Move over Bitcoin. It’s time for…CryptoKitties? Well yes, just ask the man who has made more money trading the digital felines than investing in his IRA. Or the cat aficionado who sold their “genesis” kitty for over $100,000.
Reminiscent of the Beanie Baby buying boom of years past, the CryptoKitties game has become widely popular after its release in late November. Situated on the Ethereum network, users can breed and collect virtual cats and then conduct transactions with Ether. All of the kitties are totally unique and are recorded on the public ledger for Ethereum.
The computerized cats have attracted a flurry of activity that has led to an influx of bots designed to hunt down good deals. The entire game even slowed down the Ethereum network by 11% last week due to high demand.
One of the main strengths of CryptoKitties is its popularity, in that it’s broken down the barriers of perceived inaccessibility associated with blockchain. It’s a user-friendly way for just about anyone to start exploring concepts like decentralized ledgers, cryptocurrency, and Bitcoin. The CryptoKitties team have also discussed their progress towards building a mobile app since the game has become so popular.
Some dismiss CryptoKitties as a frivolous fad that’s simply a consequence of a cryptocurrency market where everyone is looking to strike it rich. Others see it as a hint. A hint that programs and games powered by blockchain technology could bring earth-shattering changes to global gaming, exchanges, and app markets.
In fact, people are already looking forward to it.
Much has already been written on how people can build games on Ethereum that are similar to CryptoKitties. One Medium post from entrepreneur James Martin Duffy does a quick breakdown of the game’s source code in a hope to “start to see a lot more innovative uses of the blockchain for games like this in the future.”
Photo: Motherboard @ Vice
Several companies are going beyond just creating games similar to CryptoKitties, and are taking steps on their own to wholly revolutionize gaming through the power of the blockchain.
In preparation for a January 20, 2018 launch, the Wild Crypto lottery and eGaming platform recently appointed a CEO. The company intends to disrupt the entire gaming industry next year as users spend ‘WILD Tokens’ to play games on the site. The company was propelled forward by a successful September token sale that saw 10,592 Ether being raised.
GameCredits Inc and Unity Technologies also recently agreed to partner up to bring cryptocurrency to billions of gamers around the world. The deal between the two companies’ merges ‘GAME’ digital currency inside the Unity engine, which is used in about ½ of all modern mobile games.
Both companies hope the deal brings “the benefits of blockchain and digital assets to the largest global audience yet” and hastens the adoption of these technologies by people totally unfamiliar with the digital currency world.
This same idea is also being seized upon by blockchain gaming company CRYCASH. They launched a public crowd sale this week to build a platform for their cryptocurrency token, and also agreed with German video game developer Crytek to let gamers use the cryptocurrency as a payment method in Crytek’s marketplace.
Even with all of the blockchain innovation in the gaming space, there’s still a lot of hurdles to overcome. The immense opportunities that come from building a revolutionary platform equals a lot of competition for startups looking to jump in. It also requires strong and stable partnerships with industry leaders who get gaming. These can be tricky to find and maintain.
Still, opportunity is rife. The gaming industry is estimated to have an annual volume of at least $128 billion by 2020.
So even if you think trading virtual cats for large sums of money is the weirdest thing in 2017, it’s actually really great. In all their digital glory, CryptoKitties are a signpost of the growing marriage of blockchain and gaming that should prove to be pretty spectacular in the future.