Imagine a website where you can buy and breed digital cats.
And where each digital cat you own is totally unique and can’t be replicated, taken away from you, or be deleted.
Call me crazy but this whole CryptoKitties business is GENIUS. If you haven’t been keeping up with the news, here’s a rundown of insane facts on this newest internet craze:
- A CryptoKitty was sold for $114,000 or about ₱5.7 million. Yes fam, that is ONE CryptoKitty.
- Anywhere from $6M to $11M (depending on the news source) have so far been spent on this site.
- There are now over 70,000 CryptoKitties.
- All that for a site that launched about THREE weeks ago on November 27, 2017.
Sorry but …what the hell is a CryptoKitty?
Really, a CryptoKitty is just a cat illustration. These cats aren’t even animated for crying out loud. They’re literally illustrations of cats with all sorts of crazy features. That’s it!
Now let me introduce you to the now-famous cat that cost a cool $114,481.
To be fair, it is the first-ever CryptoKitty in the entire universe. But still, for the price of a one-bedroom BGC condo unit?
OK, fine. So what’s so special about them?
These CryptoKitties can be bred, sold, or gifted.
You can also end up breeding rare and fancy cats which can cost a lot of money (or in this case, ether, the cryptocurrency it uses) or breed typical pusakals (stray cats) which won’t sell for more than $4. You can even run a CryptoKitty brothel if you so choose.
The fact that you can sell them is what got me to join this ridiculousness.
Aside from that, you’re also using what could possibly be the future of payments for trading goods or digital assets. When you play CryptoKitties, you’re using the Ethereum blockchain.
- You’re buying and selling your kitties without a bank (like BPI or Bank of America) or a third-party payment service provider (like PayPal). There are no middlemen. You are literally buying your kitty directly from its owner and vice versa when selling.
- Once you buy and breed your own CryptoKitties, they’re yours and yours alone. So even if the company shuts down, you will still have your cat… or at least the transaction log of it proving that it is in fact, yours.
- You’re using Ethereum (more specifically, ether), the second largest cryptocurrency after bitcoin. (Yes, there are other cryptocurrencies aside from bitcoin.) Here’s a good read on WTF Ethereum is.
What if I want my own CryptoKitty?
1. You have to first have ether or ETH.
So far, this is the only currency that CryptoKitties accepts. If you already have bitcoin, this means you’ll need to go on a cryptocurrency exchange to switch your BTC to ETH.
When I did all of this “experimenting”, ETH was at $453. As of this writing, ETH is now at a ludicrous price of $711 for 1 ETH.
Note that you don’t have to buy a whole ether. You can buy a fraction of an ETH. Most people think you need to buy a whole coin in order to own one. You can just buy $10 worth of it or even $5. Whatever amount you want.
2. You have to use Chrome as your browser and install Metamask.
Metamask is a browser extension that becomes your Ethereum wallet and that also processes your transactions. It is safe but I also do not recommend putting more ether than you need to purchase cat illustrations.
My road to $40 in 10 minutes
After I’ve transferred my ETH to my MetaMask account, I proceeded to spend an hour looking at cat photos. I honestly did not expect this process to take this long but I also wanted to see how cute the other cats are!
Needless to say, that part alone was a pure timesuck.
But first, a roadblock
I ended up hitting a roadblock because my CryptoKitty transactions weren’t going through. I kept getting “Failed” or “Warning” messages on MetaMask.
I tried buying three cats but those transactions were just in limbo. I didn’t own the cats, it just said it was still processing. After two days, the cats would have different owners (not me) and the transactions would eventually say “Failed.”
I learned that the transactions weren’t going through because I wasn’t paying enough in transaction fees. In this case, my “gas price” was set too low.
See when you buy cats, you must also pay a transaction fee.
In the Ethereum world, this transaction fee is determined by how much you set your gas limit and your gas price. The total cost of a transaction fee is the Gas Limit X Gas Price.
I was initially upping my gas limit but keeping my gas price the same. Apparently, you have to up your gas price and leave the gas limit at default.
To keep things simple, you can think of the gas limit like the amount of liters (or gallons) of gas needed to run a car. Basically, the size of a car’s gas tank. You can think of the gas price as the cost per liter (or gallon) of gas. Like what you pay at the gas station.
The higher the transaction fee, the faster your transaction will be processed. The current volume of pending transactions will determine just how much you have to pay. Think of this like Uber’s surge pricing. Except you choose how much surge you want to pay.
If the current gas price says 40, I upped that to 50 or 60 and if I don’t hit any warning messages, then I’m fine. But if I still get the warning messages, I’d bump it up again in increments of 2.
After the 108th attempt, my very own CryptoKitty!
I was at a coffee shop when I saw my first kitty. You have no idea how happy it made me. It was so stupid but awesome at the same time. I wanted to tell the people from the other table, “I just got a CryptoKitty!”
Here, I paid a total of $33.51 for this darned cat. That’s $30.80 for the cat itself (it was 0.068 ETH at the time) and $2.71 (0.006 ETH) for the transaction fee.
Obviously, I had no idea what I was doing. I later found out that this cat isn’t even “rare.” How dare this seller lie to a n00b! And I don’t even know if a virgin cat (cats with no children) should be more expensive either.
Getting my CryptoKitty preggers
Now what? That was my next question. I didn’t have another cat so that I could make them mate and have another kitty. And I didn’t want to buy another cat.
So naturally, I went to the brothel section of CryptoKitties and looked for cats that were “siring.” I paid for the siring fee ($22.65), and yet again, another transaction fee ($3.66). This set me back $26.32.
At this point, I’ve already spent $59.83 on two things on this site. Buying a cat and getting it pregnant. You have to pay for everything up in this piece!
My siring transaction went through without a hitch. Now I just had to wait for my cat to give birth to a new kitty.
In less than 4 hours, I had a brand new cat!
Selling my brand new CryptoKitty
I named it Taylor Kitty and tried to sell it. Don’t forget, I had to pay yet another transaction fee for this one.
You can set the starting price, ending price, and selling duration of your cat – this applies to siring as well. I set mine to 0.09 ETH ($40.77 at the time), 1 day, and with an ending price of 0.01 ETH ($4.53).
After 10 minutes, I received an email from CryptoKitties saying my cat was just bought. At the $40.77 price!
I remember thinking: WTF. Did I just make money?!! (Completely forgetting the fact that I also spent money lol) The ETH was transferred to my account in an instant. The entire process was pretty cool.
At this point, I still haven’t made back the money I spent on buying and breeding cats.
Will I be able to sell more cats? Can I really make money off CryptoKitties?
Find out in my next CryptoKitties installment! Heh.