Now & Next Podcast E04 – Cryptokitties: The cats that broke part of the blockchain

What do digital cats have to do with blockchain? The answer, it turns out, is quite a bit, and it’s because of the game CryptoKitties.

In less than a year, CryptoKitties has become one of the world’s most successful blockchain applications. The gameplay is centred around the breeding, collecting, and trading of unique digital cats, with players using cryptocurrency for the transaction. And whether or not you’re a cat person or a game person it’s worth pointing out that in CryptoKitties’ first 9 months of existence over $40 million in these digital feline transactions have taken place.

In this episode we hear from Bryce Bladon, co-creator of CryptoKitties. He explains how the popularity of these screen-based cats has not only broken part of the blockchain but has also reintroduced the idea of a dollar value for digital goods.

In this episode we talk about:

  • Why does blockchain matter its potential of letting us work around the intermediary (7:07);
  • How scarcity can be re-introduced to the digital economy with blockchain technology (13:05);
  • How the community-minded CryptoKitties players invest in the ecosystem (18:50);
  • CryptoKitties to showcase how art could be personalized, it could be interactive, and it could be extensible in a way it wasn't before (23:25).

Here’s an extract of the interview. Full transcript of the conversation is also available.

"Because digital assets became instantly copyable, we stopped valuing them as much, and how we access these things ultimately shapes our relationship with them, and 20 years later very few people own digital media. The closest thing you’ll get is a physical representation, like a DVD or an album, but most people just stream music. We subscribe. We have a short-term, basically, access that we’re basically paying for the convenience of accessing it because torrenting is difficult now and that is how our relationship has been shaped. And with blockchain technology, our relationship to digital assets is, once again, going to change. And it might not be tomorrow, it might not be next year, but 5 years, 10 years, 20 years from now, I think we’re going to have a completely different relationship with digital goods and assets, things like scarcity—and I hope that’s not too esoteric a term—but things like scarcity make us value things more, and when things are scarce, they kind of become real." – Bryce Bladon, co-creator of CryptoKitties

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About Now & Next 

Now & Next is a podcast featuring in depth interviews with experts for a closer look at emerging trends and the digital transformation of the media & entertainment industry. Now & Next is produced by the Canada Media Fund and is hosted by Leora Kornfeld.

*Please note that a French adaptation of the podcast is currently in development and will be released in the upcoming months.