Search engine giant Baidu has launched a CryptoKitties-style blockchain application in a bid to challenge the popular — and lucrative — game for supremacy in the Chinese market.
Baidu Releases CryptoKitties-Style Game ‘Leci Gou’
Users can adopt digital pets, each of which has unique physical attributes that determine its rarity and value. Owners can breed their digital dogs, or they can sell them to other users.
But while CryptoKitties runs on the public Ethereum blockchain, Baidu has not revealed whether Leci Gou is using a public blockchain or a private one developed and maintained in-house by its blockchain research team, which participates in the Hyperledger consortium.
Another difference is that — at least at present — Leci Gou only accepts the blockchain’s native token, so users cannot buy and sell pets using actual money unless they facilitate these transactions off the platform. However, Baidu says that the game is still in beta testing, so it is possible the company will monetize it later on.
In the meantime, new users with Baidu accounts can adopt one digital puppy and receive 1,000 in-game tokens for free.
CryptoKitties Comes to China
Notably, the release of Leci Gou comes just weeks before CryptoKitties itself launches in China through a distribution agreement with Hong Kong gaming firm Animoca Brands, according to a Quartz report.
According to the publication, the game will be distributed during the Lunar New Year, which starts on Feb. 16, and will feature a line of holiday-themed felines to commemorate the occasion. The report also says that it will be called 迷恋猫 (mi lian mao), which roughly translates to “Cat Obsession.”
To avoid regulatory issues associated with China’s ban on cryptocurrency exchanges, the app will not tell users how to exchange Ethereum for fiat currencies.
If CryptoKitties proves to be as popular in China as it is elsewhere, it could once again lead to significant congestion on the Ethereum network, causing the platform’s scaling problem to once again rear its head.
Featured image from Shutterstock.