It is cryptocurrency meets cuteness. The latest trend to hit the financial technology world, CryptoKitties is an online platform for collecting and breeding digital cats. Built using the Ethereum platform and blockchain technology, the innovation is already making waves.
Collectible. Breedable. Adorable. What are CryptoKitties?
Think of it as cross between a Tamagotchi and the blockchain, taking charm and adding tech to create what’s sure to be an addictive product. CryptoKitties is a relative newcomer to the scene.
Founded in 2017, premiering at ETH Waterloo Hackathon with its worldwide release on 28 November 2017, the product’s team is made up of startup founders, crypto-enthusiasts and talented developers.
The project aims to bring blockchain technology into the consumer world. The appeal of combing digital cuteness with fresh tech is not unheard off, take for example the Pokémon GO craze of 2016, that seamlessly merged augmented reality, real-life and gaming.
Science meets adorability. How does CryptoKitties work?
CryptoKitties uses the blockchain software of the Ethereum network to allow users to create so-called digital contracts for the sale of their digital pets known as CryptoKitties.
Blockchain, a technology that creates an ever-growing list of records known as blocks, is what stands behind the project. With each digitally coded ‘block’ containing a hash pointer to the previous block alongside a timestamp and transaction date, blockchain is said to be unbreakable.
Benny Giang, CryptoKitties’ Head of Community, speaking on the idea behind the concept said: “At its core, blockchain is a way for people to prove ownership and trustfully transact. A game based on collectible cats seemed like the most approachable introduction.”
Livestock of the digital era. How to buy and sell CryptoKitties?
Despite the similarities to cryptocurrency, digital money created using blockchain software, CryptoKitties themselves are not a currency. The creators encourage the idea that they are more akin to a cryptocollectible.
Currently, users are unable to buy a CryptoKitty using a credit card or real-world money, they need a digital wallet filled with Ether, the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network, to make a purchase.
After registering with the platform, it then offers its users the possibility to buy a CryptoKitty on its ‘Marketplace’. Here users can sell their crypto creations others, ‘sire’ new CryptoKitty babies or wait for an exalted Gen 0 kitty to become available for sale.
Scarcity breeds value. Is investing in CryptoKitties a worthwhile venture?
The system classifies cats by generation, with Gen 0 cats as the most valuable. Each CryptoKitty is unique, like a piece of code.
By making CryptoKitties unable to be replicated, destroyed or taken away, the creators intended it to be exclusive, a collectible, they wanted to “explore the concept of digital scarcity, implement a non-fungible token within smart contracts.”
Essentially “breedable Beanie Babies”, inspired by trustless transactions and empowered by transparency creating the latest crypto must-have.
So, why cats?
The creators reply: “why not?”, it’s true the internet is full to the brim with cat memes, jokes and cute-kitty YouTube videos, so why not add crypto to the mix.
Is the future furry?
Even though the project is in its infancy, CryptoKitties already account for 11% of Ethereum’s network traffic and are the most popular smart contract on the platform right now.
But, is it just a crypto craze? The team behind the project thinks not: “we believe that blockchain is the future—but blockchain is about as approachable as a bunch of ones and zeroes.” CryptoKitties are a much softer way into tech.
And with over $1.3 Million transacted on the platform as of December 2017, it seems the “future is meow.”