‘Mario of the Blockchain’ CryptoKitties Has Yet to Gain Wide-Scale Usage

Gerelyn Terzo @cryptogerelyn
May 29, 2019 16:00 UTC


By CCN: CryptoKitties, a smart contract-fueled decentralized app (dApp) built on the Ethereum blockchain, was supposed to be the one to jumpstart mainstream adoption of crypto. You know, kind of like the Mario Bros of crypto, but instead of Luigi and Mario, there are digital cats. After all, it was the app to clog the Ethereum blockchain, causing a bottleneck from the game’s popularity that slowed transactions to a snail’s pace. Nonetheless, the crypto ecosystem is still waiting for that one ‘killer app’ now that CryptoKitties and other promising dApps failed to gain scale.

The digital collectibles are worth whatever value people are willing to attach to them. People have even earned a living from buying and selling the cats, reportedly pulling in up to $1 million trading digital collectibles. Back then, which was during the previous bull market, one these wildly popular digital collectibles, Dragon, was fetching as much as $170,000, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Today, the average price is $47.76 on CryptoKitties Sales while Dragon is reportedly on the market for 600 ether (roughly $162,000). The average number of on-chain daily active users (DAU) on the once high-flying dApp has slowed to a crawl, now hovering at around 250 – nowhere close to being good enough for wide-scale adoption.

CryptoKittes Co-Founder Benny Giang told the WSJ:

“The present state of the network is not there for accommodating billions of people.”

Indeed, Cornell University Professor Emin Gun Sirer, who is behind the Ava cryptocurrency, made things sacred, saying of dApps to the Journal:

“Does it run? Yeah, it runs, like if I built a car. It’ll run, but it’s not something you’d want to put your kids into.”

The sea change could be ahead. CryptoKitties developers launched a new Ethereum wallet that removes one major hurdle to user adoption. The wallet, dubbed Dapper, makes storing funds easier for users of the dApp. It’s one small step for blockchain, a giant leap for CryptoKitties. In a blog post, Dapper Labs recently stated:

“Although we think of CryptoKitties as the “Mario” of blockchain, we realized we have a long way to go in building out the tools, infrastructure, and design paradigms for people to be able to use this technology easily and safely. Dapper is the first step.”

As for the killer dApp that changes everything for the blockchain, don’t hold your breath. Not too long ago, Ethereum Co-Founder Joseph Lubin advised:

“Stop waiting for the blockchain killer app and start enjoying the killer ecosystem we have built around Ethereum.”

There are fewer than 3,000 dApps on State of the Dapps, a mere trio of which boast DAU in the 10,000 range, as per WSJ data. The user downturn has rocked the entire dApp ecosystem.

This article was edited by Gerelyn Terzo.

Last modified: May 30, 2019 09:30 UTC

Gerelyn Terzo @cryptogerelyn

Gerelyn is Assistant Editor at CCN. Based in the U.S., she has also covered institutional investing on Wall Street but caught the bitcoin bug soon after. She resides 13 miles outside of New York, close enough but also far enough away to escape it all. Follower her on Twitter (@cryptogerelyn) or email gerelyn.terzo@ccn.com.