You're all familiar with Pokémon cards. They were all the rage back in the day. The card game itself was not considered as the actual hype. Rather it was the fun and joy of collecting those cards that used to please us the most. Now, here's the question. How did we go from collecting Pokémon cards to collecting virtual cats on the internet?
WHAT IS 'CRYPTOKITTIES'?
CryptoKitties is one of the first ever game built on the blockchain platform by the company Axiom Zen. You've probably heard of Crypto Currencies. These kitties are 'Crypto Collectibles'; a bunch of virtual and adorable cats on the internet, waiting to be bought and bred. They are bought using the crypto currency known as 'Ethereum'.
I HAVE BEEN LIVING UNDER A ROCK FOR A WHILE. WHAT'S A BLOCKCHAIN?
Blockchain technology comprises of decentralised or distributed digital ledgers which record virtual transactions made by people on the blockchain network. These records are shared by the people over that network and cannot be changed or corrupted, and can help keep track of the data on the blockchain. For instance, you have a virtual item in your possession and there is only one such item in the world. Now on the blockchain, ledgers will have the information that this rare item, the only one in existence, belongs to you. So if all of a sudden, someone appears out of nowhere to say that he too has the same item, those ledgers will be checked and his statement will be deemed as unauthentic.
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THESE KITTIES?
CryptoKitties work on the same principles as every other thing on the blockchain. Each kitty has a number of attributes (which they refer to as 'cattributes') bearing features of their virtual existence, such as the colour of their fur, the colour of their eyes or their nature. Each kitty in existence is different from the other, that is, no two kitties having all the same attributes exist. This makes each kitty a rare novelty.
The game is basically buying and breeding your kitties to produce offspring. You can sell your kitties as well. Axiom Zen will be producing these 'Gen 0' kitties till November of this year. By then, there will be an estimated 50,000 kitties from Gen 0. But the actual number of kitties will be larger since you can breed them.
HOW BIG IS THE HYPE?
Let's just look at the numbers here. CryptoKitties are bought using Ethereum. For our convenience, we'll be looking at the transactions in USD. The lowest price available for a CryptoKitty is at around 5 USD. The first Gen 0 kitty, Genesis, was sold at around 148327 USD back in December of last year. Today, some of the kitties have an astonishing price tag of over a million USD. And what's more astonishing is the fact that people are still buying them.
IF THESE CATS ARE DIGITAL, CAN'T THEY BE DUPLICATED OR PIRATED?
No. Unlike most digital items, CryptoKitties is built on the blockchain platform, which eliminates the risk of piracy and fraud. There can never be two or more kitties having all the same features or attributes. This is what separates CryptoKitties from other digital items. The CryptoKitties are rare and worth collecting in the sense that your kitty will only belong to you and no one else. This serves the purpose of collectibles.
IS THE HYPE WORTH IT?
There are two scenarios to this. The first being that you're a collector by nature and it's in your blood to collect rare items. You might just go out of your way to get your hands on the latest trend in collectibles.
The second is for the ones who have no intentions of collecting these kitties but are simply baffled by the way it works. Digital collectibles are new in the market and thanks to piracy; no one has been really bothered about these, till now. Blockchain is what enables such digital content to be unique, rare and most importantly, limited. No one can come up with a copy of a rare good and claim its legitimacy. Blockchain won't allow it. So in a sense, this platform can actually prevent piracy to a good extend. Of course, it cannot completely nullify it, but, it can take us a long way in preventing it. The idea of using blockchain for selling virtual art has also been creating a lot of buzz lately, and this is just the start. No one knows what to expect next when it comes to blockchain.
So either way, the interest towards this cute new concept is sure to build up.
Reference: The Cryptokitties Website
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