not be familiar with concepts like Liquid Staking Tokens (LSTs).

Connor explains: "The ice cube is representative of the group staking mode, which really abstracts away the staking process and makes it easy for people who may not know a lot about crypto, may not know a lot about what staking is, what LSTs are, things of that nature, to invest into whatever the highest yielding LST at the time is."

The Social Aspect of Crypto Trading

Kivo's approach to crypto trading is inherently social. The platform can be likened to "partying up" for a video game, except in this case, the game is crypto trading. Users can ask questions, check if strategies are good or bad ideas, and learn from more experienced members of their group.

This social aspect is crucial, especially for newcomers to the crypto space. As Frank points out, "Your average retail participant is still fearful of crypto, is still scared of the ecosystem. And I would say that might be for good reason because it is daunting, right? The learning curve is steep, for sure."

By creating a more social, collaborative environment, Kivo aims to make the crypto experience less intimidating and more enjoyable for retail users.

Transparency and Privacy

While Kivo operates on the blockchain, ensuring a level of transparency, the platform balances this with privacy considerations. Within a group, the amounts that users purchase into positions are transparent, but individual returns are not displayed.

Frank explains the reasoning behind this: "Because the way we see it right now, especially with the limit of 10 people to a group, is that it's a rather intimate experience, right? You're probably only going to be in a group with people that you know and you know well."

This approach creates an environment of trust within the group while still maintaining a level of privacy for individual users.

The Risks and Rewards of Social Trading

Mixing money with friendships can be a delicate balance, and Kivo acknowledges this potential risk. However, the team points out that this kind of social interaction around crypto investments is already happening informally. Kivo aims to provide a structured, safer environment for these interactions.

Moreover, the platform is designed to help users navigate the often treacherous waters of the crypto world. As Connor points out, "It's a very scary world when you're starting in crypto and how many pitfalls there are just waiting for you to make this slight mistake."

By creating a group environment where users can learn from each other and make collective decisions, Kivo aims to reduce the risks associated with individual, uninformed decision-making in the crypto space.

Non-Custodial and User-Friendly

It's important to note that Kivo is a non-custodial platform. This means that at no point does Kivo have control over any assets stored within the group or within users' wallets. This aligns with the crypto ethos of giving users full control over their assets.

Initially, Kivo will use a "bring your own wallet" model, where users connect their existing crypto wallets to the platform. However, the team has plans to implement account abstraction in the future, allowing users to log in with their Twitter accounts and abstract away the complexities of wallet management.

Future Features and Developments

While Kivo is starting with basic functionalities like group buying and selling of cryptocurrencies and staking, the team has ambitious plans for future developments. They're exploring a wide variety of use cases for groups, aiming to expand on their initial offerings to "enable people to harness the full power of what an experienced user can do in crypto within their group."

Some potential future features that were discussed include:

  1. Dollar-Cost Averaging (DCA): The team is considering implementing DCA functionality within the chat interface.

  2. Cross-Chain Liquidity: Kivo plans to employ account abstraction to attract cross-chain liquidity, making it easier for users to interact with multiple blockchain networks.

  3. Mobile-First Approach: The team is prioritizing the development of a Progressive Web App (PWA) to capture the mobile market, recognizing the importance of mobile accessibility in driving adoption.

  4. Expanding Group Sizes: While currently limited to 10 users per group, the team is exploring mechanisms to allow for larger groups of 25, 30, or even 50 people.

Why Solana?

Kivo's decision to build on Solana is rooted in the network's technical capabilities. Frank explains: "From a purely technical standpoint, I think Solana is the thing to build this on. Because things happen quickly, nearly instantly, and things are really very cheap."

This speed and cost-effectiveness are crucial for a social app targeting retail users. The near-instant transaction confirmations and low fees on Solana eliminate the friction of waiting for transactions to confirm or paying high gas fees, which can be prohibitive for average consumers.

The Timing of Social Crypto Apps

The Kivo team believes that now is the perfect time for social crypto apps. With traditional crypto sectors like NFTs and DeFi struggling, social apps have the potential to bring people together and remind them of the fun and excitement that crypto can offer.

Frank reflects on this: "I think that with social, the opportunity to bring people together and to be able to allow them to have fun together and remind them of how much fun crypto really can be... I think this is a big time for social, right?"

Onboarding New Users

One of Kivo's primary goals is to make it easier for new users to enter the crypto space. The team is exploring partnerships with fiat on-ramp providers to allow users to make credit card purchases of crypto directly within the app.

This focus on reducing friction for new users is a crucial part of Kivo's strategy to grow the crypto ecosystem. By making it easier for people to get started with crypto, Kivo hopes to play a role in bringing the next wave of users into the space.

The Future of Kivo

Looking ahead, the Kivo team has ambitious plans for the platform. They're not just focusing on the current crypto market but are thinking about how to make Kivo relevant in various market conditions.

Connor mentions: "We'd like our platform to be relevant regardless of the current volatility or price action. So that's something we're trying to design as well. So how can we build something that's not just in a base drowns, bearish or bullish markets?"

This long-term thinking extends to potentially expanding beyond crypto. The team is considering the possibility of tracking derivatives for traditional securities and stocks in the future, aiming to create a platform that caters to speculators in various markets.

Kivo NFTs and Beta Access

As part of their launch strategy, Kivo is offering NFTs that will serve as passes into their gated beta. These "Kin NFTs" will be airdropped to randomly selected wallets from their waitlist, ensuring a small, focused group of users for the initial beta testing.

This approach allows Kivo to gather quick feedback and iterate rapidly, refining the product before a wider public launch. It's a smart strategy that balances the need for thorough testing with the excitement of an NFT drop, engaging the community from the very beginning.

The Broader Impact on Crypto Adoption

Platforms like Kivo have the potential to play a significant role in driving crypto adoption. By making the crypto experience more social, intuitive, and less intimidating, they can help bridge the gap between the crypto-savvy and those who are curious but hesitant to dive in.

Connor reflects on this potential impact: "I think people are really underestimating the power of social to and traditional platforms for that matter that are human oriented and designed for people to really facilitate onboarding the next X amount of users to crypto."

Challenges and Considerations

While the potential of Kivo is exciting, it's important to acknowledge the challenges and considerations that come with such a platform. The team is aware of the risks associated with mixing money and friendships and is designing the platform with these considerations in mind.

Additionally, as with any crypto platform, security and user protection are paramount. The non-custodial nature of Kivo is a step in the right direction, but the team will need to remain vigilant in ensuring the platform remains safe and secure as it grows.

The Role of Education in Kivo

Education plays a crucial role in Kivo's mission. By creating an environment where users can learn from each other and experience crypto in a more guided, social setting, Kivo has the potential to be a powerful educational tool.

This educational aspect is particularly important given the complexities and risks associated with crypto. As Connor points out, "It's a very scary world when you're starting in crypto and how many pitfalls there are just waiting for you to make this slight mistake."

By fostering a community of learning and shared experience, Kivo can help new users navigate these potential pitfalls more safely.

Kivo's Revenue Model

While the focus is currently on building a great product and user experience, the Kivo team has given thought to their revenue model. They're considering taking a small fee (around 1%) on certain specialized transaction types within the platform.

Importantly, they emphasize that these fees would be small enough to be almost unnoticeable to users, ensuring that the platform remains accessible and attractive to retail users.

The Importance of User Feedback

A key aspect of Kivo's development strategy is their emphasis on user feedback. The team plans to release a beta version in mid to late September and closely observe how users interact with the platform.

This user-centric approach aligns with their product-driven philosophy. By actively seeking and incorporating user feedback, Kivo aims to create a platform that truly meets the needs and desires of its user base.

Kivo in the Context of the Broader Crypto Ecosystem

Kivo's approach to social trading and crypto education places it in an interesting position within the broader crypto ecosystem. While many projects focus on technical innovations or financial products, Kivo is zeroing in on the human aspect of crypto - how people interact with it, learn about it, and share it with others.

This focus on the social and educational aspects of crypto could play a crucial role in bridging the gap between the crypto-native world and mainstream adoption. By making crypto more accessible and less intimidating, platforms like Kivo have the potential to bring in a new wave of users who might otherwise have been deterred by the complexity of the space.

The Potential Impact on Crypto Culture

Beyond its immediate functionalities, Kivo has the potential to influence crypto culture more broadly. By encouraging collaborative decision-making and shared learning, it could foster a more supportive and less intimidating environment for crypto newcomers.

This shift could be significant. The crypto space has often been characterized by its steep learning curve and sometimes intimidating jargon. By creating a more welcoming, social environment, Kivo and similar platforms could help change this perception and make crypto more approachable to a wider audience.

Conclusion: The Future of Social Crypto Trading

As we look to the future of crypto, it's clear that social elements will play an increasingly important role. Platforms like Kivo, which combine the technical capabilities of networks like Solana with intuitive, social-focused interfaces, are poised to drive the next wave of crypto adoption.

By making crypto more accessible, more social, and more fun, Kivo has the potential to bring new users into the space and help them navigate the complex world of digital assets. As the platform develops and grows, it will be exciting to see how it shapes the future of social crypto trading and contributes to the broader evolution of the crypto ecosystem.

In a space that's often focused on technical innovations and complex financial products, Kivo's emphasis on the human element of crypto is refreshing and potentially transformative. As we move forward, it's platforms like these that could play a crucial role in bringing crypto to the masses and realizing the technology's full potential.

Facts + Figures

  • Kivo is a new social trading platform built on Solana
  • The platform allows users to create groups of up to 10 people for collaborative crypto trading
  • Kivo aims to make complex DeFi behaviors like staking more accessible to retail users
  • The platform features a chat interface and a central pie chart displaying group members and their decisions
  • Kivo is non-custodial, meaning it never has control over users' assets
  • The team plans to implement account abstraction in the future, allowing users to log in with their Twitter accounts
  • Kivo is considering taking a small fee (around 1%) on certain specialized transaction types as part of their revenue model
  • The team plans to release a beta version in mid to late September 2023
  • Kivo is offering NFTs that will serve as passes into their gated beta
  • The platform is designed to be relevant in various market conditions, not just during bull or bear markets
  • Kivo is exploring partnerships with fiat on-ramp providers to allow users to make credit card purchases of crypto directly within the app
  • The team is prioritizing the development of a Progressive Web App (PWA) to capture the mobile market
  • Kivo chose to build on Solana due to its speed and cost-effectiveness
  • The platform aims to expand beyond crypto in the future, potentially tracking derivatives for traditional securities and stocks

Questions Answered

What is Kivo?

Kivo is a social trading platform built on Solana that allows users to create groups for collaborative crypto trading. It aims to make buying, selling, and staking cryptocurrencies more accessible and social for retail users. The platform features a chat interface and a central pie chart displaying group members and their decisions, creating an intuitive and engaging user experience.

How does Kivo make DeFi more accessible?

Kivo simplifies complex DeFi behaviors through features like its "group staking mode." This feature abstracts away the complexities of staking, making it easy for users who may not be familiar with concepts like Liquid Staking Tokens (LSTs) to participate. By providing a user-friendly interface and allowing group collaboration, Kivo helps demystify DeFi activities for newcomers to the crypto space.

Why did Kivo choose to build on Solana?

Kivo chose Solana as its blockchain platform due to Solana's technical capabilities, particularly its speed and cost-effectiveness. Transactions on Solana happen quickly, almost instantly, and are very cheap. This is crucial for a social app targeting retail users, as it eliminates the friction of waiting for transactions to confirm or paying high gas fees, which can be prohibitive for average consumers.

How does Kivo plan to onboard new users?

Kivo is exploring partnerships with fiat on-ramp providers to allow users to make credit card purchases of crypto directly within the app. They're also focusing on creating a user-friendly interface and a social environment where new users can learn from more experienced members. Additionally, Kivo plans to implement account abstraction in the future, allowing users to log in with their Twitter accounts, further simplifying the onboarding process.

What is Kivo's approach to privacy and transparency?

Kivo balances transparency and privacy by making certain information visible within groups while keeping other details private. For example, the amounts that users purchase into positions are transparent within the group, but individual returns are not displayed. This approach creates an environment of trust within the group while still maintaining a level of privacy for individual users.

How does Kivo plan to generate revenue?

While the focus is currently on building a great product and user experience, Kivo is considering taking a small fee (around 1%) on certain specialized transaction types within the platform. The team emphasizes that these fees would be small enough to be almost unnoticeable to users, ensuring that the platform remains accessible and attractive to retail users.

What future features is Kivo considering?

Kivo is exploring a wide variety of features for future development. These include implementing Dollar-Cost Averaging (DCA) functionality, attracting cross-chain liquidity through account abstraction, expanding group sizes beyond the current limit of 10 users, and potentially tracking derivatives for traditional securities and stocks in the future.

How is Kivo approaching its initial launch?

Kivo is offering NFTs that will serve as passes into their gated beta. These "Kin NFTs" will be airdropped to randomly selected wallets from their waitlist. This approach allows Kivo to gather quick feedback from a small, focused group of users for the initial beta testing, enabling them to refine the product before a wider public launch.

What role does education play in Kivo's platform?

Education is a crucial aspect of Kivo's mission. The platform creates an environment where users can learn from each other and experience crypto in a more guided, social setting. This educational focus is particularly important given the complexities and risks associated with crypto. By fostering a community of learning and shared experience, Kivo aims to help new users navigate the crypto space more safely and confidently.

How does Kivo plan to stay relevant in different market conditions?

Kivo is designing its platform to be relevant regardless of current market volatility or price action. The team is thinking about how to build features that are useful in both bull and bear markets. They're also considering expanding beyond crypto in the future, potentially tracking derivatives for traditional securities and stocks, to create a platform that caters to speculators in various markets.

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