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CryptoKitties aims to make blockchain technology accessible by leveraging the power of fun
Axiom Zen, a venture studio specializing in emerging technology, is the team behind CryptoKitties – the world’s first game built on the Ethereum network. Releasing to the public on November 28th, users can collect and breed digital cats called CryptoKitties. The game uses ether (ETH), a digital currency, for all its transactions.
Most of the game’s appeal comes from its breeding system and the unique offspring that can emerge from it. When two CryptoKitties breed, their offspring’s appearance, biography, and traits result from each parent’s 256-bit genome, leading to 4-billion possible genetic variations.
The CryptoKitties economy is entirely decentralized and impossible for the development team to manipulate,” says Dieter Shirley, CryptoKitties’ Technical Architect. “Anyone on the team with knowledge of the breeding algorithm is prohibited from playing.
On Thursday, November 23rd, CryptoKitties launched its closed beta to 200 early access users. Within three hours, the decentralized app (dApp) was the third most active smart contract on the Ethereum network, accounting for roughly 2% of all Ether transactions.
Since then, over 25 ETH (roughly $11,750 USD) has been used to collect and breed CryptoKitties, and there are roughly 34 CryptoKitties for every early access user.
CryptoKitties launched their alpha at ETHWaterloo, the Ethereum hackathon, in October, 2017. The team also won the hackathon with Rufflet, a mixpanel application for smart contracts.
The reaction to CryptoKitties in Waterloo was incredibly validating,” says Benny Giang, CryptoKitties’ Head of Community. “We helped crypto newcomers set up a MetaMask wallet, call a function on our smart contract, and come out of the other end being super enthusiastic about everything blockchain.
Dmitry Buterin, founder of BlockGeeks, and father of Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, was an early CryptoKitties advocate. Buterin helped design an exclusive CryptoKitty that the game’s community can unlock through breeding.
Unlike most blockchain projects, CryptoKitties ignored the traditional ICO approach, opting instead for a sustainable revenue model. A small percentage of each marketplace transaction will support the project, though it’s possible for users to avoid this small fee by operating outside of the CryptoKitties’ supported marketplace.
Our approach to brand and marketing is, in part, a tongue-in-cheek critique of the ICO market today,” says Elsa Wilk, CryptoKitties Marketing Director. Wilk was Marketing Director during Civic Technologies’ 2017 ICO, which sold out in less than a day, netting $33 million USD and earning it praise as one of the most reputable ICO efforts to date.
Blockchain technology could be the biggest technology revolution since the Internet,” says Wilk, “but opportunists, investment froth, and a lack of consideration for everyday consumers is distracting folks from the technology’s long-term potential.
CryptoKitties team members include startup founders, early crypto advocates, and blockchain specialists from a diverse range of backgrounds.