In 2017 the online game CryptoKitties stormed the international gaming market. Thanks to modern blockchain technology, it was now possible to earn money in addition to playing; The cryptocurrency Ethereum is traded. But how has the CryptoKitties company developed over time?
How does the game work?
The principle of CryptoKitties is actually relatively simple: Since entering the market in 2017, a new generation zero kitten has been generated via the game code every 15 minutes for a year. This was then auctioned off among the players: The so-called gen0 kitten goes to the participant who bids the most. However, payment is not made with ordinary money, but with the crypto currency Ethereum.
As a user, you then have two options: it can be traded or bred. If you trade, you transfer your cat equipped with specific properties to another player, in return you receive the agreed amount of Ethereum. If you decide to mate your cat, a fee has to be paid in Ethereum for this too. When mating, the CryptoKitty codes are combined to create a new individual code for a new kitten, the offspring.
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CryptoKitties are based on blockchain technology
CryptoKitties is a pioneer in online games based on blockchain technology. Just like with other cryptocurrencies – for example Bitcoin – all properties and transactions are stored in a blockchain with Ethereum. This is a decentralized database that is distributed across countless computers around the world, which means that any transaction can be viewed and traced at any time. Due to this principle, each kitten has its own address in the shared blockchain and is therefore unique in the CryptoKitties environment.
Worth a CryptoKitty
Every cat has a value expressed in Ethereum, which results from various characteristics such as age, appearance and characteristics. Rare cats are cats with special characteristics, which are called “cattributes”, and are accordingly significantly more valuable than cats without any special characteristics. In 2017 the “Zeit” reports that the cheapest kittens currently cost around 3.50 euros; the most valuable cat at that time was “Genesis” – the very first CryptoKitty – with 100,000 euros. In general, the older a cat, the more valuable it is.
A new record was set on May 12, 2018. As part of the first live auction, a CryptoKitty was auctioned for 140,000 US dollars, as the “New York Times” reported. Many more maximum sums have been paid since then. “Digital Trends” wrote in September 2018 about a sold CryptoKitty worth 170,000 US dollars.
How does the CryptoKitties company make its money?
But not only the players, but also the Canadian company Axiom Zen, which launched CryptoKitties in November 2017, earns its money from the blockchain game. The company receives a share of 3.75 percent per transaction, i.e. per pairing or sale of a kitten, explains Arthur Camara, a software developer in the CryptoKitties team, to Vice. So if a kitten is sold to a prospect for 100 euros, 3.75 euros goes to Animoca Brands. In addition, in the first year of entry into the market, the company also generated considerable sales by auctioning the gen0 kittens.
Sales and user development of CryptoKitties
In a recently published analysis of the transaction data from 2017/2018, the portal “flipsidecrypto” estimates that the developers of CryptoKitties earned 6.937 million US dollars in the first year. At the end of 2017, the New York Times reported that 180,000 people had already registered on the website; Overall, users spent approximately $ 20 million on the blockchain game. According to “cryptoslate”, the number of CryptoKitties users had risen to 1.5 million by March 2018, and the turnover achieved at that time was 12 million US dollars.
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CryptoKitties hype seems to be leveling off
Overall, however, the hype about online cats seems to have steadily flattened out since 2018. According to its own information, CryptoKitties itself still recorded over two million transactions on the blockchain in 2019 – more than any other DApp (decentralized app) – and 100,000 CryptoKitties owners in May 2020.
Nevertheless, the “Kryptoszene” platform, like many other crypto news websites, reported a significant drop in user numbers in August 2018. At this point in time, Cryptokitties was only in 11th place among the top DApps and, according to the crypto scene, had fewer than 270 users per day. And the blockchain news website “ICO.li” also reported in December 2018 that the hype about cryptokitties was over. The median of a Cryptokitty price is said to have been USD 41 in 2017, compared to only around USD 5 at the end of 2018. And even now it seems as if the CryptoKitties have left their best days behind them: In the last 30 days, the DApp only recorded around 1,840 users. (Status: October 12, 2020) Pauline Breitner / finanzen.net editors