A game featuring digital kittens has become the most popular app on Ethereum
When Ethereum was launched in 2015, experts believed that it would be mainly used for supply and sales management. However, today, late 2017, the most popular app on Ethereum is the project not related to coins or business.
Launched on November 28, CryptoKitties game is leading the pack. ETH Gas Station reports that the app accounts for 11% of all transactions processed on Ethereum, although the figure equaled to only 4% on December 2. Such a volume partially blocks and slows down transactions of other users. Representative of CoinDesk Nolan Bauerle says that the number of transactions pending due to massive CryptoKitties traffic keeps growing.
The app was developed by AxiomZen and in some way resembles Pokemon card game. The main idea is to buy and breed animated kittens.
Every kitten has its own price; the cheapest kitten can cost less than a dollar, the average price is $109, and the most expensive kitten was sold for $117,712. Every cat is unique, and its personal traits are recorded on Ethereum. Overall, over 22,000 cats were sold at the total price of around three million dollars.
Developers released hundreds of “Gen 0” kittens when they launched the game. A new kitten is released every 15 minutes until November 2018; the price of each new kitten is calculated by adding the average price of the last five kittens that were sold and 50% of that amount. Starting from December, users can get new kittens only through breeding.
In the game, the process of breeding is called ‘siring’. Users can select their cats to act as a sire or mom and pay the siring fee. New kittens can be sold at the marketplace. Each kitten has its own 256-bit ‘genome’ that defines the background color, duration of the cooldown period before the next breeding (from an hour to a week; the shorter it is, the more a kitten costs), coloring, presence of spots and stripes, and many other things. Moreover, the code allows some genes to be recessive and appear in kittens bred by parents that do not possess such traits.
At the same time, there is no official ‘rarity scale’ for traits, as kittens are chosen by users, causing the increase of price for kittens with a popular genome. Users can only change the kitten’s name.
You won’t be able to see the genome, but the game has an open source code, so users may be able to adjust the breeding system in the nearest future. However, there is a percentage of luck that creators added to the process to allow getting a more expensive kitten from parents that didn’t cost much. However, users estimate first generation kittens at a higher price.
Developers earn 3.75% from in-game transactions. Moreover, if a user runs the sale through a smart contract rather than the game’s website, the fee won’t be taken.
Developers say they were not expecting the game to be successful. Their main task was not promoting the project, but creating a product that would make blockchain more accessible for the wide audience. They managed to achieve the goal – the game includes five smart contracts and every user receives a personal Ethereum address.
Popularity of the game has proven that Ethereum can serve as a gaming platform, not only a business tool. However, it has its own disadvantages – if popularity of the game and transaction volume continue to grow, the average cost of transactions will grow as well, and not only for players, but also for other users of Ethereum network.