It is common knowledge that cats own the internet. They might soon rule the cryptocurrency ecosystem as well.
According to news reports, CryptoKitties, an online game with digital representations of cats, is now responsible for 11 percent to 15 percent of traffic on Ethereum’s blockchain.
As of today, Ethereum is the world’s second most-traded cryptocurrency and has a market capitalization of $44 billion. At 20:51 UTC, it was priced at $467.53, down 1.2% in the last 24 hours. (See also: Is It Possible That Ethereum Is Not A Bubble?)
But now, back to the kitties.
CryptoKitties launched on November 28 and are the world’s first cryptocollectible. “You can buy, sell or trade your cryptokitty like it was a traditional collectible,” the game’s website states.
The cats are also breedable, meaning you can combine two kitties to create an offspring. Some 24,048 unique kittens had been sold as of this writing, for an average price of $115.61 per feline.
In a reflection of recent volatility in cryptocurrency prices, the cryptokittie’s median sale price is $14.27. Those sales have racked up $3 billion in sales. (In ether terms, that translates to 7,320.53 coins). The kitties can only be bought using ether, which accounts for the traffic surge in Ethereum’s blockchain. The digital currency's blockchain also tracks ownership of the cats.
A Bloomberg report says the success of CryptoKitties could presage the future success of ethereum in the gaming industry, since both industries have a similar set of users. But an increase in the number of transactions could also slow down the ether network and push average transaction prices up.
Bitcoin experienced a similar scenario earlier this year on the back of widespread adoption and media attention. In the end, a group of developers broke away from bitcoin’s main blockchain to create Bitcoin Cash, a cryptocurrency with bigger block sizes and faster processing times. (See also: Bitcoin Versus Ethereum: Driven By Different Purposes.)