micro-chips Technology

What are CryptoKitties?

When CryptoKitties, founded by Bryce Blandon, made its way into crypto-economics, anyone with a keen eye on blockchain had a remarkable reaction on the spectrum. The game requires users to trade and breed virtual kittens between the established store and other users on the Ethereum blockchain.

The chain’s valuable digital coin, ether, is loaded on a virtual wallet for use in-game.

Technically known as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), these virtual items keep changing in value over time. This is determined by a barrage of factors, but follows a pattern similar to age-old collectible card games like Pokémon and baseball cards. Such cards currently sell for a generous premium, resembling the structure that CryptoKitties follow. After all, cryptographically unique collectibles open up the doors for an entirely new kind of digital asset.

And what tends to make things go viral? Cute animals, of course.

But it’s a real thing, and much like other crypto-entities, they have a report with official information and proposals too. Instead of calling it a white paper, the team quirkily calls it a ‘White Pa-purr.’

How does it work?

That said, the official website clarifies that CryptoKitties are not currency, but rather crypto-collectibles. The value of a feline is determined by the supply and demand for that breed. If demand is substantial, it can be auctioned to other players for a profit. The digital kittens are available from under a dollar to upwards of six figures.

There is a processing fee to the trade, which is best explained by the Gas and Fees guide available on the CryptoKitties webpage, which states, “Whenever you buy, breed, and create or cancel an auction, your request gets sent to miners on the Ethereum network who crunch the numbers and confirm the transaction... For that service, the miners receive a network fee paid by the person submitting the transaction request. That fee is determined by two factors: the ‘Gas Price’ of your transaction and the amount of gas used to process it.”

The various CryptoKitties as shown on the official website

The various CryptoKitties as shown on the official website   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

But there’s a market wall: “‘Gas Limit’ sets the maximum amount of computational power you’ll allow the miner to use before they top out and stop processing your request.”

‘CryptoKitties: A case study’ by Julia M Sufrin from the University of Texas at the Austin School of Information, however, pegs the surge in participation to a clog in the Ethereum network, which caused transactional issues in the system.

The co-founder of Blocumen Studios and Blockchained India, Manav Ailawadi, adds that “it would be a good thing to explore” and understand the workings of a game on the platform. (However, it was difficult to find a contact who was willing to discuss the intricacies of NFTs, as most serious blockchain users only deal with currency investments like Bitcoin, Dash and Ripple.)

So where does CryptoKitties stand? Julia observes, “There are now, of course, other kinds of crypto-collectibles on the market, though each lacks the powerful network effect that CryptoKitties has developed,” but also notes there are some problems worth second and third looks — the primary being resistance by crypto-enthusiasts..

Despite these issues, we bet these adorable digi-cats aren’t close to giving up.

Byte-sized play-by-plays of tech concepts

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 4:55:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/microchips-cryptokitties-collectibles-cryptocurrency/article28125335.ece

Next Story