People Are Breeding Weird Online Cats And It’s Slowing Down Digital Currency

People Are Breeding Weird Online Cats And It’s Slowing Down Digital Currency

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Gabrielle Okun

A new online game called CryptoKitties is slowing down the digital currency Ethereum network, according to reports.

CryptoKitties is an Ethereum-based game where users can collect, breed, and sell digital cats online. “Think breedable Beanie Babies,” the game’s website says.

The game started in 2017 and players have spent approximately $8.4 million on these virtual cats, according to third-party research from developer Niel de la Rouviere. The median price for one kitten is $25.04, however, the kitties can sell for up to $114,481.59, CNBC reported Wednesday.

CryptoKitties was created by Vancouver-based Axiom Zen and opened to the public Nov. 28. The CryptoKitties’ website advertises the game is built on blockchain technology and the first game built on the Ethereum network.

Users can buy, sell, or trade the kittens. More than 50,000 unique kittens have been sold, according to de la Rouviere’s data.

“The popularity of virtual cats fits the euphoria we see elsewhere in the crypto-currency space,” Peter Atwater, who studies market sentiment and heads Financial Insyghts, told CNBC. “It feels very reminiscent of the Candy Crush craze that helped propel the King Entertainment IPO back at the peak of the ‘Unicorn’ era in mid 2014.”

CryptoKitties launched to 200 users on Thanksgiving before opening to the public.

“With Cryptokitties every Ethereum user has suddenly taken on the computational overhead of running a mainstream application,” said Benjamin Roberts, co-founder and CEO of Citizen Hex, an ethereum-focused start-up.

“This overhead affects not only Cryptokitty transactions but every other transaction on the Ethereum network,” he told CNBC.

Cryptocurrencies are dramatically changing the market. The entire cryptocurrency market has jumped from around $17 billion in the beginning of 2017 to approximately $376 billion Wednesday, according to CoinMarketCap.

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