How does Cryptokitties work? A brief history of cryptokitties

what are cryptokitties

If you look at Opensea’s statistics, you will find that Cryptokitties are in the top 20 most sold collections. What is interesting about the Cryptokitties collection is that, unlike most top-selling collections with a clear hard cap on the number of NFTs that can be created, there are already over 2 million cryptokitties made so far. 

The cryptokitties is an NFT game (the first one) built on the Ethereum network. The game made headlines when it was released in 2017. At the time, crypto was in the middle of a bull run. Some of the kitty NFTs started reaching high prices; one cryptokitty even sold for 600ETH, which back then was worth roughly $170,000. 

Even though many analysts believe that we are already in a crypto winter, it may make sense to study the history of cryptokitties and how their work to understand what may be ahead for us in the NFT markets. So, here is a brief history of the cryptokitties collection!

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November 28th, 2017: cryptokitties officially launches

Dapper Labs, a blockchain company focused mainly on NFTs and games, launched the 1st crypto NFT game: cryptokittens. The game had a hype almost immediately, and shortly after its release, the cryptokitties game was responsible for almost 2% of all transactions on the Ethereum network. The cryptokitties game is a relatively simple concept: you can mint a couple of kitty NFTs, and if you own two (or more) kitty NFTs you can have them breed between one another to create new kitty NFTs. Dapper Labs released the collection during a crypto bull run. 

December 11th, 2017: Cryptokitties reaches $12M in sales

In just over two weeks since the official launch, cryptokitties sold over $12 million in NFTs on its Dapp. Many people started playing the game, trading kitties, breeding kitties and selling kitties on the ETH blockchain. The largest NFT sale in history occurs, with a kitty fetching over $120,000. Cryptokitties are increasingly gaining users. 

Related: Why are NFTs considered valuable? – The value of NFT explained.

June 20th, 2018: Cryptokitties transactions drop 98.4%

As the bull market is ending at this stage, fewer people are willing to speculate on NFTs and breeding games. Although the game started gaining traction during its launch, fewer and fewer people continued to breed more cats. The Genesis (early) collections are rare and sometimes fetch prices over $100,000, but the newer kitties that are bred have a lot more difficulty selling. 

More importantly, this is what a crypto winter might look like: Many altcoins could die off and never recover during this stage. It looks like cryptokitties may never recover. 

August 28, 2018: Cryptokitties will help a German museum explain blockchain


Cryptokitties helps a German museum explain blockchain. Via [Venture Beat].

The cryptokitties became a digital art exhibit at the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany. This was quite revolutionary at the time and shows the traction and potential that some artists see in the distribution and sale for NFTs

May 21, 2020: Cryptokitties come to the Flow blockchain

As the new bull run is starting to take shape, the founder of cryptokitties, Dapper Labs, sees issues with Ethereum as the gas fees are becoming increasingly pricey. They, therefore, slowly transition the Cryptokitties universe onto the Flow blockchain. Of course, the current NFTs that were already created will remain on Ethereum, but adding the Flow blockchain enables more scalability and usability to the NFTs. This also makes Cryptokitties cross-chain. 

Don’t miss: Lessons Learned from the Crypto Collapse.

June 4th, 2021: 2 millionth cryptokitty is bred

On this date, 2 million cryptokitties have been created since the start of the project. The cryptokitties project has started gaining transaction volume once again. Cryptokitties are now on Opensea and can be traded freely without using the official cryptokitty Dapp. This allows more people to find the collection and go through it.

Present – June 13th, 2021: what is next?

The cryptokitties collection remains in the top 20 most sold collections. Although it does not fetch such a high floor price compared to many other top NFT collections, it is nice to see a collection gather such impressive volume over the years through many sales of NFTs for prices that are usually under $100.

Bottom Line

The cryptokitties is the first NFT-based game on the Ethereum blockchain. That alone could give it a nostalgic feel and an early mover advantage. As the game founders, Dapper Labs, kept looking for ways to improve the game, the cryptokitties collection survived a bear market and increased sales during the next bull run. 

Although not many sales of cryptokitties fetch prices over $100,000 now, still many sales are happening throughout the game.

If there is a lesson we could take from cryptokitties, the way up might be just as brutal as the way down. It is very tough to weather any storm, but good projects that have dedicated teams working on them tend to have better chances of surviving bear markets. More importantly, timing plays an important role in the NFT market: the chosen date to release an NFT collection to the public may be important in determining a collection’s success.

The final lesson we can learn from this is the early mover advantage. Cryptokitties was genuinely innovative when it came out, letting it shine. Now, as another bull market came, the nostalgia of this early mover returned, allowing the cryptokitties to surge in price again.

Nobody knows what the future holds for cryptokitties or the NFT market as a whole. However, by studying the past, we can be better prepared for the future, so it definitely never hurts to study!

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