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Cryptokitties Alert: Ethereum Blockchain Got Clogged by Digital Pets

What happened

Crypto Kitties, ERC20-based project, went viral – but has a risk to take the entire Ethereum blockchain network with it.

Say again…

Let’s start over. Meet Crypto Kitties – a blockchain game which is a sort of Tamagotchi or Beanie babies for the new crypto generation. You can buy, collect and breed digital cats. The creators claim that each kittie is unique – and it seems like the users like them a lot, as the average price per crypto kittie is now around a $100 in ETH.

So how can it affect blockchain?

The growth pains. CryptoKitties quickly surpassed a cryptocurrency exchange EtherDelta to become the largest app on the Ethereum network. Users already spent over $3M total for kitties, and the project’s share in the network traffic jumped from 4% to over 14%. Unusual activity is now congesting the Ethereum network and puts all the transactions on a long hold.

Any other reasons why they grow so fast?

A casual mention from Vitalik Buterin does no harm. “I actually like the digital cat games. They illustrate very well that the value of a blockchain extends far beyond applications that would literally get shut down by banks or governments if they did not use one,” he tweeted. https://twitter.com/VitalikButerin/status/937628849084309504

What can we learn from it

  • CryptoKitties is actually quite a solid case. When we talk about mass adoption of Bitcoin or blockchain, we tend to think of government regulations, Wall Street reactions and security. All that is important. But the simple user scenarios again proved themselves. Just like Prisma drew mass market attention to neural networks or Pokemon Go – to augmented reality, CryptoKittens might actually have started a wave for cryptocurrencies.
  • Everyone loves cats. YouTubers know it – and make money. Social media marketers know it – and make money. Now blockchain developers know it, too.
  • However, it should be a concern for the Ethereum network. It’s not the first time when it gets congested – remember hyperpopular Bancor ICO in June? That’s yet another reminder that a single viral success can affect all community members.
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