Almost every blockchain enthusiast on Earth has encountered the feline frenzy called CryptoKitties in the past week or so. All the fun and games pretty much brought the Ethereum network on which it runs to a crawl.
Most commonly asked question seems to be, unsurprisingly, “What is it and how does it work?” I still wonder too, but find the whole thing fascinating. In a nutshell, you can buy, breed and sell these kitties. Oh yeah, they’re adorable.
How to get yourself an adorable cryptokitty?
The prices are insane, just check out the cryptokitty sales to date, which currently show 5 sales of over $100,000 USD, including the first actual cryptokitty, Genesis, shown here in all her glory. Entry kitties seem to go for around BTC 0.001 and up.
Generation 0 kitties are original, with new cattributes, created by team Cryptokitties. There will eventually be a total of 50,000 of them, with one new crypto-litter coming every 15 minutes. They also have a zero cooldown period, which means that after they breed they’re ready to breed again right away.
People research and catalog these in an attempt to gain insight into breeding strategies when they see the big sales numbers. For example, researching the value of specific tails or ears or paws. Here’s a look at the “otaku” cattribute, according to the CryptoKittyDex website.
In addition to gen zero kitties, there are other cryptokitties created by the team (as opposed to bred) – fancy cats and exclusive cats. Fancy cats are co-created with others – influencers, and probably celebrities in future.
Exclusive cats are unique creations that cannot breed – they are only useful as collectables. That really hints at the secret behind what makes this game work – digital scarcity. The cryptokitties bug bounty program, for example, created bug cat, sploit cat (shown here with those crazy eyes) and glitch cat.
This ingenious game is based on Ethereum ERC-721 tokens, which in contrast to the widely used ERC20 tokens, are not fungible – they are unique like snowflakes. The easiest way to interact with their set of smart contracts that run the game is to use the CryptoKitties website.
First you’ll need software to connect to the Ethereum main network. These kitties aren’t cheap! It’s not just about paying for stuff, you’ll need to hold the token to breed and sell your kitties. Most popular way seems to be to use Metamask – an extension for Chrome and Brave browsers. Firefox support allegedly coming soon.
I’ve been recommending Brave because of the vastly under appreciated security and privacy benefits that come with blocking trackers and beacons. It happens to be a token-friendly browser as well, that uses the Basic Attention Token (BAT). But getting back on topic ….
You can login using a token from Metamask to authenticate instead of using a password to see your precious persians, or to peruse possible breeding choices. These kitties are just so adorable and you can profit from selling them they can make you money too!