Why people are buying cartoon cats on the blockchain

When I show you what I’m holding, some of
you might see a simple cartoon. Some of you might see a complex piece of engineering. You’d both be right. Meet Genesis, the first Cryptokitty. She’s not alone. All of a sudden, cryptokitties are everywhere. “Cryptokitties” “Cryptokitties” “The viral blockchain-based game that sparked
a global craze for virtual cats.” “It’s a picture of a cat. And apparently someone bought one for $100,000!” You’ve probably heard of cryptocurrencies—
but these are cryptocollectibles. They’re like digital beanie babies or baseball
cards. It sounds silly, but Cryptokitties istesting
a profound idea: Can a digital good be… rare? Every 15 minutes, the company Axiom Zen releases
a new cryptokitty that only one person can buy. And they’ll do that until November 2018,
when they’re capping these “Generation Zero” kitties at 50,000. But there are already more cryptokitties than
that, because unlike baseball cards, you can breed them. The game is that there are billions of different
possible combinations of traits. And so you can decide which combination of traits is interesting to you and you can go out and try to find a cat that has that combination and buy it. Or you can try and find a combination that no one’s created before. And through our breeding mechanics you can come up with new combinations of traits or, if you’re lucky, even new traits entirely. That’s Layne Lafrance and Dieter Shirley. They both helped found Cryptokitties in November
2017. And they’ve convinced a loyal group of users
to spend more than $23 million buying and breeding these digital cats. In just a few months, a whole community of third party sites and services formed around
cryptokitties. You can do youngest first, cheapest first. See, like $10 bucks. And as I mouse over, this is a plug-in I found. We are trying to find new ways to play with these Kitties
outside of the main game. So we’re starting with contests! Derpface is possibly one of my favorite kitties
because he is just so unbelievably ugly. The traits that made Derpface the ugliest
Cryptokitty —even though, I mean, I think he’s adorable— are baked into his code. See, this is what Derpface and Genesis both
really look like. The “genes” in their code define their
physical appearance on 12 features, based on a template by a human designer. They call those features…. Cattributes are the visual attributes of
the cat. Like us, these cats can also carry traits in their code that only show up in their offspring. But the genetic algorithm that drives cryptokitty
reproduction — that’s kept secret. When the cats are breeding together the secret
sauce combines those elements to make with a certain amount of… well we can’t really
tell you much about that. But! They are combined. And people spend a lot of money on the chance
to get their dream cat. Price depends on the generation number and
on what traits are in high demand. In other words, popular Cryptokitties earn
high prices the way collectibles always have: Scarcity. And what’s so interesting about this is
that digital scarcity is brand new. Before the computers came along if you had a thing,
only you could have that thing and no one else have that thing unless you gave it to
the other person in which case you would no longer have it. But that completely changes when goods become
digital and accessible online. Every time you give somebody data on the internet
it’s a copy. I think the sort of reckoning we had in the 90s and early 2000s was how
do we live in a world where everything can be copied infinitely and you know and what’s
going to happen to the music industry? What’s going to happen to the news and entertainment
industries? And we’ve seen it all play out. But Cryptokitties can be scarce because of
the technology they’re built on. They’re using a blockchain. Specifically, the Ethereum blockchain, so
you have to buy them with “ether”. But you might also be familiar with the original,
Bitcoin. A blockchain provides a decentralized system
for recording transactions, making fraud and piracy a lot harder. And so the essence of blockchain is that we have
— whether you want to say a book or people refer to it as a ledger. And they would say, “Hey, you know you know
Bob has this, Alice has that.” And then everybody gets a copy of that book. And if someone comes along and says, “No Alice
doesn’t have that.” People can point to their own copy of the
book and they can say, “No no no you’re wrong. I see right here in this in my copy that Alice
has this.” When a Kitty is born and it’s beautiful and I love it, there’s
something very special about knowing that it belongs to me and no one else and no one
can take it. But the truth is, it’s not all yours. You own the code for that cat, but not the
actual image. In the case of cryptokitties, they have sections
in their terms of service that say that they own all of the images, all of the graphic elements
and that they have the right to use them however they want. That you actually have no right to use them
in any way. That’s not so different from a baseball card. If you have, say, a Topps baseball
card and it has the player’s name on it — say Barry Bonds, and a picture of Barry Bonds
on it — you own the physical object but you don’t own the copyright. Owning the physical object doesn’t give you
the right to print up other cards but it does give you the right to trade your card to someone
else or to sell it to a collector. But for Cryptokitties… If they decide they want to, say, change the
artwork or if they sell the company to someone who wants to pull the artwork offline and
use it only in their new Cryptokitties movie series, they could do that. And you’d be left just with this string of
letters and numbers on the blockchain with no art attached to it at all. So I think that’s a fundamental difference between real-world collectibles where you have the object and they can’t take it away from you and a digital
collectible. We really really really wanted to put the
art in the blockchain, because our users, I think most of them conceptually know that what they own is sort of some numbers, in a blockchain. But what you think you own, what you think of as your, cat is that picture of the cute little guy with the funny eyes. And unfortunately, the decentralized systems are
just not mature enough to support art in a robust way. Cryptokitties are cute and complicated and
they show that we still have a ways to go until we can really keep a digital collectible
like we can a baseball card. When I was doing research for this video, I became super interested in what makes Cryptokitties a “game.” If that’s the sort of thing you’re interested in, you should really check out The Verge’s YouTube channel. One of my favorites is on the way medicine is using games to improve cognition. So, go check them out.

100 thoughts on “Why people are buying cartoon cats on the blockchain

  1. Awesome video, if you want another visualisation, a 3D one check out our demo for a AR Cryptokitties app here: https://mailchi.mp/770084843f94/cryptokittiesarwaitinglist

  2. this is INCREDIBLY stupid and a huge waste of money. At least it's a great way for the creators to take money from all those dumb asses who buy these cats

  3. Kryptokitties you mean? They crashed Ethereum with their isht!
    Only otakus would waste their time on such nonsense. Another Pokemon-like hype that is already dead. The only positive is that it brought publicity to the Ethereum Network…and tested its robustness. 🙂
    Ps. The lady presenter looks like the sister of BOTH Keira Knightley and Natalie Portman.

  4. I understand the technology behind this Cryptokitties thing which is very very very smart and unique, I admit. What I don't understand is the need to spend so much money on a collectible and then sell it to someone else and so on. I know it is a good money income but why?

  5. Non-fungible tokens will have an actual business case for sellers of real-world items. Read: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesfinancecouncil/2018/10/19/what-could-cryptokitties-mean-for-the-future-of-ownership/

  6. new project similar but it's called myetherpony 2018
    myetherpony site link >>>>> @t <<
    telegram where to be doing events to get ponies we will be a next millionaire
    telegram >>>> @t l

  7. Someone said hey lets make something up, tell people its worth money and watch them spend it. I thought we were supposed to be advancing as a people? Seems like were doing the complete opposite…

  8. They should of used Epicycles to draw their art for the kitties. Then each "catribute" should have it's own epicycle to represent it. Maybe you could embed the epicycles in the block chain.

  9. My physics teacher asked me if I knew what a cryptokitty was, since he said "kids these days are always talking about them". I thought he was talking about cryptocurrency (not that I really know a lot about that either). It turns out my physics teacher was at the very least not making up words.

  10. So like wajas or flight rising? I love it. Spending money on in-game currency to breed cute pets is honestly the best use of the internet

  11. You should join us this March 20-22 for the Monterey Threat Financing Forum!
    Director of OFAC, Andrea Gacki will be our keynote speaker and attendees are eligible to earn 12 CAMS credits. Topics include terrorism financing, sanctions evasion, WMD proliferation financing, blockchain forensics, and more. You won't want to miss it!

    Tickets on sale now!

  12. Imagine if people took that money and gave it to charity? How many starving children could we save? This isn’t even a tangible item. It doesn’t serve a purpose like a car or even a social good. Even athletes or movies share messages, build connections, etc. Even so, the amount of money we spend on those things versus time spent with others, etc is dubious. It says things about our society and priorities that aren’t the greatest. This one kinda takes the cake though. Here’s an idea at the very least: sell cryptokitties and give a portion of sales to charity. Even 10 percent could help so many. I’d be interested to know if this is being done.

  13. Why do vox presenters/journalists always have to use, the same annoying, tone; and pace of their speech, as each other vox person?
    Can't they just talk like they normally do? I know they need consistency in their presentations, yet it sounds like I'm listening to the same person through each vox video.

  14. The weirdest thing about this, is that I understood every point made, I know how to trade cryptocurrencies, and I've collected things. Yet, at the end of the video, I still don't get it. Why would you want to breed a digital cat?

  15. Did you know there's been a physical version of this idea before? It's super neat! I have a few of them myself acquired from conventions. https://twitter.com/CruinndracFarms They're adoptable, breedable, physical creatures!

  16. "They'll stop selling these rare collectible cats in November of 2018."
    Hears this for the first time in 2019.
    Me: "…………Why……?"

  17. I don't know why I got recommended to this video again now, 10 month after. But I' curious, how much does these trash worth now?

  18. Meanwhile, the NGO I volunteer for doesn't have enough money to provide for even a fraction of the vulnerable, sick, and at-risk stray cats in their jurisdiction…While idiots spend money on cartoon cats. Why not donate to an animal shelter instead? ?

  19. "These crypto kittys are one of a kind and cant be copied or stolen"

    hackers on the dark web :
    "hold my mountain dew code red and doritos"

  20. a new games digital collectable in blockchain from italy – link: https://www.bitmonds.com/auto/app/rif/1052

  21. hated her delivery on almost everything. journalist still dont get what even basic twitch and youtube streamers and content creators seem to grasp…some sincere relatable nature

  22. This is a deepfake. AI mixed chick from Pirates of the Caribbean with Padme from Star Wars. The future is here. ROGAN 2020

  23. How is different from a digital-only trading card game? The only difference is the blockchain, but you still need to go to the website to know what your kitty looks like…

  24. My first thought was "Oh these are low quality adoptables."
    My second: "Oh they're not. You just collect them for no purpose?"
    My third: "Oh you can breed them and they have genetics! Nice!"
    My last: "Maybe I want one. But I have enough OCs and adopted characters lol…."

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