Cute kittens, yes kittens, have begun taking over the Ethereum blockchain. Launched on November 29th, Ether holders have spent over $3 million on these virtual kittens on the blockchain-based, digital Pokemon-like game called CryptoKitties. Created by the San Francisco and Vancouver based design studio AxiomZen, CryptoKitties has now become the second most popular application on the Ethereum Network.
So I’m sure you’re wondering why anyone would want to buy these virtual cats, let me answer that for you. The premise behind the game is to obtain different cats that all have different personalities (cattributes), physical features, genotypes and the object is to breed or ‘sire’ them with other people’s kittens, in hopes to breed cats with rare features to make more money. There are four billion possible breeding combinations on the game and the highest ranked cat that has currently been sold was for $117,712.12 USD.
Each cat comes from a certain ‘generation’ and the lower the generation the more expensive it is. The game was started with 100 ‘founding kitties’ and are releasing new generation zero kitties that are rare. The ‘founding kitties’, however, are limited. Cats are sold every 15 minutes, which become listed for the average price of the last five generation zero cats sold plus 50%, but if the cats don’t, sell the price declines in the span of 24 hours until someone buys it.
As described above, siring or breeding your cats is the main way to make money with the game. You put your own cat up for sire set at a specific amount, and someone can choose to breed their cat with yours and they keep the offspring and you keep the Ether. Or, you can pay someone to breed with their cat and you can keep the offspring and they take your Ether.
Another strategy people are taking to make money off the game is buying rare Generation Zero cats and holding on to them. As they become rarer and they stop distributing these cats, the higher their price will go.
It can take anywhere from a week to an hour for the “cooldown” time to breed a new kitten. Obviously, the shorter the timeframe the better since you can sell the offsprings sooner and get to breeding again, this means that the cats with the shorter cooldown time are worth more money.
There is no ‘rare scale’ on the game that assigns a specific rarity value to each genetic sequence. The community is primarily responsible for deciding which cat traits are rare by paying higher for them. The past few days have shown that kittens with a “gold” background have been selling higher than those with a colored background.
Users are only able to change the name and customize their kittens’ names. Some have used this space to showcase its rare attributes or which generation it is.
Currently, the game is taking up 10.24 percent of the entire Ethereum network but for most of the weekend, it was over 15 percent. The game is currently run on a set of 5 Ethereum smart contracts and users on the game interact with their own Ethereum address.
The easiest way to play the game is to download the MetaMask Chrome Extension and it will allow you to send and receive Ethereum directly in that browser through the CryptoKitties website.
Featured Image: cryptokitties