What are CryptoKitties?
CryptoKitties is an Ethereum-based game where players can breed digital cats with special traits and trade them on the blockchain. The game was developed by Axiom Zen, a Canadian company founded in 2014.
They are considered “crypto collectibles” that use blockchain technology to facilitate asset trading between players worldwide. CryptoKitties were the hottest NFTs of 2017. CryptoKitties made it possible for people to buy and sell their own virtual cats and to collect or purchase rare kitties from other players in order to produce more valuable offspring kitties.
Each kitten has its own unique combination of traits that can be passed onto future generations of kittens or sold to other users. The more rare the breed, the more valuable the collectible.
The game’s popularity was so widespread that many people were buying up virtual cats just for bragging rights.
Why Did It Become Such A Thing?
One of the reasons for CryptoKitties’ popularity was the cute factor. The game is reminiscent of the old-school Tamagotchi games, which allowed users to look after virtual pets on their handheld devices. What’s more, CryptoKitties is one of the first blockchain-based games to go mainstream.
Because of the ability to buy and breed different types of CryptoKitties (approximately 3 billion possible combinations), the game received widespread popularity–but it soon faded out. The game’s rapid growth lasted fewer than ten days. Since then, the number of players has dropped sharply.
According to CryptoKitties’ official website, 1,719 new users joined in January 2022. Currently, there are 2,010,740 crypto kitties on the market, with 332 of them created in the last month.
One of the major issues with CryptoKitties before its steep decline was bandwidth: the more people that played, the more it slowed down the Ethereum network. This caused major problems for other projects and tasks running on the network.
Within a week of the game launching, CryptoKitties accounted for 13% of all transactions on Ethereum. This anomaly prevented other businesses on the platform from quickly processing transactions.
Even though its star quickly faded, CryptoKitties represented an innovation in blockchain technology while it portended its future possibilities. The Kitties captured the imagination of the crypto community with a fun example of a game that utilized distributed ledger technology and served as a predecessor to many games that still use breeding as part of their gameplay.
How do CryptoKitties Work?
CryptoKitties are completely unique and have their own digital genetic code stored in a smart contract. Any two CryptoKitties can be bred together to produce an offspring with its own traits (or “cattributes”). The visual appearance of the cat is determined by the genotype stored in the smart contract, which is immutable.
In order to breed your very own CryptoKitty, you’ll need a breeding pair. The kitties are unisex and can act as male/female (referred to as Sire or Dame). The Sire will need to recover with down time after each mating, and required down time increases with every new kitten sired.
Incidentally, the most expensive CryptoKitty was at one point valued at $114,481.59.
CryptoKitties Now on Flow
CryptoKitties announced a move to the Flow platform back in May of 2020. The move enabled several new features for the game with hopes for more widespread adoption. Some of the enhancements on Flow include:
- CryptoKitties in 3D
- Better scalability so more people could use the network simultaneously
- Free-to-play capability as a result of Flow’s proof-of-stake model
- Cross-compatibility with other games built on Flow
Even though gas fees are lower on Flow, it doesn’t seem to have helped increase Kittie’s play or popularity. According to DappRadar, CryptoKitties had just 1,658 users and 3,083 transactions in January 2022. Even though users still play the game, it no longer commands anywhere near the same level of popularity it once enjoyed.
The Future of CryptoKitties
With the growing popularity of the metaverse and play-to-pay gaming, it is possible that CryptoKitties could make a comeback, but with such a short lifespan, CryptoKitties can expect an uphill battle. Many games now vie for the attention of ever-growing audiences, ready to capture their percentage of market share.
Will CryptoKitties be able to claw its way back out of obscurity? Or will the game continue cat-napping its way through the Blockchain?
Only time will tell. Meanwhile, cat aficionados everywhere can take heart knowing that their beloved digital pets are safe for “meow.”