The History of CryptoKitties: Ethereum’s First Official Gaming Application
#TMBT or Take-Me-Back Tuesdays will be NFTing’s featured articles that will discuss the history of NFTs, cryptos, metaverses, blockchain, and everything that is about the web 3.0.
Our seventh #TMBT feature will discuss the surprising start of the first-ever blockchain game on the Ethereum blockchain network— the CryptoKitties.
Blockchain enthusiasts know what NFTs are, how they work, and what their values are in the market once they see one — obviously, they also know when did NFTs explode in popularity.
If you have been following our #TMBT series, we have discussed in our first-ever article the history of NFTs and when did it go mainstream. Check out the article here.
We cannot talk about the origin of NFTs without mentioning CryptoKitties.
CryptoKitties is a game created in 2017 on the Ethereum blockchain network that allows people to buy, trade and breed collectible digital cats with desirable traits. It was the first-ever collectible NFTs released to the market and was the pioneer of NFT collectibles that followed suit like NBA Top Shot, Bored Ape Yacht Club, and Sorare. Aside from the earning aspect of the game, CryptoKitties was a straightforward game meant to introduce the blockchain technology to the masses.
Like recent and popular NFT collectibles today — Axies from Axie Infinity and Bored Apes from Bored Ape Yacht Club, each CryptoKitties are unique and no traits or characteristics are alike even if they came from the same parent NFTs.
Read on to learn more about the history of this NFT game.
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 alpha launch also took place in the event, which attracted hundreds of developers, mentors and blockchain sponsors from different countries. It was a hit among early users even though blockchain technology and its application were not yet fully understood during that time. The game has also expanded blockchain’s use cases outside the financial aspect.
CryptoKitties was created by its developers with the intention of being a fun and simple way to engage in the crypto space. This gaming platform introduced most of the crypto and NFT enthusiasts of today to the world of blockchain and taught them how everything works. With the game’s extremely user-friendly gameplay, it is no surprise that it reached millions of dollars worth of transactions within a few weeks after its initial release.
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.
Under Dapper Labs management, they aim to let non crypto-savvy people understand blockchain, in general, through gaming and entertainment avenues. Dapper Labs is backed by several reputed investors, including Union Square Ventures, Google Ventures, Samsung, and the founders of Dreamworks, Reddit, and Zynga, and many more.
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.
To compensate for the heavy traffic it caused which resulted in high Ethereum gas fees, CryptoKitties temporarily raised its breeding fees from 0.002 to 0.015 ETH. However, within a few days, they dropped the price to 0.008 ETH.
This was one of the primary factors that highlighted the scalability challenges present on Ethereum’s layer 1 network. It also called for various innovations that would solve the issue and manage transactions on the network. As a result, many projects came out with their layer 2 solutions that would help Ethereum scale a bit better.
In May 2020, CryptoKitties announced that it was moving to its own dedicated blockchain, Flow. The move will enable several new features for the game, which include:
- 3D designs and animations for CryptoKitties.
- 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 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.
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.
November 22, 2017
The CryptoKitties Smart Contract was deployed.
November 28, 2017
CryptoKitties was launched!
December 2, 2017
The first-ever CryptoKittie, Genesis Cat #1, was officially adopted!
December 5, 2017
CryptoKitties reached 60k registered users with nearly 100k digital cats. Within a few days since the initial launching, over $5M USD in transactions have already been processed so far. It was during this time that CryptoKitties accounts for roughly 25% of Ethereum traffic.
December 12, 2017
The game reached 150k+ registered users with over 260k digital cats and a total transaction amounting to $15M USD.
January — February 2018
CryptoKitties hits 250,000 users with over 500k digital cats in existence.
- CryptoKitties raises a $12M series A round from Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures.
- 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.
- The art piece “Celestial Cyber Dimension,” with a cryptokitty inside created by CryptoKitties Art Director Guile Gaspar, was sold for $140,000 at the Codex Protocol Ethereal Live charity auction. Kitty #127 was created exclusively as an art NFT for public auction, with proceeds going to support intersections of art and blockchain.
- 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.
CryptoKitties added yet another feature to the game; the Collections feature. This will allow players to group their CryptoKitties into Collections to easily track Kitties for sale, track Kitties put up to Sire, put together sets of Fancies, and create a personalized themed collection.
- CryptoKitties most expensive virtual cat, Dragon, fetches for $170K.
- 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 introduces a new, fun and challenging for CryptoKitty breeders; Set Challenges and Badges. Like Collections, Sets also involves grouping Kitties together but with a twist. Each Set features a group of Kitties with certain Cattributes for players to breed. To complete a Set, players have to breed six specific Kitties, one to meet the requirements of each slot — or Pawsition — in the Set. Every Set Challenge you complete earns you a flashy Badge to show off on your profile.
- Special Edition Kitties were released to make the game even more competitive and exciting. Special Edition Kitties are cats with special artwork that are released for sale in a limited quantity. While they may have genetic traits that can be used to breed new regular cats, another version of these Special Edition Kitties cannot be bred, only bought.
- 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.
The Offers feature was introduced to allow players to make a bid, in ETH, on any Kitty in the game, even if it’s not up for sale. It would still be up to the owner’s discretion if he or she will sell the Kitty being bid.
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.
- To celebrate the historic 1.5 million CryptoKitties, the CryptoKitties Team held an exclusive event where any cat that players breed could transform into an Exclusive Cat at birth!
- 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.
- One lucky winner of the NFTme Sweepstakes will have the chance to become an NFT himself/herself on the Ethereum blockchain.
- The most active community members received a new class of Exclusive Knight Kitties.
CryptoKitties released time-limited Purrstige Traits Pirate Fancy Cat.
CryptoKitties held Leaderboard Tournaments for early Dapper users and gave away Exclusive and Special Edition Kitties.
- CryptoKitties can now be used in the Ethereum blockchain-powered virtual world, Decentraland, as the two platforms have agreed to a collaboration.
- 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.
Players now have the option to earn easy WrappedCryptoKitties Tokens (WCK) and a chance to win one of the rarest CrypoKitties in existence through The Great Fancy Buyback. To join this exciting giveaway, players must sell their prized Fancy Cats.
Fancy Cats just got fancier as a new twist was revealed for this exclusive set of cats; Shiny Cats. These are ultra-rare versions of Fancies that have special coloration — and a high value.
Reveal limited edition CryptoKitties cars that will be added to the blockchain racing game, Battle Racers!
Public Roadmap and Future Updates were released.
Dapper Labs announces that CryptoKitties will launch onto the company’s own Flow blockchain, ending its run on the Ethereum blockchain.
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.
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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