CryptoKitties is a play to earn NFT based online video game developed by Dapper Labs in Canada. It is one of the earliest attempts to deploy blockchain technology for recreation and leisure. The game’s popularity in December 2017 congested the Ethereum network, causing it to reach an all-time high in the number of transactions and slowing it down significantly.
CryptoKitties operates on Ethereum’s underlying blockchain network. Each CryptoKitty is an NFT. Each is unique and owned by the user, validated through the blockchain, and its value can appreciate or depreciate based on the market. CryptoKitties cannot be replicated and cannot be transferred without the user’s permission even by the game developers. Users can interact with their CryptoKitties, having the ability to buy, sell, and sire (breed) them. However, the CryptoKitty art is not on the blockchain and is instead owned by Axiom Zen. The company released some of the art under a new ‘Nifty’ license that lets players use the image of their CryptoKitty in a limited way.
The virtual cats are breedable and carry a unique number and 256 bit distinct genome with DNA and different attributes (cattributes) that can be passed to offspring. Several traits can be passed down from the parents to the offspring. There are a total of 12 ‘cattributes’ for any cat, including pattern, mouth shape, fur, eye shape, base color, accent color, highlight color, eye color, and optional wild, environment, ‘purrstige’ and ‘secret’. Other features like cool down times are not passed down but are instead a function of the ‘generation’ of the offspring, which is one more than the ‘generation’ of the highest ‘generation’ attribute.
On March 20th in 2018, it was announced that CryptoKitties would be spun off into its own company, Dapper Labs. They raised $12 million from several top venture capital firms and angel investors. The investment round was led by New York based Union Square Ventures and San Francisco based Andreessen Horowitz. On May 12th in 2018, a CryptoKitty was sold for $140,000. Then, in October of 2018, over 1 million CryptoKitties had been bred with a volume of 3.2 million transactions. Then, in November of 2018, Dapper Labs raised an additional $15 million in a venture round led by Venrock and doubled it’s valuation.
The ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe showcased CryptoKitties in 2018 as part of their blockchain technology exhibit.
OpenSea and RareBits were created as a response to the boom created by CryptoKitties and its users. DapperLabs announced later that they were going to use the Flow blockchain to avoid the problems of the gas fees and congestion of Ethereum.
On September 15th, 2021, Google announced it was joining forces with Dapper Labs to help support the development of Web 3.0 products and services including NFTs. Google Cloud will serve as a network operator for Dapper Labs’ Flow blockchain.
The Flow blockchain is a scalable infrastructure that powers NFTs, games, and applications. Google plans to help Flow scale via the Google Cloud services. Flow also supports NBA Top Shot.
Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant both ahve invested in DapperLabs during the $305 million funding round in early 2021. This brought the company’s valuation to $2.6 billion. The $FLOW token is tracked on CoinMarketCap and CoinGecko and available on both Binance and Kucoin at the time of this article.