Move over Bitcoin, there’s a new crypto craze.
Ethereum-based viral game, CryptoKitties burst onto the scene over the weekend and is now overwhelming the entire Ethereum network as users frantically buy, breed and sell their own digital Kitties.
Think of it as a decentralized Tamagotchi. But since CryptoKitties is played on the Ethereum blockchain, there’s no central entity or server managing the game. Instead, each user owns their own Kitties (stored on their Ethereum wallet). And because everything is stored on the public Ethereum blockchain, each CryptoKitties transaction will live forever.
Whether you think that’s a good thing is up for debate.
On the one hand, the game is making Ethereum fun and accessible to non techies. It’s a user-friendly interface and you get to try out wallets, gas, transactions and a decentralized ledger. Based on the explosive growth over the last few days, it appears that’s something people really want.
However, there is a major downside. With so many people transacting, the Ethereum blockchain is struggling to keep up with all the activity. Remember, there are limits on the number of computations that can be done on the blockchain at any one time.
You can check out the latest transactions (and search for record purchases) yourself at this website.
First up, this has shown that Ethereum (and the blockchain in general) is just waiting for that ‘killer’ dApp to take it mainstream.
Second, Ethereum and crypto in general is complicated. Having a user-friendly gateway is the perfect way to introduce non-techies to the blockchain. And there’s nothing more user-friendly that breeding and trading your own virtual cats. CryptoKitties will be many user’s first taste of the power of the blockchain.
However, it also shows that Ethereum really isn’t ready for Primetime. The network is too slow to support anything close to a mainstream adoption. This isn’t news to anyone close to the development of Ethereum. But this is likely going to accelerate the already fast-paced projects aimed at scaling Ethereum to support more transactions.
One thing’s for sure. There’s a rabid market of Ethereum holders out there just waiting for that first ‘killer dApp’ to spend their ether.
You can find out more about CryptoKitties on their FAQ page.
Are you interested in learning more about crypto and Bitcoin? Check out our free Bitcoin for Beginners course here.