CryptoKitties Burn Up 15% of Ethereum's Gas

Day by day, the effect of CryptoKitties is felt on the Ethereum network, causing a mid-level congestion and increasing in-game fees.

The popularity of CryptoKitties is felt sharply on the blockchain, as new users are clogging up the network. The new game has the power of memes, with an added benefit of suddenly popularizing the Ethereum blockchain. 

Even Charlie Lee, creator of Litecoin, reacted positively: 

However, the Ethereum gas station is telling a different story. On peak days, the decentralized exchange EtherDelta burned around 13% of the gas. At the same time, the gas burned by CryptoKitties has increased by two percentage points in just one day, to more than 15%.

This has caused the game creators to increase fees for the game. Each move in the game- pairing up or birthing kittens- requires gas, and a higher gas price ensures that the transactions are completed. The transaction percentage rose from around 2% at the beginning of December to the current levels. 

But just as digital cats are selling for more than $100,000, or around 300 ETH, there are doubts that the collectibles are unique or unalterable. A Medium blogger noticed that some of the smart contract features are vulnerable to a freeze, while a part of the CryptoKitties game is centralized. 

The creators of the game, Axiom Zen, are forbidden from participating, to avoid abusing the algorithm- but the fact remains that some of the features that may command prices of 300 ETH are not really unique and cryptographically assured, but are in fact centralized.

The prices for new kitties, bred every 15 minutes, has stabilized around 9 ETH. The price is an average of the last five auctions.

And while there have been other cases when the ETH network has seen higher volumes, the presence of CryptoKitties may be hampering ICO activity. The Spectiv ICO has seen trouble running its coin distribution smart contract: 

It remains to be seen how many ICOs are affected. In the past, even a single ICO could delay ETH transactions for hours. But this time, with a baseline gas guzzler taking up 15% of transactions, ICOs may become even more difficult to process.