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Blockchain Semantics Blog How are cats Blocking traffic on Ethereum?

How are cats Blocking traffic on Ethereum?

By Anurag Srivastava | April 6, 2018, 7:04 a.m. GMT

Cryptokitties, launched in November of this year, is a popular Blockchain-based game one could say. One could also say it is another exhibit that proves how much our society is willing to spend on a game and how games (apart from, pornography) of course will continue to be a source of some serious internet traffic, Blockchain or not.

What is it?

For the end user, it is a game where you can collect and breed kitties. Each kitty is visually and genetically different from others and there will be billions of them. You find a mom kitty and a dad kitty and leave them to breed. After a successful gestation period, a new kitty will be born which would inherit the qualities of her parents. You can then list your kitties on the marketplace for other gamers to buy. Simple!

The Technology behind it

It is built on the Ethereum Blockchain platform. The developers have put together Smart Contracts that are responsible for giving birth to a new kitty every 15 minutes, tracking transactions on market place, maintaining ownership of kitties. Every transaction takes place on Blockchain giving the gamers peace of mind about ownership now being truly the same as ownership forever. The gamers can rely on the platform that their uniquely bred kitties are safe and nobody can steal it. If you are thinking “Hey! This is how we thought the Ethereum platform will be used to track and trade ownership of real estate!”, yes you are right. All that is happening too, in the meantime let’s own and trade digital cats please. 

And yes, it costs real money too, like real estate. You need to have some (real) Ethers in your MetaMask wallet to buy and breed your kitties. Other wallets are not yet supported, but given how this phenomenon is surging, other wallets could come in soon. 

The Planet of the Kitties

The Beta version of the game was launched in November 2017 and so far people have spent millions of US Dollars buying and breeding these crypto kitties. It accounts for 25-30% of all the transactions on the Ethereum network globally. That’s massive! 

Hiccups

The popularity of crypto kitties has almost brought the Ethereum network to a standstill. There is a huge number of pending transactions in the pool and users have to shell out quite a bit of gas for the transactions to go through. It is speculated that the game is also losing some steam as there are too many kitties in the market now and too few buyers. 

My two WEIs 

The popularity of this game is an eye opener for the Ethereum community. One popular game on the platform and the network chokes. The development community of Ethereum (and Bitcoin?) is aware and thinking through the scaling implications. There is no doubt that the community is actively working on it. In fact Vitalik Buterin mentioned a few days back that Ethereum will be able to support the scale of VISA by 2020. Whether these purr-purrings..ahem..murmurings translate into true scale-up is the billion-ether question to be answered now. 

In the reductionist world that we live in, where anything that can be digitised will be digitised, Crypto-Kitty is a significant notch. Blockchain stands well and truly unleashed upon us!

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