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Nine Lives Ahead: A Look To The Past And Future Of CryptoKitties




With the recent birth of the millionth Kitty, what’s next for the Dapp?

Vulcat was born on September 12, and it was fire. This birth-by-flame marks 1,000,000 CryptoKitties pouncing on Ethereum – and only 288 days, or around nine months, after the Dapp launched.

Despite the game's initial effect on the speed of the network, or the various slumps experienced by the larger cryptocurrency market, the popularity of these cute digital cats is unwavering. In fact, CryptoKitties consistently hovers within the top five most trafficked games on Ethereum, according to DappRadar.

The game has emerged as a cultural phenomenon. The concept of "CryptoKitties as art," for instance, has been made abundantly clear through various museum exhibitions that feature the pixelated cats. It could be said that a telltale sign that a product or service has "made it" is when it becomes (or is treated as) art – just take a look at Andy Warhol's famous canvases of Campbell's soup. Plus, fans have gotten CryptoKitties tattoos, another clear demonstration of the cats' successful integration into blockchain culture.

The Dapp also boasts a KittyVerse, which is the team's term for all the developers building on top of CryptoKitties' application programming interface. One third-party developer, Kitty.Kred, recently unveiled a Dapp that transforms the Kitties into collectible coins. With examples like this, the greater Ethereum community has undoubtedly shown an interest in the fuzzy, and sometimes weird, cat-faced non-fungible tokens.

With all this success though – and in a relatively short amount of time – what comes next for CryptoKitties? ETHNews spoke with Bryce Bladon, one of the team's founding members and the "cool cat" responsible for the Dapp's brand and communications, to find out.

One short-term project the crew is working on is a new gene for the Kitties called a Purrstige trait. Bladon said this gene is "time-limited" and "has a lot of attributes similar to how Fancy Cats are created." For CryptoKitties newcomers, a Fancy Cat is a rare type of Kitty with custom art, generated when players create a cat with a certain combination of Cattributes (the game's name for a cat's characteristics). The Purrstige gene differs from Fancy Cats in that it is one specific trait that, when unlocked, can "change the shape of the art in a very unique way."

Regarding the longer term, however, Bladon spoke more generally about CryptoKitties' progress. He noted that there are 50 teams currently building projects in the KittyVerse, 12 of which were established within a month of the Dapp's launch. "We have seen developer adoption only go up since launching," he elaborated.

Bladon also emphasized the Dapp's shift from product to platform, which he believes "has been unbelievably interesting and very promising," especially when it comes to the broader blockchain industry and mainstream adoption of the technology. He noted that it is "very important that other creators can actually be building things, especially on top of established concepts like CryptoKitties."

Moreover, Bladon expressed his enthusiasm for the intersection of Kitties and art. He believes that art, like games in general, can "expedite understanding of something" – in this case, that something is the blockchain technology underpinning the CryptoKitties game. The way that art can be used to express a concept "in a new and interesting way," he maintains, goes "hand in hand with emerging technologies" like blockchain.

Although he was not able to provide more specifics about projects and developments in the Kitty pipeline, Bladon said there would be two or three key announcements in the coming weeks. Regarding this forthcoming news, he noted, "Our goal is to allow everyday people to actually experience the value of blockchain so that they can be a part of its future." The CryptoKitties crew, as such, has "some pretty big ambitions with the next thing" it is developing.

CryptoKitties might be misunderstood. The game might receive dismissive scoffs or headshakes. It also might frustrate an individual trying to understand why anybody would pay $140,000 for a digital cat based on some lines of code. Despite all these reactions, though, the collectibles-driven game has won over the hearts of many, and the team continues to think nine lives ahead.

Correction (9/25/2018): An earlier version of this article misspelled "Purrstige" as "prestige" and failed to capitalize "Cattributes." Apologies.

Dani Putney

Dani is a full-time writer for ETHNews. They received their bachelor's degree in English writing from the University of Nevada, Reno, where they also studied journalism and queer theory. In their free time, they write poetry, play the piano, and fangirl over fictional characters. They live with their partner, three dogs, and two cats in the middle of nowhere, Nevada.

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