If there’s one way to infiltrate the adamantine cryptocurrency market that is China, it’s with kittens.
CryptoKitties has announced they are launching in China with a localized website and support as well as an iOS app in a beta exclusive release. The game, created by the Vancouver studio Axiom Zen, was the world’s first consumer product built on blockchain technology.
The beta release of CryptoKitties will allow just 5,000 users in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong collectively to adopt, breed and sell virtual cats for real cryptocurrency—in this case, ethereum. To participate in this launch event, players must join the official CryptoKitties WeChat account then register their email on an entry page. Spots will be given to lucky players on an ongoing basis.
“We created CryptoKitties to make blockchain technology accessible to everyday consumers,” says CryptoKitties co-founder Benny Giang. “Games like CryptoKitties drive adoption of emerging technologies like blockchain. They also showcase blockchain’s potential beyond cryptocurrency, gifting users with a working fluency in the underlying technology by hinting at what the future of digital art ownership may look like.”
CryptoKitties actually launched on mobile in these markets in early 2018 after Axiom Zen partnered with Animoca Brands to release the game. This new launch brings a localized website and native-speaker support.
The game is built off the ethereum network, arguably the second most known cryptocurrency behind bitcoin. When CryptoKitties launched for the first time in late 2017, it actually caused massive overload problems for the network—at one time it was consuming over a quarter of the network’s entire traffic load. This is why the new release is staggered to just 5,000 users, as no one wants kittens crossing wires again.
The game has been incredibly popular for what many consider being in a niche market. Since launch, CryptoKitties has:
- Over 1.5 million registered users.
- Conducted over $40 million in transactions.
- Seen a single cat sell for upwards of $200,000 USD.
This announcement also comes with a special artist partnership. Momo Wang is teaming up with Axiom Zen to participate in the Artist Series, which “will offer special edition digital cats designed by prominent artists, influencers, and designers.” Wang has been included as part of the 100 Most Powerful People in China and has written seven books.
One of these Artist Series cats will be sold via a global auction, one of the first examples of an internationally-known artist selling their work through blockchain technology. CryptoKitties is an example of blockchain art, which is a growing field where creators can make something and sell it without fear of it getting reproduced or copied, as it is easily trackable and new owners can validate its authenticity immediately.
While CryptoKitties may not receive the same intense fanfare it did upon launch in North America, it is exciting to see blockchain and cryptocurrency technology expand into a market where regulatory bodies have previously snuffed out innovation and progress.