For all the bold claims made about the world-changing potential of the Blockchain, it seems that the world’s leading ICO platform, Ethereum, is now being dominated by one particular demographic: people with an obsession for cute cats.
CryptoKitties, a virtual marketplace for digital cats, has become enormously popular since it was launched last week, and is now responsible for nearly 14% of all transactions on the Ethereum blockchain.
Customised Cartoon Cats
Made by Canadian studio AxiomZen, the game allows users to buy, sell and breed cartoon cats. Attributes (dubbed, “cattributes”) are inheritable so you can make your own kitties and sell them for ETH at auction.
The game also functions as a way for those unfamiliar with basic blockchain concepts to become comfortable with making and receiving payments. Running on the MetaMask wallet, the game allows new users to get familiar with this the Chrome plug-in, all the while enjoying the lovely cats.
Axiom Zen Marketing Director Elsa Wilk said the game was designed to gently satirize the ICO world:
“Our approach to brand and marketing is, in part, a tongue-in-cheek critique of the ICO market today.”
He added that, although blockchain could be a revolutionary technology, “opportunists, investment froth, and a lack of consideration for everyday consumers is distracting folks from the technology’s long-term potential.”
Kitten Hard Cap
Rather than selling tokens to fund the development of a technology, the kitties themselves are the tokens, and the technology is already developed. Users may buy kitties from the developers, or from other users, in which case the developers take a percentage of the price. The more users there are the more valuable are the tokens.
New kittens will be generated every 15 minutes for the next year. After that, they may only be created by breeding existing specimens.
Each cat is an object on the blockchain, meaning that even if the makers shut up shop, lucky breeders will own their cats forever. This opens up the possibility for the first crypto-collectables, though whether your Mr. Tiddles becomes the next X-Men #1, it’s a little early to call.