Crypokitties: WTF are they?!? An ICO or NO Special

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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 6 seconds

What would the blockchain be without cats? Cryptokitties is making sure we never have to find out the answer to that question. Cryptokitties is a decentralized application (dApp) running on the Ethereum network, allowing users to buy and sell digital versions of cats!

The dApp is taking the Ethereum network by storm, as all money transacted has now exceeded $2 Million USD (as of 12/6/2017). Cryptokitties has proven so popular it now accounts for 15% of all traffic on the network. This has led to some backlog issues on the Ethereum blockchain, bringing the community the realization that the network is going to have to scale soon.

Learn about this crazy fad phenomenon with our rundown!

What happens when you combine cats and the blockchain?

Well after the this last weekend we have the answer. A new dApp has taken the Ethereum network by storm. Launched just a few days ago (December 2, 2017), Cryptokitties are digital cats, that exist solely on the network. Which is good news for some, because trust me, you don’t want to have to deal with a litter box. Several people have made the comparison to Pokemon or Tomogatchis. You purchase them after they are birthed, and can raise your cat from digital kittenhood.

Sounds a little ridiculous? Well not to the people who have spent an insane amount of money on cryptokitties.

As of December 5th, 2017 there has been about 1.3M dollars spent within the dApp. There’s been multiple kittens that have sold for over 40 Eth ($19k each), with the Genesis kitten selling for around 250 ETH ($113k). That’s not a misprint….

It’s really exciting to see a dApp that is drumming up this much excitement on the Ethereum network. However, its really important to remember that the network is still in its infancy, and there still aren’t a lot of dApps up and running on the network, which is already feeling strain.

Cryptokitties transactions are accounting for around 16% of all network traffic. Etherdelta, a decentralized exchange and previously the most popular dApp, accounts for just half that at 8% of all network traffic. All of this in one weekend.

Now this fact has some interesting implications. With the network already experiencing congestion, it’s clear that the network is going to have to find a way to scale in order to maintain viability. And the more popular dApps on the network, the faster this has to happen. The increased strain that Cryptokitties is putting on the network is a wake up call. Cryptokitties is going to only add to that strain.

A lot of people are asking if this could be Ethereum’s first killer dApp? My answer: why the hell not?! It’s the Internet. And the Internet loves cats. The better question is if Cryptokitties is a fad or is it going to last?

It’s important to understand that since it’s played on the Ethereum blockchain there’s no central server managing the data in the game. This means users literally own their kittens. Unlike playing Neopets where everything was stored on a central database, and your pet was deleted when the company shut down, CryptoKitties is decentralized and will live forever on the Ethereum blockchain.

Some details on the dApp

The game is run via a set of 5 Ethereum smart contracts written by AxiomZen, a design studio out of Vancouver, Canada and San Francisco, California, and users interact with it via their own Ethereum address.

The game was seeded with 100 “Founder Kitties.” There’s also one new “Gen 0” cat released ever 15 minutes, which are listed for the average price of the last five cryptokitties sold, plus 50% – but the sale price declines over 24 hours until someone eventually buys it.

And anyone can sell their kittens via an auction, where they pick a starting price and an ending price. The price declines over time until someone buys it. And, of course, there a no third party fees beyond the regular transaction fees required by the Ethereum network.

Each cat has a unique 256 bit “DNA sequence” that determines characteristics such as coat, whiskers, eyes, and many more. There are even recessive genes coded into each kitty. This guarantees that each Cryptokitty is unique!

And Axiom played it really smart. They made a killing off of the initial 100 kitties, and they still make Ether off of each new cat that is introduced to the ecosystem.

There is also no rarity scale, so it’s kind of up to the market to determine what characteristics are rare or more valuable.

Will Cryptokitties last, or is it just another fad? Let us know what you think!


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