Nick Chong · 10 hours ago · 2 min read
Feline memes and videos make up their fair share of the Internet, and now cats are taking over the blockchain with the game CryptoKitties. Users of the game have already spent over $8 million buying and selling virtual cats since CryptoKitties’s release in late November.
Based on the Ethereum blockchain, players work to breed and trade cats. The crypto assets are sparking incredible enthusiasm across the world; people are going crazy for CryptoKitties.
To play the game users need Ether to buy their first cat. From there users can breed cats with other users or various others under your ownership. Each kitten born is genetically different from the next, and genomes exist between family members.
As all the cats are essentially crypto assets you can see their entire family history recorded on the network, creating intricate family trees.
New breeds with different colors and markings are being born every minute, although some are worth more than others. Should the developers ever disappear users will still remain securely in control of their virtual pets.
In CryptoKitties, users collect and breed oh-so-adorable creatures that we call CryptoKitties! Each kitty has a unique genome that defines its appearance and traits. Players can breed their kitties to create new furry friends and unlock rare cattributes.
The security and decentralisation of the Ethereum network is well-documented, but no one predicted digital cats would benefit from the technology. With all the future real-world applications of cryptocurrencies, some may find it ridiculous that people are stocking up on kittie assets.
However, while the cats are essentially useless, they have already become collectors’ items, selling for small fortunes of Ether. Those just getting started need to purchase their first crypto cat priced at around 0.03ETH or $12.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the project is the way people are interacting with the Ethereum blockchain. Many CryptoKittie users may just have been asset holders who had no real regular interaction with blockchains.
By participating in the new software they are running transactions and protocols based on five smart contracts. Metamask, which allows you to run Ethereum dApps in a browser, has seen a sharp increase in downloads thanks to the digital felines.
Gas price = amount you pay per unit
Gas limit = max amount of units willing to spend, units of gas necessary are defined by how much code is executed on the blockchain
— Jessica Turner (@jessalyst) December 5, 2017
Some have compared CryptoKitties to Beanie Babies; it does seem the world goes mad for collectable cuddly toys. Although you can’t cuddle a blockchain asset, one thing that will help owners sleep soundly at night is the security and accountability of the technology. Even with the value and demand of the cats, counterfeiting is not possible, just like you can’t make your own Bitcoin.
The enthusiasm is staggering, catching everyone by surprise, even the developers.
🚨🚨🚨🚨 Due to network congestion, we are increasing the birthing fee from 0.001 ETH to 0.002 ETH. This will ensure your kittens are born on time! The extra is needed to incentivize miners to add birthing txs to the chain. Long-term solution will be explored very soon! 🚨🚨🚨🚨
— CryptoKitties (@CryptoKitties) December 3, 2017
While CryptoKitties may sound laughable to some, the exuberant on-boarding of Ethereum is sending positive signals around the network. And in fact, CryptoKitties now accounts for around 4% of all Ethereum transactions; it’s the second most used application on the network. CryptoKitties definitely proves there is definitely market for rare, fungible, digital assets that are traded and exchanged on the blockchain.