The History of CryptoKitties: Ethereum’s First Official Gaming Application

The Birth of CryptoKitties banner

A Hackathon Birthed the CryptoKitties

CryptoKitties was born during the ETHWaterloo hackathon, the world’s largest Ethereum hackathon that took place in October 2017 at Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. The overall gameplay and vibes is somewhat similar to Pokémon or Tamagochi — 90’s kids will know.

The Team Behind CryptoKitties

CryptoKitties was built by a Vancouver and San Francisco-based design studio — Axiom Zen. It started operating in 2012 and has multiple independent businesses under its corporate umbrella which includes Dapper Labs, who’s made CryptoKitties possible, as well as NBA Top Shot. It was only in February 2018 when Dapper Labs became a separate entity from Axiom Zen.

CryptoKitties Caused Ethereum To Improve

CryptoKitties was originally built on top of the Ethereum blockchain. Within a month of the game launching, CryptoKitties accounted for 13% of all Ethereum transactions. While the sudden rise to popularity was a great performance indicator for CryptoKitties, it seemed to have an opposite effect on the Ethereum blockchain network. As more users sign up and transact on the platform, the Ethereum network started to become more and more congested, as it couldn’t handle the required number of transactions, resulting in long queues of pending transactions.

  • Scalability, enabling people to use the network at any time.
  • Free-to-play capability, since Flow uses the proof-of-stake consensus model.
  • The ability to use CryptoKitties within other games built on Flow.

CryptoKitties Timeline History

Early 2010

CryptoKitties Lead Architect buys his first Bitcoin.


Summer of 2014
Members of the CryptoKitties team participate (and win) the inaugural Money20/20 hackathon; two of their three projects are based on blockchain technology.


September 2017
CryptoKitties launched its alpha test at ETHWaterloo where hundreds of users bred thousands of cats during the event. The CryptoKitties team also won the ETHWaterloo hackathon with Rufflet, a blockchain analytics application.


January — February 2018
CryptoKitties hits 250,000 users with over 500k digital cats in existence.

  • The game introduces Family Jewels, Mewtations, and how they all work together. Jewels are rewarded to the first Kitties to discover Mewtations (new Cattributes), and those jewels may be inherited by their descendants.
  • Fancy Cats also became limited edition collections during this month. This means that anyone who attempts to breed a Fancy Cat once the limit has been reached, the player will only get a regular CryptoKitty.
  • CryptoKitties introduced The Cat Codex, a complete list of all the Cattributes available in the game, and also tracking progress towards collecting them all.
  • CryptoKitties introduced a new feature: The Special Cats Codex. It is similar to the Cat Codex, however, this one shows you a catalog of Fancy and Exclusive Cats that you might own.
  • Celebrating another milestone as over 1 million CryptoKitties have already existed within the game.
  • A new and more exciting feature was added to the game; Purrstige Traits. Purrstige Traits are Cattributes that are only breedable for a limited amount of time. Every Purrstige Trait has a special recipe that needs both Cattributes and hidden genes. To breed a kitten with a Purrstige Trait, a player needs the right combination of Cattributes and hidden genes in the two parent cats. Breeding a Purrstige Trait can be challenging, but it’s rewarding too as they are time-limited and are particularly rare — which speaks their high value.
  • CryptoKitties raised a $15,000,000 venture round from Samsung NEXT and Venrock.
  • The Kitty Clock stopped, prompting the start of the next generation of Kitties. This is the final day of the account that releases new Gen 0s into the game every fifteen minutes. The event is also a sign that there are now over one-million cool cats on the platform.


January 2019
CryptoKitties started exploring the interoperability features of NFTs by collaborating with a digital trading card game, Gods Unchained, for an exclusive collection of Kitties glammed with the latter’s accessories.

  • As a token of gratitude, the CryptoKitties Team secretly created Furlin, an exclusive wizard-themed Kitty to honor the talented people that built tools or experiences for the ever-supportive CryptoKitties community, surprising them by quietly appearing them into their wallets.
  • The most active community members received a new class of Exclusive Knight Kitties.
  • CryptoKitties players can now enter a Dapper-Exclusive Race in Crypt-Oink.
  • Kitty Tricks was introduced to the game to show how Kitties can unlock special features in other dApps.


January 2020
Public Roadmap and Future Updates were released.


September 2021
Classic Ethereum CryptoKitties NFTs soar in value, with about $7.27 million worth of CryptoKitties NFTs transacted over a 24-hour period — 22,106% day-over-day increase.


February 2022
There are many new blockchain games that have been released since 2017, but CryptoKitties is still a thing. There are over 2 million CryptoKitties in the market now.



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