What is blockchain technology?
It's a digital ledger that permits ultra-secure, decentralized, and instant transactions. Blockchain underlies digital currencies such as Bitcoin, the multi-billion-dollar cryptocoin whose mania has gripped the financial tech world over the last several weeks.
Does that mean we could get rich on CryptoKitties in 2018?
Probably not. Although you can buy, sell, rent, and trade CryptoKitties, they aren't the same as the virtual world currency used by cybercriminals, billionaires, and tech whizzes. Instead, these kitties are pieces in a game created for people who love cats and who want to learn more about blockchain. Axiom Zen set up the game to teach people the basics of cybercurrency. The kitties in the game operate much like a Bitcoin … except they are cryptocollectibles instead of currency. And yes, they look like animated cats.
Here's how you play.
Go to the CryptoKitties site, and install a wallet.
In cybercurrency parlance, awalletis the place traders can send, store, or receive digital currency. Some currencies have their own dedicated wallets. Others recommend using a cryptobank where you can store a third-party wallet. Unlike the wallet you may carry in your pocket or handbag, a crypto wallet stores a combination of private and public keys. These keys have codes that allow the trader to move his or her currency.
CryptoKitties dubbed its wallet MetaMask.
To get started in the game, you must download MetaMask. You'll also need to own a bit of Ether, the currency used to buy and sell the kitties. Ether is the second-largest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin. If you are a US citizen, you can buy Ether inside MetaMask. Players who live in other countries can purchase the currency through an exchange such as Coinbase.
Once you have some Ether and a wallet to put it in, you're ready to start buying, breeding, selling, and trading CryptoKitties. You can trace ownership of your cat from sale to sale like you can with any collectible item. But unlike a figurine, stamp, or coin, a cryptokitty can mate with another cryptokitty to produce 100% unique offspring.
The new cryptokitty gets its identifiers, such as fur color, markings, and eye color, through its singular digital identity. It's a system much like human DNA and genetics. With four billion possible combinations of the cryptokitty digital genome, Ethereum is unlikely to run out of unique cats.
Confused yet? Someone asked Cryptokitty to describe its product in simple terms. The folks there said, "Think breedable Beanie Babies."
How popular is this game?
Insanely popular. Six days after CryptoKitties launched, it owned 16% of Ethereum's transactions. At that point, gamers had invested $3 million plus in the game, the average cat traded for $100, and someone had bought the genesis cat for more than $117,000.Within a month, 180,000 people had spent $20 million in Ethereum on digital cats.
Why did Ethereum choose a cat theme?
CryptoKitties' maker Mack Flavelle said, "I had the idea that if you are going to build consumer interest products, you should not explain why you are using cats. You should explain why you arenotusing cats -- that it is opt out, not opt in."
Clearly, our well-loved pets can conquer our hearts and homes as well as our internet videos and Bitcoin. Maybe, we should get to work designing a crypto-litter box that lets online animated cats do their business in style.
Or perhaps, we should stick to what we do best -- making life happier and healthier for you and your real-life cat.
* Modkat does not hold any CryptoKitties or cryptocurrency. The above information should not be taken as investment advice. It is for general knowledge purposes only. You should do your own research before buying any Bitcoins or cryptocurrency.