Technology 5 min read

Virtual Cats 'CryptoKitties' Taking the Ethereum Blockchain by Storm

Arachnid | CryptoKitties|

Arachnid | CryptoKitties|

The Ethereum world is going gaga with breeding and trading virtual cats!

Yes, you read that right! Dubbed as CryptoKitties, the game application allows users of the Ethereum blockchain to breed, sell, and buy virtual cats using Ether (ETH). It was just launched on November 28th, but it’s already hailed as the most popular application in the Ethereum network.

To date, CryptoKitties is responsible for 12% of all transactions on the Ethereum blockchain according to ETH Gas Station, taking over the spot of the token trading platform, Etherdelta. Just yesterday, the virtual cats accounted for nearly 4% of all the network’s transactions.

If you don’t believe it’s going viral, then let the figures do the talking!

The virtual cats of CryptoKitties' is now accounted for 12 percent of all Ethereum transactions
The virtual cats of CryptoKitties’ is now accounted for 12 percent of all Ethereum transactions | ETH Gas Station |

As of writing, the game’s sales transaction has already reached over $2.5 million USD. The average sales price for each kitten is around $100 USD (0.2144 ETH), and it can go as high as $116,300 USD (246.9255 ETH) for the ‘Genesis’ cat. Now, if you want to start burning some money but you only have pocket change, you could begin by shedding around $8 USD (of course in Ether) to buy the least expensive cat on the market.

Virtual Cats are Now Taking the Ethereum Blockchain by Storm
Genesis owned by Stimpson J. Cat, valued at 247 ETH or $117,712 USD | CryptoKitties |

What makes this game interesting is that, since it’s being played on the Ethereum network, it is also decentralized. Meaning, no entity is controlling or managing the game which makes users the actual owners of their virtual cats.

@CryptoKitties is taking the #Ethereum #Blockchain by storm!!!Click To Tweet

The game is not stored in any central database where developers can delete the cats or the entire game when the company shuts down. CryptoKitties is decentralized, and each cat is considered a unique object that will forever exist in the Ethereum blockchain.

Who says nothing lasts forever?

How the Game Works: Breeding, Selling, Buying Virtual Cats

The game is being run through a set of 5 Ethereum smart contracts written by AxiomZen, and people with Ethereum addresses or wallets can interact with it. The game was seeded with 100 so-called ‘Founder Kitties.’ Then, every 15 minutes, one new ‘Gen 0‘ virtual cat is being released for the average price of the last five sold, plus 50%. If that’s too pricey for you, don’t fret because the actual sales price declines over 24 hours until someone buys it.

People can sell their virtual cats via an auction where they can pick a starting price and an ending price, wherein the price declines over time until someone actually buys the cat. So for instance, a person could put a kitten for sale for a one day auction for 2 ETH starting price and 0 ETH ending price. If someone buys the kitten 12 hours into the auction, the buyer will pay 1 ETH.

Now, the primary purpose of the game is for players to acquire an array of virtual cats. Each cat has a specific set of attributes called ‘cattributes’ in the game. Aside from selling and buying, players can acquire virtual cats through Siring or the process of breeding.

As mentioned, each cat has its own set of attributes, normally characterized by physical features, depending on its genetic code or genotype. Approximately, there are four billion possible combinations of attributes when breeding virtual cats.

For players to acquire new cats with new or rare features, they have to breed different cats together. That can be done by putting certain cats up for sire for a specified amount of Ether (if you want to earn), or pay to breed your cat with another person’s cat so you can keep the offspring.

Also, it is essential to know that the game has not established any ‘rarity scale’ to determine the rarity value of a cat. Apparently, the community decides which attributes are rare by the premium they are being paid for.

So, how does AxiomZen earns from all of this?

The company gets to keep the Ether obtained from the sale of the 100 Founder Kitties, plus the newly generated cats being sold every 25 minutes. On top of that, Axiom also gets to earn a 3.75% fee for all auctions or siring transactions. However, if cat owners were able to sell cats directly through the smart contract and not through the third party website CryptoKitties, they don’t have to pay the 3.75% fee.

With more and more people being drawn to the virtual currency market, having a game like CryptoKitties is deemed by many as a refreshing new way to attract the interest of people beyond the circle of cryptocurrency enthusiasts.

Will you spend thousands of dollars to buy virtual cats? Let us know your thought in the comment section below!

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Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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