People Are Plowing Millions Into ‘CryptoKitties’ And Breeding Them

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It was bound to happen... Cat people have hopped on the digital currency bandwagon and collectively plowed over $6.7 million into 'CryptoKitties' - an Ethereum-based virtual cat described as "breedable Beanie Babies," which have sold for upwards of $114,000. Each. The median price of CryptoKitties is $25.04.


"CryptoKitties players buy and sell unique digital kittens using ethereum. With two kittens, players can then breed their own digital kittens and sell them on the marketplace. The starting price is set by the user, and the price goes down until the end of the auction or the kitten is sold. The CryptoKitties team plans to release a new CryptoKitty every 15 minutes until Nov. 2018, whose starting price is set by the average of the last five CryptoKitties that were sold, plus 50 percent." -CNBC

There's a 256-bit 'genome' for each kitten, meaning there are 4 billion possible unique variations, according to the company. The reproduction rate for the randy CryptoCats is a distinguishing feature of the scheme, which features a "cooldown" time - or the time it takes a kitty to have a smoke, make a sandwich, and get back to breeding. The cooldown time varies from "fast" one minute breaks, to week-long "catatonic" breaks, and increases each time the kitty breeds.

Created by Vancouver company Axiom Zen, CryptoKitties launched on Thanksgiving in a limited offering to 200 people, and was opened to the public last Tuesday. Over 41,000 digital 'kittens' have been sold since then.

"The popularity of virtual cats fits the euphoria we see elsewhere in the crypto-currency space," Peter Atwater, who studies market sentiment and heads Financial Insyghts, said in an email to CNBC. "It feels very reminiscent of the Candy Crush craze that helped propel the King Entertainment IPO back at the peak of the 'Unicorn' era in mid 2014."

Source: Niel de la Rouviere

The CryptoKitties accounted for around 13.5 percent of the ethereum network's trading Wedensday morning, according to Benjamin Roberts, co-founder and CEO of Etherium-focused startup company, Citizen Hex.

"With Cryptokitties every Ethereum user has suddenly taken on the computational overhead of running a mainstream application," Roberts said in an email. "This overhead affects not only Cryptokitty transactions, but every other transaction on the Ethereum network."

In fact, thanks to the heavy load put on the Ethereum network, Blockchain project SophiaTX postponed its sale of tokens by 48 hours due to the CryptoKitties clogging the network.

CryptoKitties has also had to raise its "birthing fee" multiple times due to network congestion - from .002 ETH (.90c) to .0015 ($6.69).

Joseph Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum, responded to critics who said the network clearly lacks the ability to scale to a flood of demand:

"With the largest developer community of any blockchain platform by far, the Ethereum blockchain is in an excellent position, especially at this early stage, to be able to deliver on its potential," -Joseph Lubin

Digital Artwork

Struggling to find a valid reason why in the hell people are buying these cat-tulips, Joey Krug, co-chief investment officer at Pantera Capital and a very early investor in Bitcoin, says "From a high level, abstract point of view, this stuff is almost digital artwork, if you will. It doesn't have any inherent value other than what you think it's worth," adding "It does lend weight to the idea that the market is exuberant,' he said. But "just because a market is exuberant [it] doesn't mean that market is fraudulent."

CNBC continues:

The rapid surge of interest in CryptoKitties mirrors the exuberant growth of cryptoassets overall, which some have compared to the mania around tulip bulbs in the 1600s and the Beanie Babies fad in the 1990s. Enthusiasts of digital currencies and their blockchain technology point out that after the tech stock bubble burst in 2000, companies such as Facebook and Google emerged as giants.

Bitcoin has leaped more than 1,200 percent this year to a record above $12,800, according to CoinDesk. Ethereum has climbed 5,500 percent to $446, and the entire market value of cryptocurrencies has exploded from around $17 billion at the start of this year to nearly $376 billion Wednesday, according to CoinMarketCap.

Ethereum's version of blockchain technology allows developers to create applications on top of the network, which does not need a centralized, third party to operate. Proponents say the system could transform the world as much as the internet did.

"The tulip mania comparison needs to die," said Brian Patrick Eha, author of How Money Got Free: Bitcoin and the Fight for the Future of Finance. "Whether or not there is a bubble today in the price of bitcoin and other digital assets, you can't compare a short-lived fervor for exotic flowers with the rise of an entirely new asset class built on game-changing technology."

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MrBoompi's picture

Please tell me this came from The Onion.  If it's real I am concerned about the future of the human race.  

taketheredpill's picture

The last photo is disgusting. Who chews up food and regurgitates it into a cat's mouth?


Arnold's picture

Small animal CPR, there shortbus.

ironmace's picture

Whats that girl doing with that animal?

Anyway, whole things retarded.

Yellow_Snow's picture

This is excellent marketing strategy to introduce youths to crypto's...  genius  !!!

Azannoth's picture

There's a 256-bit 'genome' for each kitten, meaning there are 4 billion possible unique variations - errr no there are 256 * 256 * 256 * 256.. repeat the(256) 32x - possiblilities, that number is.. errr a bit bigger than 4 billion ;)

MrMorden's picture

Azannoth, you are correct.  256 bit is a number equal to 2^256 (2 to the 256th power).  It's about 15 with 76 zeroes after it.

Yellow_Snow's picture

Now finally we have a product investment for the 'oldbug' no-coiner's  !!!

cyclingscholar's picture

A btter name would be crypto-pu$$y. 

iamrefreshed's picture

Those charts look familiar...BTC maybe?

Azannoth's picture

So you're telling me that people pay actuall money for a random sequence of 256bits? That has no special meaning or use!

Yellow_Snow's picture

But they are so cuddly cute...

Flankspeed60's picture

It is now obvious that the effects of a debt-fueled, consumption-based economy that is mathematically impossible to sustain has not yet penetrated the psyches of a substantial number of people. The belief that all of their tomorrows will look like all their yesterdays, only better, propelled by nothing more than ethereal, magical thinking, reflects the degree to which we have succumbed to charlatans and propagandists. Insulating our children from these destructive forces is becoming more difficult every day.

Virgil_Cain_76's picture

Let me know when they come out with CrptoTitties

Gbob Zburner's picture

Do you need 4 Crypto titties to breed, or just two of the same?

DC Beastie Boy's picture

The fear of no more options will be extinguished when everyone realizes there’s several thousand more options with crypto.

Thom Paine's picture

Govt thinking...some people made some big profits....hmmm taxes. yum yum

bitfalls's picture

People are hating on it a lot, but CryptoKitties is the best thing that could have happened to the Ethereum network. It's a benign stress test and demonstration of scaling issues, while at the same time being an excellent demonstration of what's possible with the blockchain. The fact that people are throwing millions into kittens is just proof that no one really considers all this to be real money. Yet.

Mustafa Kemal's picture

"is just proof that no one really considers all this to be real money. Yet."

I dispute the "no one" part. Logically, the conclusion is "some dont"

I aint gonna spend anything on cryptokitties.

This sounds like pokemon go for rich people

Zero-risk bias's picture

well, as you say, the whole cat love thing has its uses, and can be viewed as such. There have been other stress tests for the networks, such as the Status-im ico funding which had a similar effect.

Your second point is subjective at this stage. Just because there are those who have little value of their time or money, doesn't mean that's an accurate representation of the larger community. I'd hope,