I bought kitties on CryptoKitties when popularity seemed to peak back in December 2017. At the same time Ethereum hit a $1000 and Bitcoin shot up to $20,000. So I did what any sane person would do and transferred 1 ETH to buy and sell digital cats. It was interesting because this digital economy reminded me a lot of games like Travian that have in game economies, or an even more relevant site would be Neopets which has items you can buy and sell using points you earn from playing games. It’s actually where I got interested in HTML as I learned how to customize the look of my shop.
Back to digital cats. The fact that you could create games on the blockchain was revolutionary and I wanted to try it. I wanted to learn how it works and be a part of history. In the end my account has 41 kittens. I put some up for sale but I want to keep a few forever. The site may go away one day but the fact that I own a cat will always be stored on the Ethereum blockchain which is pretty cool. Although the cat is just a hash or an id, if you look at my account on the blockchain all you will see is a bunch of transactions with the only thing hinting at kitties being the name of the smart contract.
How does CryptoKitties work?
CryptoKitties is a game played on the blockchain using smart contracts. Players initially have to buy a cat using Ethereum which costs real money. They can then choose to breed their cat with someone else’s cat or buy a second cat to breed with. Breeding will create a new cat with traits based on the previous generations of cats or sometimes random mutations. Players can also decide to sire their cats for others to breed with or sell the cats they have. But be careful, every time you breed your cats their breed times will decrease.
Everything you do in CryptoKitties will cost gas, gas is what is used to pay for work executed on the blockchain and is paid with Ethereum. In order to use a site like CryptoKitties you will need a browser plugin like MetaMask that acts as a wallet for your ethereum. There are also browsers that support communication with the Ethereum Blockchain.
The most valuable kitties are those with a low generation and preferably some rare traits. The gen 0 kitties were pretty expensive so I decided not to buy one. But please keep in mind that the gen 0 kitties are the only kitties that are limited. There will be an unlimited amount of kitties for all others, the slowest breeding time is one week and when this is reached you can simply keep breeding over and over again.
What did I learn?
I think it’s awesome that people are creating games on the blockchain. However, I think we have a long way to go before we can actually have anything decent going. I imagine that one day this blockchain technology will be much faster and efficent. This would allow us to instantly buy and sell on the blockchain. This would make games much more interactive and we could buy and sell digital goods in a secure way similar to how games like second life work today.
If you are interested in learning how to program games on the blockchain there is a free code school that teaches you how to do this called CryptoZombies.