When it comes to cutting edge technology adoption there always seems to be a single catalyst that really vaults the new tech into the mainstream for all to enjoy. Remember last summer as Pokemon GO fever swept the globe. It was a cool app that combined augmented reality, a very new and cool tech, into a fun game that people have enjoyed across generations. That same day may be upon us in the cryptoworld. I give you CryptoKitties!
THER'RE SO FLUFFY!
It is no secret that there is an army of Farmville/Candy Crush fans that will spend countless dollars on silly mobile games, as well as high level MMO players that also spend a ton of cash on digital assets (see my recent review of WAX about this). Given this fact, it is no surprise that a simple blockchain based game that lets you buy, sell, raise, & breed digital cartoon cats has exploded in popularity. It combines some of the cooler features of Pokemon GO overlaid on the Ethereum network. Let's dive in and see exactly how this new game works, why it's SO fluffy, and if you should start playing right meow!
How To Play CryptoKitties
The game is super simple, but it is EXPENSIVE to play already and the overall goals is to collect CryptoKitties to raise and breed and then either sell them off or keep them to look at. Somewhat similar to Neopets, but built in a decentralized manner where you actually OWN the digital Kitties that you purchase. Here are the basics broken down:
- You sign up using your Metamask wallet (this seems to be the only way they allow you to sign up to play). Of course you need Ethereum in your wallet to make any purchases (see my guide on wallets and loading them here).
- Once you are signed up, you start with zero CryptoKitties and now have to buy one from the marketplace.
- The next step is to head over to their Marketplace and find some CryptoKitties you like for sale. They all have slightly different attributes that play a factor in their breeding and resale factors. This screen shot shows some of the cheapest ones you can buy.
- These Kitties are no joke and they can get EXPENSIVE. If you have deep crypto pockets you might be interested in these premium CryptoKitties.
- Buying a CryptoKittie is pretty easy once you have your MetaMask wallet all setup with some ETH in it. The game was originally seeded with the first 100 "Founder" kitties and it has taken off from there. So far about $1.3 Million has been worth of ETH has been transacted through the game already and the average price can be around 50 ETH for a "sought after" kittie.
- New "Gen 0" CryptoKitties are released every 15 minutes and the price is automatically set for the average price of the last five sold, plus 50%. The price then declines over 24 hours until someone eventually buys it.
- CryptoKitties are bought and sold through an "auction style" interface. Once you have a CryptoKittie you can breed it to make more Kitties and this is called "Siring" your CryptoKittie.
- The different combinations of CryptoKitties are generated by the program and use a 256-bit genome that holds the genetic sequence to all the different combs you can have. Different traits include things like whiskers, beards, stripes, background color, cooldown time, and more.
- "Rare CryptoKitties" are determined by the player base and not by any algorithm. So traits like a Gold Background seem to be more popular.
Buying My First CryptoKittie
While I have looked into the game a lot, I still really don't know all the ins and outs about popular traits and whatnot. So I went on the hunt for the ugliest and cheapest CryptoKittie I could find for the purpose of this article. The first issue I ran into was how incredibly SLOW the website interface. Sometimes a page just would not load. I had to reload it several times. About 15% of the entire Ethereum blockchain is being used to power this game at the moment and it surpasses EtherDelta as the most used dAPP (decentralized app) in use at the moment.
Due to the exploding popularity of the game, transactions and load times are being bogged down significantly and this puts into question the scaling of the overall Ethereum network. If just one blockchain based game can put heavy load on the network alone, what happens when multiple popular dAPP's enter the scene like this?
After many attempts I STILL could not get a consistent enough connection to buy my own CryptoKittie...
This screenshot above just sat there and sat there and then eventually "Failed". I will keep attempting to purchase a cheap Kitty and update this thread when I am successful!
UPDATE! CryptoKittie Purchase Finally Successful!
After SO many attempts across multiple days I finally purrrrchased my first CryptoKittie. I named him "The Original 'Stache" and while he is a "totesbasic" kittie, I think he takes a chip off of the ole' 'Stache block when it comes to his sweet mustache. After buying this "dali" version, I realized I needed 2 CryptoKitties to actually breed them. SOOooo I bought one more cheap kittie with a mustache (the only kind I want!) and have started the "siring" process. This process ALSO cost ETH, which I did not realize, but it was much cheaper ($10) then buying a kitty.
I will post another article about CryptoKitties when these 2 lovecats little "egg" is hatched