Hearing a rumor that the Ethereum blockchain was getting overly congested by Cryptokitties.co I decided to check it out. Cryptokitties! These guys are adorable. I understand the attraction. Cyber kitties for sale, ownership, and breeding, exclusively paid for by Ethereum, the second most popular cryptocurrency after Bitcoin. Think virtual Beanie Babies. If someone says “Yeah, Bitcoin, but what are you going to do with it?” just point them in the direction of Cryptokitties. I’m sure the demographic, ten-year-old girls are going to be playing with these for a long time to come.
The idea is brilliant; the execution leaves something to be desired. Perhaps the developers rushed to publish too soon. We’ll see. There isn’t much functionality there. I couldn’t find a Kitty that wasn’t already sold for the longest time. I don’t know if that was because it was hugely popular or running too slowly. I couldn’t see my balances, a feature they really avoided on purpose perhaps, and the Ethereum blockchain gobbledegook that appears now and then is only for true geeks. It really has no place in a well-designed playground.
Cryptokitties aren’t cheap, either. The minimum entry fee is $50 worth of Ethereum in the marketplace. But they use the old carny trick — sell coupons that customers use for rides instead of handling cash. The form of currency here is strictly Ethereum. Cryptokitties range in price from FREE to several hundred Ethereum each (which currently sell for $451.00/ea.). Cryptokitty prices are .03 Ethereum ($14) on average. Cryptokitties have DNA, genetic traits, parents, and children. They are absolutely adorable. I can see how an entire culture can be spun around these little fella’s. This site is going to be hugely popular if it isn’t already.
And that, my friends, is how Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will gain a toehold in our economy. Cryptokitties, online gaming, gambling, to retail sales of all sorts. As we transition from fiat currency to virtual currency, these examples will lead the way.
Using ethereum as currency means that the money is tied to a contract which may be flexible instead of fixed. Instead of paying X dollars for Y goods, X1 ether is being paid for Y Goods if such and such condition is present, X2 ether if another condition arises, and so forth. The ether is conditional money. As more and more computer programs in our environment start behaving in computerized ways, we will need this sort of currency more and more. For example, our EZPASS will charge different amounts at different times of day, different traffic conditions and for different numbers of people in the car or which toll-booth you happen to be driving through. Welcome to the future.