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Luis Clark
Luis is a personal finance expert who has been passionate and writing about crypto for more than five years.
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    5. What is Cryptokitties? NFTs...

    What is Cryptokitties? NFTs or Virtual Pets

    What is Cryptokitties

    The blockchain gaming industry has seen tremendous success as a result of CryptoKitties. The success of the recreational game contributed to the success of the Ethereum network, on which it was launched, as the premier destination for the rapidly growing decentralised economy.

    This guide will review the CryptoKitties ecosystem and how to get started.

    What is Cryptokitties?

    CryptoKitties is an online blockchain game that allows players to collect, raise, buy, trade, and breed cats. Because of the uniqueness of its kitties, it has since become a global sensation. Why? Each cat is essentially a non-fungible token or NFT.

    It was the first game to use blockchain technology to create a recreational game. CryptoKitties is inspired by the Pokemon and Tamagochi anime series from the 1990s. This game became the pivot for the new blockchain gaming space due to its resemblance to these fan favourite cartoons.

    CryptoKitties isn’t only geared towards recreation. The development team included play-to-earn (P2E) features which encouraged players to trade in-game assets for real-world money. How? Because of its NFT capability.

    Since each kitty is unique, only a limited number of premium digital cats were available, creating an artificial scarcity. The greater the scarcity of a CryptoKitty NFT, the higher its value in the NFT marketplace. Furthermore, its NFT capability meant that digital ownership of these virtual cats was simple to establish.

    CryptoKitties have demonstrated the diverse applications of blockchain technology. The project has become the foundation upon which other blockchain games have been built. CryptoKitties is responsible for the enormous success of projects such as Axie Infinity and The Sandbox.

    Everyone could see the immediate impact the CryptoKitties game had on the Ethereum blockchain. As more projects began to build on Ethereum, the game effectively established the blockchain as a global smart contract icon in the hyper-competitive cryptocurrency space.

    However, due to this success, Ethereum transactions became quite slow due to a large number of CryptoKitties players interested in breeding kitties (digital cats). The problem stems from Ethereum’s reliance on the antiquated proof-of-work (PoW) consensus algorithm, which has now transitioned to ETH2.0 – a Proof of Stake algorithm, making transactions faster and much more cost-efficient.

    As a result, in 2020, the development team, Dapper Labs, and startup company Axiom Zen transferred the game to its own versatile and scalable blockchain, Flow. Similar to the Ethereum blockchain, it allows for smart contracts to be executed.

    How Do Crypto Kitties Work?

    To start off with, CryptoKitties runs on what is known as blockchain technology. Blockchain is a novel concept popularised by Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous developer of the Bitcoin network. It is essentially a transparent and immutable digital ledger containing all transactions on a network.

    CryptoKitties is part of a category of projects known as decentralised applications (dApps), which rely on distributed blockchain technology. To properly mimic or mirror the real-life attributes of cat pets, the CryptoKitty employs an algorithm known as the ‘Genetic Algorithm’, or GA for short.

    This algorithm enables digital kittens to have the same characteristics and personalities as real world cats. The DNA of living organisms organises them. The CryptoKitties team used the GA as a DNA base for the virtual cats to mimic this distinct feature. The virtual kittens behaved and looked like real-world cats, albeit in a digital form. The GA hard-coded these feline characteristics into each NFT in the CryptoKitties game.

    Reproduction, or mating, is critical to the survival of all organisms, and this concept was incorporated into the CryptoKitties blockchain game. It enables players to allow two kittens to mate which allows those players to essentially breed digital cats. This procedure combines the DNA-like code of each kitten to produce a baby-like new kitty. Other players kitties can also meet and mate with another player’s cats. The uniqueness of the new kitties would be determined by the uniqueness of both the father and mother-like virtual cats. 

    Much like each physical cat does not look the same, every virtual kitties are quite different from one another. Their rarity is determined largely by the colour of their fur, eyes, stripes, and facial expressions.

    Top Features of a CryptoKitty

    Cryptokitties Home Page

    Given that each CryptoKitty is an NFT, no two digital cat pets look and behave similarly. What are the top features of a CryptoKitty?


    The first of these top features is clearly established in this blockchain game guide. In the CryptoKitty game ecosystem, attributes are dubbed ‘Cattributes’.  They represent the unique character of a kitty.

    The attributes are formed by genetic algorithms that determine the traits of each kitty. To accomplish this, two kitties must mate to produce new ones. The new kitten adopts the unique traits of both parents, making it even more distinct from others.

    Cooldown Speed

    The CryptoKitty game ecosystem also has a cooldown speed, which is a rest period for female CryptoKitties. This is the human equivalent of a convalescence window, during which a mother rests after giving birth. There is also a capture of the human biological clock. In this blockchain game, the older a mother kitty gets, the longer she needs to rest after breeding kittens. 


    Genes are also important in the CryptoKitty kingdom. Kitties are sourced from four genetic pools: eyes, coat patterns, body colours, and fur patterns. The genome of each kitty is divided into one primary gene and three recessive or hidden genes, which can be passed down to the digital cats’ offspring during mating.

    The primary or dominant genes greatly influence how a kitty looks. It has a 75% chance of being passed down to the offspring. Recessive genes have a lower stake of 25% and are typically invisible.


    New CryptoKitties do not always resemble or exhibit the traits of their parents. This is referred to as a mutation if it occurs. This would essentially start a new generation of CryptoKitties, with its genes passed down to the next generation of kitties.

    Family Jewels

    The family jewels round out the features of a CryptoKitty. This was introduced in 2018 and is meant as a symbol to mark each kitten’s royal ancestry. Kitties who discover new Cattributes (or Mewtations) are given jewels, which can then be passed down to their descendants. In CryptoKitty, there are four types of Family Jewels.

    The first one is Diamond, and it is given to the first player’s kitties that claim a mutation gene. The second is Gilded, which is given to the next nine mutated kittens. Amethyst comes in third and is intended for the next 90 other players’ unique cats with the mutated gene trait, while Lapis rounds it out and is intended for the next 400 kitties with a mutated gene.

    CryptoKitties: From Ethereum to Flow

    CryptoKitties has a long and illustrious history. When Axiom Zen launched the blockchain based game in December 2017, it quickly became a global success in a short period of time. Due to the large number of CryptoKitty players who wanted to own kitties or sell virtual cats quickly accounted for approximately 13% of Ethereum transactions.

    This success, however, caused massive infrastructure issues for Ethereum. Although designed for mass development of dApps, the Ethereum protocol lacked scalability; in other words, it was not fast enough to confirm network trades. This led to high gas fees and network congestion due to its PoW framework.

    To address this issue, CryptoKitties announced the launch of the Flow blockchain, their own custom-built blockchain network. The Flow blockchain outperforms Ethereum in terms of speed, fees, and utility. The blockchain protocol is also used for the development of dApps.

    Are CryptoKitties Valuable?

    Cryptokitties listed on OpenSea

    Since its inception, the sales record of CryptoKitties indicates that they are valuable. According to a DappRadar blog post, CryptoKitties made over $7 million in a 24-hour NFT trading frenzy.

    Individual purchases of NFTs on the CryptoKitties marketplace have raised eyebrows. The CryptoKitty Dragon was reportedly sold for 600 ETH, equivalent to $1.6 million in fiat currency. Others, such as CryptoKitty #18 and Founder Cat #4, have commanded $566,000 and $107,000, respectively. 

    What makes them so expensive? Not all of them command such a high price. On average, a CryptoKitty can be purchased for between $12 and $65. However, the price of a CryptoKitty is largely determined by its generic value. This is due to its rarity, utility, and physical appearance.

    Rarity means that only a small number of CryptoKitties possess a particular trait. This could be due to a decrease in their creation via mating or an artificial scarcity caused by a limited number of people willing to sell their cats. For example, only 100 Founder Cats were created, and there is an even lower cap on the number of mutated kittens. CryptoKitties owners of these gems could command a higher figure when they intend to sell.

    The utility of these cats also contributes to their value. For example, kitties with faster cooldown speeds can easily create new ones, making them a valuable asset for users interested in breeding CryptoKitties. Furthermore, those with multiple mutations can easily pass on their traits to their offspring, making mutants a good investment.

    The appearance of the cat can also contribute to its value. Users consider the appearance of CryptoKitties because they are digital collectibles or a form of digital art. This includes the kitty’s eye and mouth colour, unique colour blend around its background and fur, facial expression, and Family Jewel.

    Celebrity Endorsements and Partnerships

    The success of CryptoKitty has not gone unnoticed. Indeed, several celebrities and businesses have joined forces with the project to promote the growth of crypto and NFTs. For example, two-time National Basketball Association (NBA) winner Stephen Curry collaborated with the CryptoKitties team to launch his line of celebrity-branded digital cat pets.

    Dapper Labs has not only concentrated on the P2E game. The development team collaborated with the NBA to launch the NBA TopShot video collectible marketplace. Basketball fans have been able to obtain exclusive in-game video moments of their favourite stars, rookie cards, and even slamdunks, thanks to the platform’s success.

    How to Buy a CryptoKitty- Tutorial

    Buying a Cryptokitty on OpenSea

    How do players get started on owning their own cute cats? Follow these steps:

    Create a Digital Wallet

    Players would need a crypto wallet to store their CryptoKitties. These are digital wallets that specialise in storing virtual assets such as CryptoKitties. The Metamask Wallet is a popular crypto wallet among users. 

    To create one, visit Metamask and install the mobile app or browser extension from the Google Chrome Web Store. To complete the process, tap ‘Create Wallet’ and follow the on-screen prompts. 

    Buy Ether

    The default currency for purchasing these collectibles is Ethereum’s Ether. Metamask provides a direct purchase option through a number of third-party platforms or exchanges for investors who don’t already have some. To proceed, buy and store some Ether. 

    Connect Wallet

    Go to the CryptoKitties website and tap the ‘Start’ button. This will necessitate connecting to the newly created Metamask wallet. Tap it and follow the on-screen prompt to connect both platforms. 

    Buy CryptoKitty

    Once in CryptoKitties’s marketplace, look through the available feline collectibles and choose an interesting one. Make payments, and the NFT will be deposited into the connected wallet in minutes. 

    How to Sell a CryptoKitty - Tutorial

    Keen on exchanging CryptoKitty for regular cash? Follow these steps to sell it.

    Connect Wallet

    For starters, connect the crypto wallet to the CryptoKitties website that holds the kitty. Click on the ‘Start’ button and ‘Sign’ the authentication prompt.

    Select CryptoKitty and Sell

    Once in the wallet, select the CryptoKitty to be sold and tap on the ‘Sell’ button. Set the amount and click on ‘Confirm’ to conclude the trade.


    Even though NFTs were introduced in 2014, CryptoKitties has avoided the spotlight in the digital collectible sector. The P2E blockchain game effectively introduced NFTs to the general public.

    Players can use them to own exclusive digital pets that they can feed, breed, raise, and even sell for large sums of money. Although NFT sales have slowed, CryptoKitties remains one of the hottest tickets in the emerging digital art industry.


    Most frequent questions and answers

    Yes, CryptoKitties are digital collectibles. They are unique from one another, with no two kitties having the same attributes.

    CryptoKitties is a game built by the Canadian studio Dapper Labs. Players can be rewarded for caring for their virtual feline friends. In addition, CryptoKitties can be sold for a sizeable chunk of cash depending on their rarity, utility, and subjective value.

    Yes, CryptoKitties is a free blockchain game. Anyone can connect with a crypto wallet and interact with digital pets.

    There is no standard charge for this, but the user’s specific requirements heavily influence it. If a player wants to get their hands on the rarest CryptoKitties, the price could skyrocket to hundreds of thousands of dollars. A few dollars may be sufficient for low-income players to begin playing the game.

    The success of CryptoKitties was essentially its undoing. When the project was conceived, it was intended to be a preliminary test of the feasibility of blockchain technology in developing leisure games. The developers did not consider the consequences of building on a slow network like Ethereum.

    The high volume of CryptoKitties transactions clogged the entire Ethereum network in early 2018, causing a spiral of network congestion and skyrocketing gas fees. Due to the network bandwidth CryptoKitties consumed, other dApps were unable to process their own transactions, nearly bringing the operation of the first smart contract to a halt.

    Individual CryptoKitties have previously sold for well over $400,000 but its price has since dropped. On average, CryptoKitties sell for between $50 and $65. This is however subject to current NFT trends as well as rarity of the kittens.

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