Kitty-collecting game primes the public for blockchain explosion
What the deuce is the blockchain, anyway? That is the question CryptoKitties seeks to answer for the inquiring masses. It does so via the addictive gaming experience Pokemon Go junkies know too well. The game comes courtesy of Vancouver, Canada-based innovation studio Launch Labs Inc. (dba Axiom Zen).
“The purpose is to bring the first billion people to the blockchain, and CryptoKitties was the first endeavor to do that,” said Jody Rebak (pictured, right), chief of staff at Axiom Zen.
CryptoKitties makes players kitty collectors; they can buy, sell or breed them in the kitty marketplace. Aside from a time-killing amusement, the game incidentally educates players on how the blockchain ledger works. Given that blockchain is pretty tough to decipher, figuring out a simple and fun way to demystify it warrants kudos.
Rebak and Alex Shih (pictured, left), chief financial officer at Axiom Zen, spoke with John Furrier (@furrier), host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, at the Polycon18 event in The Bahamas. They discussed the evolution of blockchain development and CryptoKitties’ China launch.
Gathering blockchain-app building blocks
Blockchain is taking off as part of new application paradigm; however, public knowledge and developer skills still need fleshing out. CryptoKitties teaches users about smart contracts and the benefits of decentralization, and it builds their trust in the network, according to Rebak. It’s popularity — which at one point slowed the Ethereum decentralized smart contracts platform to a crawl — surprised the team behind it.
“I remember the team launched, and I woke up one morning with hundreds of emails from media outlets just saying, ‘We want to do a story on you,’” Rebak said.
Building apps on blockchain is an unmastered art, so the developer ecosystem is learning as it goes, according to Rebak. It’s important to disseminate newly gleaned knowledge and not hoard it for the progress of all, she added. Scaling out apps on the system is a point of special focus for CryptoKitties.
“One way we’ve addressed it is sort of building a lot off-chain to speed up transactions,” Rebak stated.
With its CryptoKitties launch in China accomplished, Axiom Zen now has its hands in a number of new ventures. “We have a number of projects in the pipeline that we’re not able to talk about publicly — but definitely exciting things happening,” Rebak concluded.