One of the first blockchain-based games has gone viral, and you won’t believe the implications. It brought one of the largest ecosystems in the crypto space to a standstill, delayed an ICO, and drew a disapproving eye from crypto critics. CryptoKitties uses the Ethereum blockchain and smart contracts to govern its system and transactions, and it was too hot to handle this week.
After the initial release over Thanksgiving, CryptoKitties was launched publicly last Tuesday. Since then it has been met with great fanfare, and over 41,000 kitties have been purchased. While the average price is just $130.24 according to kittysales.co, one rare kitty named Genesis was sold for $114,481.59 (246.9255 ETH). Yes, this is a digital representation of a kitty we are talking about here.
If you made an Ether transaction during the hustle and bustle, you may have been caught off guard by the delay. Typically, the Ethereum network runs seamlessly, but this CryptoKitties traffic is something else. Blockchain startup SophiaTX even elected to delay its ICO 48 hours to allow transactions to go through.
The launch is live now if you would like to participate.
The game works like this:
- CryptoKitties players use their Ethereum tokens to purchase kittens.
- Players with two kittens may breed them to produce offspring.
- Existing kittens and offspring may be sold on an online marketplace for Ethereum tokens.
- Sellers determine starting price, but the price drops until the kitten is purchased.
- Each kitten has a distinct 256-bit genome that determines the outcome of the new kitten. This means there are 4 billion possible variations of kittens.
- Traits very by kitty, and main differences are physical appearance and cooldown time.
- A lower cooldown time is desirable and determines how often a kitty may be bred.
- Timers range from “fast” to “catatonic”, as seen below.
- The CryptoKitties team releases a new “Gen 0” CryptoKitty every fifteen minutes (up until November 2018). The starting price of “Gen 0” CryptoKitties is determined by the average price of the last five CryptoKitties that were sold, plus 50%.
- CryptoKitties is bound to its contract and may not create more Gen 0 kitties once they are gone.
- CryptoKitties’ cooldown permanently increase after each breeding. By this nature, Gen 0 kitties are desired for naturally lower cooldown.
So what makes this attractive? Is CryptoKitties a dying fad?
For some, they enjoy having and looking at the kitties. It may be that simple. Others, take it a little more seriously. They may want to make a little cash by “siring” out their kitty (a process through which other kitties are produced). In that respect, this ‘game’ can be viewed as an investment — an incredibly atypical one.
Skeptics are comparing CryptoKitties to Beanie Babies or to their favorite likening, the tulip bulb mania. There is some basis to the former (CryptoKitties refers to its own product as a “breedable Beanie Baby”), but the latter is stale. CK might not maintain its current level of attention forever, but it seems to be delivering a product that many find value in. Demand for its kitties has been so high that it had to increase its birthing fees by over 600% to curb the demand and provide relief to the Ethereum network.At any rate, we will keep our focus on Ethereum’s Raiden project. Currently the Ethereum network is capable of roughly 15 transactions per second. Raiden is thought to be capable of 1 million transactions per second, which would make these pesky issues a thing of the past.
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