While blockchain technology in general is still looking for its definitive niche other than being just decentralized money, one aspect of cryptoeconomy seems to be flourishing: crypto-collecting.
CryptoKitties goes mobile in China
CryptoKitties, the game that showed us how unprepared the Ethereum blockchain is for the influx of traffic that only overzealous players and collectors can create, is soon coming to mobile devices in China. A known haven of mobile gamers, China could wreak more havoc on the Ethereum blockchain by letting its 520 million cat-crazy enthusiasts join the game.
While CryptoKitties in the browser requires the MetaMask extension which is banned in China due to Google's services being unavailable there, the mobile version of CK was built by Animoca studios – a game development studio for the Asian market. This version of CK bypasses the need for a browser based wallet by embedding a wallet directly into the game. Perhaps HODLers of old generation-0 cats will finally be able to sell them?
But CryptoKitties isn't special just for starting a new trend and bringing cryptocurrency more into the mainstream. It also introduced a new type of Ethereum token. Up until CK came around, we had mainly been using tokens to fund ICOs and “promise” a product down the line. But this banal game of cats introduced mathematical uniqueness and proof of originality into digital assets, paving the way for a new standard: the ERC721 token.
We'll cover ERC721 in more detail in a future article. We definitely recommend completing the CryptoZombies tutorial in the meanwhile which will teach you how to build ERC721 tokens.
It didn't take long for various copies to start appearing. We've done some digging and put together a list of clones and similar games.
1. Leci Gou – CryptoDoggies?
China's internet giant Baidu, Google's main competitor both in Asia and slowly but surely outside it, had the excellent idea of making a doggy copy of crypto kitties just before the Chinese New Year and the Year of the Dog of 2018 (4716).
The Chinese Leci Gou is almost identical to CryptoKitties in every regard, even design. You buy unique dogs, mate them to get unique offspring, and hope for special attributes to appear on them.
The game was developed internally by Baidu's blockchain experts and wasn't launched on either the Ethereum or the NEO platform – a platform people refer to as the Chinese Ethereum. It looks like it's a private blockchain due to lack of scaling issues, and prices seem to be expressed in Yen.
What's interesting is that Leci Gou actually came into existence after Tron Dogs, the first copy of CryptoKitties on the Ethereum blockchain made by the Tron team as part of the TRX token promotion. Tron Dogs uses TRX to trade dogs, not the native Ethereum, which doesn't make much sense given you need Ethereum on your token address in order to use the tokens, and TRX is just an Ethereum token. Tron Dogs, although supposedly in operation, actually isn't functional at all and won't let new users into the system – probably because the logic to do so doesn't even exist. This doesn't add much credibility to a project that's a proven plagiarized whitepaper without any demonstrable technology.
HashPuppies is an upcoming clone of the CryptoKitties game also with a focus on dogs, but built on the NEO blockchain. It follows the familiar formula of unique DNA signatures for dogs, which then breed to create just as unique offspring.
The puppy tokens were initially supposed to be distributed in an ICO but due to ICO bans in China and increased regulation pressure in the USA and Singapore, the team decided to distribute the tokens for free among all NEO addresses which had any kind of transaction made between December 7th and December 24th 2017 and which had less than 99 NEO in their accounts. This guarantees a somewhat fair distribution while skirting ICO bans. The fact that NEO ICOs cost 500 Gas to organize (around $25k) probably didn't help matters either.
After the launch, other users will be able to buy puppies at market prices.
Fishbank is another Ethereum-based “animal collection” game, with fighting added in for good measure. This game lets animals fight, eat each other to become stronger, and they can also be traded.
The game's website is clumsily made and contains plenty of typos, something a project which allegedly pre-sold 210,000 digital fish should have mastered, especially considering they bagged the Olyimpic athlete Stefan Oppo as their mascot. The alpha version of the game can be tested on the Rinkeby testnet where users can buy and sell fish – something that's trivial to implement on the already established ERC721 token. Other functionality does not exist yet.
4. Crypto Alpaca
Continuing the trend of collectible animals, Crypto Alpaca is another Chinese clone of CryptoKitties with a focus on – you guessed it – alpacas. Some special attributes were thrown into the mix along with “wool production” which makes the game richer in features. It was launched on the Ethereum blockchain.
CryptoAlpaca has a suspicious wallet management mechanic. They require you to send Ether into the game itself and use their built-in wallet instead of relying on something secure like MetaMask, which means they can disappear overnight with your money. Given that the team isn't publicly known or verified anywhere, the risk of playing this game far outweighs the possible fun factor.
Taking the crypto-ownership craze further, some enthusiasts figured that users might want to own countries, too. Launched on the Ethereum network, CryptoCountries lets users “buy” country deeds from other players, paying a price that's above what they paid.
There's no way to stop someone from taking your country if they're willing to pony up the cash. According to the team, this simulates the real world in which money can buy anything.
Some of the countries are already at 700 Eth or more while others remain locked – Croatia, for example, still isn't available while its neighbor, the crypto-friendly Slovenia, is being sold for 15 Eth.
Given that there's no way to list owned countries on a marketplace for arbitrary prices, and that there's no interaction possible between players, this can be classified as a typical pyramid in which new players finance the exits of older ones by buying something they bought previously, but now at a higher price.
Crypto Tulips are a parody of the claim that cryptocurrencies are exactly the same as the tulip mania bubble from 17th century Netherlands. The game lets users generate random flowers with mathematical formulae (algorithms). The algorithm generates a sequence of numbers which is then interpreted visually, giving every flower a unique look. Given that it's all procedural (computer-generated), there doesn't have to be much rhyme or reason to the way the flowers turn out:
The tulips were launched on the Ethereum network as ERC721 tokens, but there is no marketplace. This doesn't mean users can't self-organize a trade, though.
Crypto Fighters, also running on the Ethereum blockchain, work just like CryptoKitties and Fishbank, but also support team-building for team fights. All other aspects are identical.
Crypto Fighters is another in a now long line of collection games with absolutely no functionality besides basic trading of tokens. The fighting is “coming soon” but whether or not that's actually true or just a hype-manufacturing tactic remains to be seen.
Crypto Bots is a game nearly identical to Crypto Kitties, only the bots can actually fight and thus create new bots along with the standard “mating”. The game is fully functional and perhaps the most faithful kitties clone.
9. Crypto Celebrities
CryptoCelebrities is identical to CryptoCountries, but you buy celebrities. You pay more than the original purchase price to take someone's celebrity away.
Crypto Celebrities has the added element of “interest”. The top 50 players get 15 to 50% of their net worth annually as interest, calculated and paid out daily, thus truly taking on a true ponzi/pyramid shape.
10. Crypto Allstars
Similar to Crypto Celebrities, Crypto Allstars sells Twitter personalities who have expressed interest in cryptocurrencies – from legit ones to plain old trolls. Judging by the mechanics and design of the platform, the team behind Crypto Allstars and Crypto Celebrities is the same. Allstars has an added twist – the verified Twitter personalities who claim their Allstar profile get 4% of the transactions done with their profile card.
Decentraland is perhaps the oldest collection project on the Ethereum blockchain.
We'll have more to say about Decentraland in an upcoming post, but the gist of it is that it lets you buy virtual land which can be used for virtual real estate once the technology is at the desired level.
The tokens used to claim land (LAND) are called MANA, and the LAND a person claims is like a collection token. It does not match the ERC721 standard because it appeared long before it, but it's close enough. The amount of purchasable land is limited to encourage strategic development and urban planning, and a healthy real estate market.
To understand Decentraland, think of it this way – it's like buying land on Mars right now, before we have means to get there or build there if we do get there. But once we do improve technology to such a level, the Martian land you bought will be worth much more.
12. The Ethereum Pyramid Game
The Ethereum Pyramid is a literal pyramid in the Ethereum blockchain. Users place stone blocks in a row. Each placement costs a certain amount of ether. Once there's no more room in the current row, the next one needs to be filled. Each brick in the next line must be placed over two previous ones, so a literal pyramid is formed – the new placer also pays the stones under it a fee, literally financing the exit of previous entrants.
13. Crypto Hunt
Crypto Hunt is an upcoming augmented reality game in which the virtual world is connected to the real one. Augmented reality games are those that have a virtual layer placed over a real one, like Pokemon Go letting players catch Pokemon in real world places. The game is based on looking for chests around town and solving riddles, and earning CH tokens for it. These tokens can be cashed out for money or traded in for in-game bonuses and items.
The tokens will only serve as a means of financial transactions inside the game and outside it, but the game will later have ERC721 tokens representing unique in-game items for visual customization of avatars or in game bonuses like grabbing items through walls etc.
14. ValentineCoin and 15. Rose Token
ValentineCoin is envisioned as an ERC721 token into which one can write a Valentine's message. They're sold by the development team for 0.033 Eth a pop, and they also wrote a guide on how to retrieve the message later: https://medium.com/@valentinecoin/how-do-i-find-my-valentine-coin-on-the-blockchain-7100107c71dd
The Rose Token is a tokenized deed to a photo of a rose. The photographer, who last year earned a million USD for the photo of a potato, put the deed to his new photo of a rose onto the blockchain and sold one tenth of it to each of 10 people for $100,000. From a technical standpoint, there's nothing in the ROSE contract that's remarkable. It's just a plain old token and the people who bought part of the ownership of this deed literally walked away with nothing but a warm feeling inside having helped CoderDojo get $1 million USD in funding (all proceeds go to them).
Neither of these tokens serves a purpose. A message can be written into the blockchain without an ERC721 contract, and a deed to a photo on the blockchain means nothing for as long as that photo is stored on a medium that lets it be easily copied around. Despite their pointlessness, it's fantastic to see people experiment with this technology.
Crypto collectibles are blooming – where we can still take this new industry remains to be seen. Will we stop at simulations of cats, dogs, tulips, and countries or will we take it further? Will other real-world uniques be digitally represented on the blockchain soon? Perhaps gold bars with specific insignia, or maybe handicrafts?
What's your opinion on crypto-collectibles?
Disclaimer: Bitfalls is the company behind CryptoHunt's upcoming ICO. This article is neither investment advice nor an advertisement for the game.
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