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Ethereum's blockchain is jamming up because of a new game that lets people buy virtual cats

Cryptokitties
  • “CryptoKitties,” a blockchain-based game that let’s users buy and sell virtual cats, is exploding in popularity.
  • It’s putting pressure on Ethereum, the blockchain fuelled by ether.

Just when you thought the world of cryptocurrencies couldn’t get zanier, along comes “CryptoKitties.”

The online cat breeding game, which has been likened to both Beanie Babies and Pokemon, has taken the crypto-world by storm. Based on Ethereum’s blockchain, the game allows users to breed, buy, and sell kittens with ether, a rival cryptocurrency to bitcoin. It was created by AxiomZen, a San Francisco- and Vancouver-based company.

Just like bitcoin, the game has blown up with $US3.3 million worth of transactions. Some kittens are listed on its site for more than 50 ether, or approximately $US22,500 at ether’s price at the time of this writing. More than 20,000 cats have been sold thus far.

“CryptoKitties” appears to be pushing Ethereum to its limits with pending transactions on Ethereum’s blockchain reaching new highs since the game exploded in popularity, according to data from Etherscan.

“[It’s] causing a backlog of transactions,” Josh Olszwicz, a bitcoin trader and writer for Brave New Coin, told Business Insider in a Twitter direct message.

The game accounts for more than 10% of the activity on Ethereum’s blockchain, according to EtherGasInfo.com.

Screen Shot 2017 12 04 at 12.55.54 PMEthereum Scan

“Ethereum is very actively managed by well-known founders,” according to Joe DiPasquale, founder of BitBull Capital, a cryptocurrency fund of funds. “I am confident management will be able to improve the transaction speed.”

“I am surprised by the success of the game,” he added.

Ethereum’s blockchain was designed to provide the basis for a number of use-cases outside of digital currencies. Companies ranging from 4G Capital, which seeks to help grow businesses in Africa via smart contracts, to WeiFund, a crowdfunding platform, are running applications on Ethereum.

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