CryptoKitties – a new game where traders can breed and sell virtual cats – has taken the Ethereum blockchain by storm since its debut on November 28th.
In the late 1990s, the portable electronics industry was shaken by the sudden popularity of Tamagotchis; toys through which players could grow and breed digital monsters. Now, it seems that the cryptocurrency world is experiencing its own such moment through the emergence of a new game called CryptoKitties.
What are CryptoKitties?
If you thought the arrival of the Blockchain and other cryptocurrencies signaled a financial revolution, you may only be half right. CryptoKitties is a new, Ethereum-based game where the objective of players is to buy, breed, and sell virtual cats (or kitties) using Ether.
Traditionally, the Ethereum Blockchain leverages tokens with unique identifiers to perform transactions or satisfy the fulfillment of ‘smart contracts’.
CryptoKitties ports players to a virtual world where every kitty is, in fact, a unique token on the Ethereum blockchain wherein each pet is associated with a unique 256-bit “genome”.
That genome is comprised of phenotypes (observable features) and genotypes (genetic features) – and when CryptoKitties are bred, the appearance and constitution of new kitties are the result of either parent’s traits.
When was CryptoKitties launched?
CryptoKitties was officially launched by Axiom Zen on November 28th of 2017. Since that date, Generation Zero cats (which are created by the developers themselves) have been seeded onto the network every fifteen minutes.
Generation Zero cats will cease entering the system after the close of the year, meaning that these cats will become more valuable after time. In essence, these unique objects (or, if you’re already into it, kitties) are the genesis of the game.
Do I pay to play CryptoKitties?
Yes – CryptoKitties are purchased and sold using Ether, the token that powers the Ethereum network. As such, kitties are bought and sold for real-world values that (at the time of writing) have reached nearly $120,000 USD.
Following the game’s launch on the 28th of November, all transactions emanating from CryptoKitties have managed to account for some 12% of all transactions on the Ethereum blockchain. The game has further become so popular that it has increased the number of pending transactions on the Ethereum blockchain by nearly six times over.
How expensive are CryptoKitties?
As of December 2nd, the most expensive kitten sold in the game retailed for some $$117712.12 USD in fiat terms. At the time of writing, sales have varied from as little as $0.48 USD.
The unfortunate news is that kitties are set to become even more expensive; Axiom Zen has been forced to raise prices within the game to render pending transactions more attractive to Ethereum miners. This should theoretically mean that the game will become faster to play, as larger transactions may well take priority in the Ethereum blockchain.
According to CryptoKittySales, some 25,855 sales have occurred at press time, amounting to transactions that total over $2817394.35 USD.
How do I play CryptoKitties?
To get started with CryptoKitties, budding breeders will need a few essentials; the first, of course, is a healthy supply of Ether – the token that powers the Ethereum network. Interested players can purchase Ether on a cryptocurrency exchange of their choice.
Beyond owning Ether, players will need to use MetaMask – a cryptocurrency wallet specifically designed for use with web apps – and lastly, interested parties will need to use either Chrome or Firefox on their computer of choice.
Who owns CryptoKitties?
The appeal of playing CryptoKitties may have more than simple novelty values. While online games leveraging player-populated services (such as in the case of a massively open world title like World of Warcraft) is dependent on a centralized entity to maintain those assets, CryptoKitties isn’t.
Should developer Axiom Zen proceed to abandon the game, the decentralized nature of the Ethereum blockchain means that all players will retain their ‘tokens’ (or kitties) and can continue playing the game – and once all Generation Zero cats have entered the system, the game is dependent on player input to survive.
Have your say!
What are your thoughts? Are you playing CryptoKitties? Could there be more room for Blockchain-based games in the near future? Be sure to let us know your opinion in the comments below!