Cryptocurrency owners have shelled out a whopping $2 million on a game involving digital cats dubbed CryptoKitties. Similar to Pokemon, these virtual cats run on the Ethereum blockchain, and just like any other digital product, they are catching up with the trend fast.
How CryptoKitties is played
Launched last week, the game built by Vancouver- and San Francisco-based design studio AxiomZen has sold about 18,516 unique cats for a total value of about $1.7 million. On average, each cat was pried at $80.68, and the highest price paid was $117,712.12 at the time of the sale, notes TechTimes.
The game started with 100 “Founder Kitties,” and a new “Gen 0” cat is added every 15 minutes. The price is based on the average of the last five cats sold, plus 50%. Anyone can buy and sell virtual cats through an auction in which starting and ending prices are selected, and the price declines gradually until someone buys it.
The generation progresses every time a cat breeds, meaning that an offspring of a Gen 0 kitten would be a Gen 1, and so on. Further, the game has a system known as “Siring,” under which people can breed kittens. Depending on the cooldown period before the breeding of the new kittens, the price is set higher or lower. Cats with a shorter cooldown period will be more expensive, given the fact that their owners will be able to sell the kittens at a faster pace.
Each CryptoKitty has a 256-bit genome with genetic sequences for the various combinations. There is no way to know the traits possessed by other kittens in the network, and the rarity of the traits help players quote a higher price for their kittens.
Axiom earns a profit by either collected from selling the initial 100 kitties and the new kitties sold every 25 minutes. Axiom also charges 3.75% fee of all auctions or siring transactions. One way to avoid paying a fee is to sell the kitten through a smart contract and not through the CryptoKitties website, notes TechCrunch.
The game is based on the Ethereum network, just like the cryptocurrency, which means that even if the makers of CryptoKitties abandon the game, the owners can keep their kittens as long as they want. This concept is different from the digital assets acquired in an online game, in which existence depends on the main entity.
CryptoKitties is already leading the transactions within the Ethereum network.
“Our approach to brand and marketing is, in part, a tongue-in-cheek critique of the ICO market today,” says Else Wilk, CryptoKitties marketing director, in a press release. Wilk further stated that blockchain technology could be the biggest breakthrough after the Internet, but opportunists, investment froth and a lack of apps for everyday consumers is keeping people from realizing the long-term potential of the technology.
As the game goes ahead, the makers will keep adding new virtual kitties with a unique mix of interesting traits. The game’s project head, Mack Flavelle, told TechCrunch that they have grand plans to improve the product, starting with enhancing the user interface on the web platform.