CryptoKitties: Ethereum's Biggest Gas Guzzler

CryptoKitties is becoming more prominent by the day, and micro transactions for buying, selling and breeding cats are piling up.

CryptoKitties is displacing EtherDelta as the biggest gas guzzler on Ethereum these days. The smart contract started off with around 3% of the gas consumed, but quickly revved up. 

Meanwhile, the price for new kitties, "minted" every 15 minutes, is rising steadily. From a price of 0.4 ETH, new kitties have risen to more than 9 ETH. The price formation reflects the average price of the last five cats sold. However, this is just the initial price- and it is set to fall over a period of hours. 

Now, the Ethereum community sees the CryptoKitties phenomenon as an unexpected stress test for the network, as it is becoming mainstream for the first time. With more transactions raining in as the fun game spreads, it is like a test for mainstream Ethereum adoption for serious purposes. 

"This is currently putting a stress on Ethereum and testing its limits (yet we're far from them as gas limits can easily be increased with agreement from miners)," wrote poster aribolabs.

Some users see a "kitty congestion" as a possibility underlining the limits of the blockchain. 

CryptoKitties is quickly becoming a gaming sensation, with more than $1.3 million spent on cats. Coveted collectible cats are sold for upward of 50 ETH, and the Genesis cat changed hands for 246 ETH. Axiom Zen, the studio that created the game, has been coming in the spotlight. 

The game has addictive traits, with the possibility to build traits that are sought-after. There is no intrinsic value to traits, it is up to the public to decide which kitties are more valuable. Sometimes, rare traits appear randomly from non-rare kitties.

So far, the biggest difficulty to adopting the game is the need to acquire Ethereum, which is still a rather involved process for newcomers.

With a large team and a plan to improve the project, AxiomZen seems way ahead of other blockchain-related companies, and in fact includes an ICO-like mechanism in selling the Gen 0 Kitties. The company will also create scarcity by stopping the production of new kitties in November 2018.