CryptoKitties is a blockchain-based game launched in November 2017 by Dapper Labs. The essence of the game is the breeding and sale of Kitties. The beginning of the gameplay was laid by a hundred Founder Kitties. Each of them has a set of unique characteristics, such as the color and shape of the eyes, mouth, pattern, color of the coat, and even purring. Each CryptoKitty is unique and can exist in the blockchain only in a single copy. Naturally, Kitties of early generations usually cost more because of the “rarity” and because they typically have shorter intervals between mating (more on this later).
How to Play CryptoKitties
CryptoKitties exist of two sexes, male and female, dame and sire. The player must either buy two Kitties or have one and rent the other to breed. After breeding a female and a male, the game’s KittyOwnership smart contract will create a new CryptoKitty. New-born Kitties inherit the traits of their parents but note that some genes are recessive. Also, keep in mind that some genetic combinations can create mutations.
The gestation period of CryptoKitties lasts in different ways. After your CryptoKitty has given birth, you can breed your CryptoKitties together again. Still, a certain amount of time must pass between “siring” — the pause (cooldown) lasts longer with each generation. And here there is a cooldown characteristic that affects the value of each individual:
- Fast (one minute)
- Swift (up to five minutes)
- Snappy (10-30 minutes)
- Brisk (1-2 hours)
- Plodding (4-8 hours)
- Slow (16 hours or a day)
- Sluggish (up to 4 days)
- Catatonic (week)
The Evolution of CryptoKitties
CryptoKitties was the first game to use the principle of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), using the ERC-721 protocol standard. They differ from ordinary tokens in that each of them is unique, inimitable, and indivisible — one NFT cannot be replaced by another or divided into parts. CryptoKitties immediately went viral: users spent tens of millions of dollars on it. A month after its release, the game took 15% of the traffic of the Ethereum network and significantly rebooted it. Kitties were resold for $100,000, fan forums quickly appeared, and copycat games were launched. In September 2018, the most expensive CryptoKitty Dragon was sold, which went up for auction for an insane 600 ETH. In the summer of 2018, Dapper Labs launched the KittyVerse ecosystem, allowing third-party companies to launch their own products based on CryptoKitties.
The company has also established a public API, a flexible license, and a support fund. Thanks to this, it managed to create dozens of applications with integrated support for CryptoKitties. Users of OpenSea, Kitty Hats, KittyRaces, CryptoVoxels, Decentraland, and many other games can transfer their CryptoLitties from one game world to another.
Getting In the Flow
Over time, the excitement around the game passed: Kitties began to be sold less often, the average price dropped to a few cents, there were almost no new users, the game was no longer mentioned in the media. The main problem of CryptoKitties on Ethereum is scalability. After the decline of the hype around CryptoKitties, the number of players has sharply decreased. To solve this problem, back in 2018, Dapper Labs began work on its own Flow blockchain, focused on the gaming industry, the development of DApps, digital assets, and NFTs. In September 2019, Dapper Labs raised $11.2 million for its development. In comments to CoinDesk, Dapper Labs co-founder Dieter Shirley said that the company tried to use one of the ready-made blockchains claiming to be the “killer of Ethereum” for its purposes but did not find a suitable one. So, popular among game developers, Tron was considered too centralized by the project team. As a result, it was decided that developing its specialized blockchain solution for NFT projects is more efficient.
The transition to Flow will increase the scalability of CryptoKitties, allow 3D animation to be integrated into the game, and significantly reduce costs. The developers will continue to support the initial version of CryptoKitties on Ethereum after launching the game on Flow. At the same time, the Kitties created on Ethereum can be transferred to the new blockchain. Moreover, Kitties of both blockchains can be bred with each other. Most importantly, CryptoKitties will be able to interact with other virtual worlds on Flow.
To date, cryptocurrencies are far from the popularity they had in 2017. According to c NFT Stats, over the past seven days, only 364 CryptoKitties were sold at an average price of $51. But this veteran has not sunk into oblivion. With the transition to Flow, it is expected that the project will again become a leader and will be able to return to its 2017 heights.