CryptoKitties Goes Open Source

One of the most popular ethereum-based dApp projects, CryptoKitties, has announced several changes and new initiatives to further decentralize the premium virtual feline offering, reports CoinDesk.

The famous internet-based game for breeding, buying and selling of charming digital kittens that runs atop ethereum has witnessed a large, mainstream audience. However, the popularity has also led to accusations of rising transaction fees on the network and serious backlogs. (See also: CryptoKitties Rule Traffic on Ethereum's Blockchain.)

In addition, it has also raised questions about whether the project really operates in a truly decentralized manner. For instance, it is possible for Kitty Core, the owner of the CryptoKitties project, to edit the underlying algorithm and mutate a popular or high-worth digital kitten despite objections from the kitten's owner. Essentially, the project runs in a centralized manner, with the project owner(s) having the utmost power.

Pros and Cons of Centralization

With these changes, the CryptoKitties project has initiated the much anticipated move toward loosening controls on its programming code to fall in line with the expected ethics of cryptocurrency networks and achieve true decentralization. However, a key benefit of centralization is that it allows its output to be used in an easy, well-defined manner, while decentralization usually leads to complications. The value of crypto collectibles is dependent upon their uniqueness and rarity, and a fine balance is required between owners’ rights and the available monetary benefits and their distribution. To strike a balance between usability and decentralization, CryptoKitties has announced a series of updates.

CryptoKitties is open-sourcing its application programming interface (API) and smart contracts by launching a developers' toolkit. It will be used for gameplay in the KittyVerse, an online portal where participants can experience related events like catfights, racing and the use of digital accessories.

The user agreements have been updated offering more leniencies and the introduction of players' rights contract called the Nifty License. This will allow developers more rights on their created features as applicable to variety of digital cats. For instance, if a developer created a new graphic accessory or a fight-mode that is used in the cat game, the developer will now own the legal rights to the intellectual property of each such artifact as used by the different cats and associated activities. Earlier, the rights were owned by the project team.

Beyond the KittyVerse

This would also imply that a user may delete their accounts and can now take their digital assets off the platform. Earlier, they would lose the control of their assets upon account deletion. Even if a user wants to create a new alternative versions of CryptoKitties, they would not be prone to legal challenges.

CryptoKitties co-founder Bryce Blandon told CoinDesk: "It's as much about removing ourselves as any form of a central authority as it is about doing so in a way that doesn't compromise the value of this game, of this product, and of this platform as a whole."

CryptoKitties also announced another key initiative called the Nifty Kitty Program, which gives options to independent teams of developers to apply for loans or grants and finance their work for the community. This is expected to keep the funding sustainable and the project agile for running smoothly while allowing the developer community to benefit for their contributions. (See also: Cryptokitties Are Still a Thing. Here's Why.)

Investing in cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns no cryptocurrencies.

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