The Next Big Thing in Streaming or a Stake Marketing Tool? Investigating Kick

  • Trainwreck has made the move to Kick, which gained 200,000 sign-ups in one day this week
  • Internet detectives seem to have confirmed the platform is partly owned by crypto casino Stake
  • Some have taken issue with the silence on this involvement from Trainwreck and other streamers
  • Ultimately, Kick could prove beneficial to everyone as long as Stake and streamers are honest
Trainwreck on Kick
Trainwreck has made the move to new streaming platform Kick, but is Stake’s supposed investment in the site a problem? [Image: Trainwreckstv Kick]

From Twitch to Kick

Earlier this week, one of Twitch’s most popular content creators announced that he was going to begin streaming elsewhere. Disappointed in Twitch’s decision to ban unregulated casino streams, Trainwreck has now joined the likes of Roshtein and Xposed on brand new streaming platform Kick.

Trainwreck’s account already has more than 20,000 followers

Although the young site is certainly not without its glitches, Kick has seen a ramp up of followers since the gambling streamers made the shift. Trainwreck’s account already has more than 20,000 followers and his first test stream saw close to 18,000 viewers. On Wednesday, the site announced 200,000 sign-ups in just 24 hours.

The platform seems a dream come true for content creators. Trainwreck, real name Tyler Niknam, asserted that it will right the wrongs of Twitch through the use of advertisement income. It will supposedly provide streamers with a 95% split of subscriber fees, not to mention all tips and additional cash through success-based payments.

Some think that all might not be as it seems, however. Claims first surfaced on Tuesday that Kick is actually owned by crypto casino Stake – one of the sites banned by Twitch in October. If true, does this put a darker spin on the Twitch competitor, or is it simply an opportunistic move that ultimately benefits everyone?

The internet sleuth

Self-described ‘Internet Detective’ Coffeezilla first made the supposed link between Stake and Kick public via his Twitter account on Wednesday.

Among his proof, the internet sleuth highlighted a subreddit called ‘KickStreaming’ on reddit created by a user called ‘CalebStake:’

Coffeezilla noted Kick giveaways organized by Stake co-founder Ed Craven. The billionaire businessman also retweeted a post on Wednesday celebrating Kick’s increase in follower count.

Perhaps most notably, a LinkedIn job advertisement for Easygo, a tech startup based in Melbourne, seems to reveal that the firm actually partnered with Stake to create Kick:

An existing issue

Now the cat is seemingly out of the bag regarding Stake’s investment in Kick, the real question is: does it actually matter?

multimillion-dollar deals with its biggest stars

Well, Stake’s involvement in the world of gambling Twitch certainly raised some eyebrows in its time. The site formed multimillion-dollar deals with its biggest stars which many deemed misleading to the viewers. Before the gambling ban implemented in October, Trainwreck said he earned $360m in just 16 months by promoting gambling on his streams.

Even Trainwreck has taken aim at his fellow streamers in the past for a lack of transparency regarding such partnerships. In February, he called out Roshtein and Xposed for lying about consistent wins while hiding major losses behind the scenes. He also criticized “fake money” deals formed between streamers and operators allowing them to gamble without risk.

The issue of Twitch gambling came to a head multiple times during the slot category’s rise to the top, perhaps most significantly when popular streamer Sliker revealed his struggles with gambling addiction. The UK-based creator confirmed that he took around $300,000 from fans and fellow streamers to feed his habit, causing the #TwitchStopGambling campaign to gain momentum on social media.

Keeping it quiet

With new platform Kick, it’s once again a lack of transparency kicking up the biggest fuss among gambling opponents. Some Twitter users, including Coffeezilla, have questioned why Trainwreck has so far failed to reveal the link between Kick and Stake.

In his Twitter post announcing his move this week, Trainwreck didn’t mention Stake once, instead lambasting Twitch for taking advantage of its streamers before noting the benefits of the new platform. Similarly, neither Roshtein or Xposed mentioned Stake in their announcements at the end of last month.

blood money”

Despite initially backing Kick, popular Twitch streamer Ludwig (3.1 million followers) has now taken issue with this silence. In a YouTube video on Wednesday, he described Stake’s methods as “nefarious” and deemed the cash made by the streamers as “blood money.” He also argued that it seemed as if Trainwreck was “trying to hide” Stake’s involvement.

Ludwig explained: “It seems like rather than being this virtuous website, which is supposed to be for small and mid-sized creators  to get their fair share… [Kick] is a loss leader for Stake to advertise their business in a way that gets around the bans on mainstream platforms like Twitch and YouTube.”

Does it matter?

Ultimately, if the evidence provided on Twitter points to the truth, it does appear that Kick is simply a marketing tool created by Stake. The crypto site utilized Twitch more than any other gambling company to appeal to a whole new demographic of casino players. Now it has lost that avenue, it has had to carve out a tool of its own.

the real issue with the strategy lies in any attempt to conceal it

As is evident from the reaction to Stake’s involvement, the real issue with the strategy lies in any attempt to conceal it. If everyone is aware that Kick is a marketing tool, then does it really matter?

Trainwreck’s promise of a 95% split for content creators could mean that Kick will provide a much more fortuitous home for Twitch’s gambling influencers. Stake will get to market its product to thousands, if not millions, of viewers, while fans of Trainwreck, Roshtein, and Xposed will get to watch their favorite gamblers do what they do best. The key to this favorable outcome is simple transparency.

The next big thing in streaming or a Stake marketing tool? Why not both?