Long ago, cats conquered the internet, and this year, blockchain took over business systems. When that happened, we cat lovers knew it was only a matter of time until our pets dominated this new technology, too.
And we were right. On November 28, 2017, a Canadian company called Axiom Zen unveiled CryptoKitties, a cat-inspired game built on blockchain technology.
That made it official: cats have taken over blockchain.
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.
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 asCoinbase.
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.
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.