Beginners guide to Cryptokitties - What, and how to get started

by Jin

Cute Kitties? Check.
Decentralized? Check.
Always yours? Check.
Can you make a profit with it? Check.

Hello everyone and welcome to CoinGecko's Non-Fungible Token (NFT) guide, featuring CryptoKitties! In today’s episode we explore what these futuristic sounding stuffs are in about 5 minutes, and by the end of this you’ll be able to gleefully explain to your friends why you have a cute and decentralized kitty that’s always yours! :)

So, what are CryptoKitties?

Crypto? Kitties? (Image credit: Giphy)

Essentially, CryptoKitties are the evolution of the blockchain tech, which powered cryptocurrencies. The blockchain tech took off with the implementation of Bitcoin in the form of a simple financial ledger and has since grown on to empower virtual machines (like a computer, except the hard disk/storage is the public blockchain) which has allowed CryptoKitties to be created as a Decentralized Application (Dapp) on the Ethereum Network.

The significance of having a Dapp that acts as a game on the blockchain proves that there can be applications beyond just a payment system, and for several good reasons -

  1. All your kitties are represented as an irrevocable “token” on the blockchain. They cannot be changed by any party once created.

  2. They are also permanent and will always be yours*.

  3. If other developers choose to, they can develop a Dapp that utilizes the CryptoKitties that you have on hand (remember how everyone shares the same storage?)

  4. And because it is built on the blockchain (Ethereum), no one has control over it except yourself and it’s safe to say that once you have them, they’re yours until you choose to not keep them anymore.

Tl;dr - It is a decentralized game, built on the Ethereum network, and you can buy/sell/keep cute digital kitties that is not controlled by anyone but yourself.

*provided that you do not access to your wallet.

Not a token, but an asset.

Both are crypto, but different. But still crypto! (Image credit: Giphy)

On the Ethereum blockchain, two major classes of objects are the ERC-20 (fungible tokens) and ERC-721 (non-fungible, unique tokens) tokens. ERC-20 tokens are like dollars, where a dollar is always equal to a dollar regardless of how it looks like (eg. used $1 notes vs. new $1 notes) while ERC-721 tokens are unique as dictated by their creator or smart contract codes.

Therefore, while all these ERC-20 and ERC-721 tokens both reside on the Ethereum Blockchain, ERC-721 powers the CryptoKitties and they represent unique assets rather than just another token, from being non-fungible and unique. Another way to look at it is that, they cannot be exchanged as-is without either party gaining/losing.

Why play CryptoKitties at all?

While still a rather infant endeavour in the tech world, the significance of CryptoKitties comes in two parts:

  1. It is an experiment that has so far been rather successful in proving that you can have an ecosystem of tradeable unique assets on the blockchain.

  2. You can do more than just sending each other money using the blockchain.

  3. Many other NFT-related projects have since been created, but Cryptokitties remains as one of the most popular games out there. Cute Kitties!

Enough talk. I want some CryptoKitties!

Alright alright. To get started with CryptoKitties you need two things:

  1. Google Chrome or Firefox Browser

  2. Dapper Wallet (Browser Extension)

  3. Ether in your Dapper wallet - Around 0.05 ETH would be plenty to explore the space!

Once you have all that, the next step is to head to the official CryptoKitties website, where you’ll be asked to create an account using Dapper and sign in.

  1. On your first login, you’ll be directed to a tutorial that teaches you how to play the game.

  2. If you skip it, here’s a tl;dr - you get kittens (buy/trade), breed them for a small fee (there’s a chance to get rare attributes that gives the kitten a good value!)

After the tutorial, your next destination is the Official CryptoKitties Marketplace - you’ll see the kitties that other users have bred and put up for sale!

Toy around with the filters to see what you need and click into any kitten to understand what each of the stats do for them.

Alternatively, head to OpenSea’s CryptoKitties marketplace (Lots of other unique assets there too) and perhaps discover some other ones while you’re at it!

Ok, I bought some kitties now. What next?

(1) Breed new kitties (Get your kitty a partner, will you?)

Alternatively, you can sire your kitties for ETH or have it breed with people who are offering their kitty. The reason to do that is because certain kitties have highly desirable traits that translates to higher prices and if you get one, you may just make a handsome profit yourself!

Here’s a tool that’ll help you find your way around - Introducing the KittyHelper which has various Cryptokitty statistics, as well as a handy breeding calculator that’ll help you when you want to breed different kitties.

Breeding is addictive - there are so many combinations out there, and some combinations have the potential to create rare kitties that sell really well. Sometimes you luck out and someone sells the kitty with the attributes you need cheaply so go look for em! Some also translate to fancy traits, which will give you kitties like these ones here.

(2) Play some games with them!

Pew, pew, pew! (Image Credits: Giphy)

Remember how we mentioned that your Cryptokitties are not just limited to one Dapp? Yup! There are now several developers out there making games that based on your unique Cryptokitty, and some of them are listed on Cryptokitty’s KittyVerse:

  1. Kitty Race - Who has the fastest Kitty?

  2. Kitty Hat - Collectible Stickers!

  3. Kitty Battles - Fight, fight, fight!

  4. KotoWars - Card game with Cryptokitties

(3) Trade

Not quite literally like that, but you get the idea! (Image Credits: Imgur)

Check out the official CryptoKitties Marketplace, play with the filters to see if you can find a kitty that has good stats, yet hasn’t been purchased yet! Alternatively there’s OpenSea where you can also trade and at the same time, explore many other NFT projects as well.

You’re now a pro!

Yep, you. (Image Credit: Giphy)

And that’s it! You now know what CryptoKitties are, and have the knowledge and skills to buy/sell ERC-721 assets on the Ethereum blockchain. Have fun!

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Jin is a Product Manager at CoinGecko. In his free time, Jin enjoys messing with crypto related stuffs on a slightly technical side and generally learns about crypto as he munches on snacks. Follow the author on Twitter @jin_8315

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