CryptoKitties: A Fun Project for Beginners and Enthusiasts

Introduce your friends to Ethereum with an addictive array of virtual reality kittens powered by the blockchain.

Working with addresses and wallets can be nerve-wracking. But there is a way to introduce friends to Ethereum and its capabilities, through a user-friendly game. The game does not have a mobile version yet, since it relies on the MetaMask wallet, and it cannot run on phones for payments.

CryptoKitties is a virtual reality marketplace of cats, uniquely created and bought and sold for ETH at an auction. 

"Think breedable Beanie Babies," the project promises.

CryptoKitties is a marketplace of unique, breedable cartoonish cats with collectible characteristics. The price they command in ETH can range from a few cents to a few dollars. And while the game may make someone think of "tulip bulbs" outright, it is a crash course in using crypto. 

New users will get familiar with the MetaMask Chrome extension, with safely storing a 12-word seed, as well as sending and receiving Ethereum for a small gas fee. 

The CryptoKitties themselves have guaranteed unique characteristics, ensured by cryptography- what is not to like about that?

CryptoKitties are the first crypto-collectible, a unique asset that may one day command a value, not unlike baseball cards or unique comic books. The marketplace is still quite young, and it remains to be seen which kitties grow valuable. But even if the game looks like a waste of time, it is certainly promising in educating the public, and is a nice test of the technology in real life. 

Instead of a "block", a new CryptoKitty of Generation 0 is generated every 15 minutes- and the generation of new kittens will only go on for one year. After that, new kittens will be generated by breeding. The process looks like a good metaphor for explaining proof-of-work versus proof-of-stake. Owning kittens before November 2018 will mean you are a stakeholder in CryptoKitties.

CryptoKitties is also smart and addictive: preferred characteristics will have a genetic rule by which they inherit the traits. The combinations are limitless, but as the community grows, no one knows what the price of a coveted kitten may be, either for a purchase price or breeding fees (yes, you have to pay gas to breed the kittens). The developer team and founders are banned from playing, to avoid abusing the algorithm and create valuable Fancy Cats.

The potential of hashing technologies to produce uniqueness may be an undervalued asset in the cryptocurrency space. And while cartoon kittens may recall tulips immediately, they are still a good way to spend some Ethereum dust from your wallet. And CryptoKittens may just turn out to be the next big thing.

Don't forget to safely store the seed phrase or private keys- without them, your kittens are lost, and that would be a shame, given the high prices that some kittens command. CryptoKittens will teach you to "be your own bank" while playing.