Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses The Almighty Buck The Internet

People Have Spent Over $1M Buying Virtual Cats on the Ethereum Blockchain (techcrunch.com) 128

Launched a few days ago, CryptoKitties is essentially like an digital version of Pokemon cards but based on the Ethereum blockchain. And like most viral sensations that catch on in the tech world, it's blowing up fast. From a report, shared by an anonymous reader: Built by Vancouver and San Francisco-based design studio AxiomZen, the game is the latest fad in the world of cryptocurrency and probably soon tech in general. People are spending a crazy amount of real money on the game. So far about $1.3M has been transacted, with multiple kittens selling for ~50 ETH (around $23,000) and the "genesis" kitten being sold for a record ~246 ETH (around $113,000). This third party site tracks the largest purchases made to date on the game. And like any good viral sensation prices are rising and fluctuating fast. Right now it will cost you about .03 ETH, or $12 to buy the least expensive kitten in the game. So now we have people using Ether, an asset with arguably little tangible utility -- to purchase an asset with unarguably zero tangible utility. Welcome to the internet in 2017.

People Have Spent Over $1M Buying Virtual Cats on the Ethereum Blockchain

Comments Filter:
  • by CodeHog ( 666724 ) <joe.slacker@NOSpaM.gmail.com> on Monday December 04, 2017 @11:44AM (#55672759) Homepage
    "A fool and their money" "One born every minute"
    • So...."Digital Beanie Babies"??
    • In Europe, formal futures markets appeared in the Dutch Republic during the 17th century. Among the most notable centered on the tulip market, at the height of Tulipmania. At the peak of tulip mania, in February 1637, some single tulip bulbs sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled craftsworker. Enjoy your tulips tÃte de merde!

    • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

      "A fool and their money" "One born every minute"

      more like a person desperate to gain other people's admiration at their own personal expense born every minute

    • "A fool and their money" "One born every minute"

      Actually we are the fools for allowing 1% of the world’s population own 50% of its total wealth. These people literally can't throw money away fast enough to make a dent in their wealth

  • Puppies

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cayenne8 ( 626475 )

      Puppies

      I kinda doubt that....dog owners usually have a bit more on the ball than cat lovers.

      If nothing else, with a dog, you get an animal you can actually bond with, that interacts with you, becomes an integral part of your home and family.

      Cats?

      Not so much..they're aloof and don't care much if you are around or not....so, a digital cat gives you about the same as a real cat does, which is not much aside from being there.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Please. Cats can be perfectly affectionate (and dogs can be unaffectionate). Cats commonly bond with their owners. If you want to talk about integral part of the family, you should see my cats interact with my kids (age 4 and 7).

        Yes, there are some crazy cat people (the term crazy-cat-lady exists for a reason), but I think crazy dog people are a lot more common. For every 1 crazy cat lady, there's 10 people who can't go to the store without taking there dog in the car every time (including morons who let th

      • You can bond with cats, just like with dogs.
        Yes, they are harder to train, but that is all.

        I bottom line don't think there is a big difference in 'smartness' either.

        If you ever have seen how easily dogs get tricked by wolves you would not consider them smart anymore. A cat/lion/tiger would never fall for that.

      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        they're aloof and don't care much if you are around or not

        Reports from the people that look after them when I'm away tell me that my cats get stressed when I'm not around.

        They come to me for company when I'm at home - whether they're hungry or not.
        They do demand attention, but they also show affection. Little nibbles, one likes cleaning my hair for me. It's not unusual for me to wake up trapped in bed by three cats surrounding (or on) me.

        What makes them differ from dogs is that they know how to take themselves outside to shit, they bring me gifts and if I do leave

    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      For some reason there are more lolcats than funny dog pix, so I think you're probably wrong. I don't know why, but that's reality.

      FWIW, my wife was a dog lover and amateur cartoonist, and she drew a lot more cats than dogs. Go figure.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    how has nobody else thought of this

  • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @11:48AM (#55672801)
    Quick! Someone go out and register etherpets.com and we can have a poster child for the cryptocurrency bubble!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you are rich off hoarding rather than providing a product or service then you are making the world worse. You are a parasite.

    Hoarding oil, hoarding gold, hoarding real estate, how does artificial scarcity improve the world?

    • From your comments, we can assume you own nothing tangible? That you give everything away for fear of being called a "hoarder"?
    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      If people are hoarding ether-cats or whatever these things are, how does that make the world worse? (Well, it does because blockchains require electricity, but I mean in comparison to other things they might hoard.) It's not as if hoarding these ether-cats deprives anyone else of anything. It's more like hoarding original art-work when good quality copies are already in circulation...but it's not even as damaging as that.

      • And in fact hoarding tangible goods like oil is actually a *good* thing for the market in many cases.
        Let's say the 1yr futures contract for oil is $100/barrel and today's price is $50.
        So, you use your currently available capital and buy a ton of oil to store in your tanks that you (own/just bought) and sell that oil on the futures market for $100.

        In a year the price is $125/barrel, but you're selling at $100 (because you have to honor the contracts you sold) and thus you now reap a 100% gain on your initial

        • by HiThere ( 15173 )

          If you sell something you bought, or try to sell it, I don't think the term is "hoarding" but rather "storing". Hoarders collect things they have no intention of selling. It has all the costs of consuming and none of the benefits (well, except that you don't gain weight).

          • true but GGP post was noting that "if you get rich off hoarding" which implies that you were transacting at some point, so I took the poster's presumed meaning instead of the dictionary definition.

            • by HiThere ( 15173 )

              Plausible, but many people think themselves rich off BitCoins, and plan to keep holding them indefinitely as the value keeps increasing. And they think themselves rich *now*. One could say that they got rich off hoarding without doing much violence to the terms.

              I think most hoarders, if challenged, would claim that they intend to use the stuff they are hording "someday". This is unlike the multiple cans of beans that I store, with the plan where I actively use first the ones with the oldest "sell by" dat

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 04, 2017 @11:52AM (#55672855)

    "Wire 10 bitcoin to this Russian account or we delete Fluffy forever!"

  • They could have called them tulips instead of kittens, that would have been the story of the year.

  • The context seems to be trying to use "utility" in the economic sense but that concept is entirely intangible by definition. As in, on a scale of 1 to 10 how much utility did you get from eating a candy bar vs eating an apple. It was a fad measurement in economics for a while but is largely relegated to the curiosity bin since for all practical purposes its impossible to properly quantify.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 04, 2017 @11:56AM (#55672891)

    Nobody in their right mind spends $23,000 on a picture of a cat. The average joe who sells cat jpegs might get the price up to $20 if they're really lucky. The sellers and developers are being paid for something else.

    • Yeah, and noone would pay serious money for a painting of some random woman, either. Even if her name WAS Lisa....

      In other words, art works that way sometimes.

      And sometimes people have more money than sense. Only time will tell which this is....

    • No one in his right mind pays 200million for a yacht, and a crew that costs 40,000 a day when he only spents 10 days a year on that yacht ....

      Oh ... I guess I made a typo somewhere.

  • ... held natural selection at bay for far too long.

  • Right now it will cost you about .03 ETH, or $12 to buy the least expensive kitten in the game

    Whenever you read a story about cryptocurrency, no matter how timely, know that the prices you read are always going to be out of date by the time you read. The cheapest cats right now are going for 0.06-0.07 ETH.

    My son and I watched this last night and it was possible to get cats for 0.03 and below, but they were snatched up immediately. Now you don't even see them for that price.

  • Sounds like drug dealers laundering their proceeds.
  • The Idle Rich (Score:4, Informative)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @12:11PM (#55673023) Journal

    Wealthy people are buying digital blockchain cat pictures. A sitting US senator, Chuck Grassley (R-Bumfuck, Iowa) said this yesterday on television:

    "“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing — as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies,”

    Get that? He thinks people who aren't millionaires just spend all their money on booze or women or movies.

    I'm pretty sure we have ample evidence to start setting up the guillotines. We don't have to kill all the rich people and the government officials who service them, I'm thinking the rest might get the message.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Grassley (R-Bumfuck, Iowa)

      I think you did pretty good in letting us know how worthless your opinion is. I do find it ironic that you make the point he is an elitist while calling the place of the people he is looking down his nose at "Bumfuck".

      Another tolerant liberal on parade. I bet you don't even realize you are actually WORSE than the senator you quote.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        While I would have said "Bumblefuck, IA" instead, I think all you're really managing to do is calling the poster out for not looking it up. Which you failed to do as well.

        New Hartford, Iowa had 516 residents in the last census. Butler County a whopping 14K. I absolutely don't believe this, but wikipedia says:

        "Butler County is the only county in Iowa that does not have any stop lights, a hospital, or a movie theatre. There are also no national fast food chains in Butler county."

        What, exactly, would your d

        • by Cederic ( 9623 )

          My village and the one next to it have around 14k residents, no movie theatre, no hospital, no traffic lights and no fast food outlets.

          We also have two hospitals within 7 miles, four cinemas within 8 miles, far too fucking many fast food outlets and a very annoying number of traffic lights between us and all of them.

          What you're describing as 'Bumfuck' I'm thinking sounds like a fucking great place to live. But hey, go pick up a cheap nasty burger to eat while you're stuck at a traffic light, if that's how y

    • I think the Senator's point was that - those who would normally be hit with an estate tax (those in the top 10%) tend to actually invest their funds. Most of these silly purchases you see are typically by those without the means to really afford such spending, long-term. How many multi-millionaires that actually earned their money by typically building small businesses or investing in tangible assets (real estate) will, as they are contemplating the passing of their assets to their heirs, go "ooh, shiny E
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Ahh yes, cause people need o be able to pass on unearned money to their spawn because they earned it right?

      • I think the Senator's point was that

        The senator's a big boy. He doesn't need you to explain to the world what he meant.

        Sometimes, when a public figure tells you what he thinks, we ought to just believe him. He thinks everyone who isn't in the investor class is throwing money away on malt liquor and philly blunts.

        • Apparently, he does - since you refused to actually read what he said, and simply want to push your class-warfare nonsense...
          • Apparently, he does - since you refused to actually read what he said, and simply want to push your class-warfare nonsense...

            It's not my class-warfare.

            Here's a link to his exact quote:

            https://www.marketwatch.com/st... [marketwatch.com]

            • Yep. I know the quote. And I'm not a dyed-in-the-wool partisan liberal, and understand he wasn't saying you're either an investor or a gambler. But that, typically, those who blow all their money are not affected by the estate tax - and those that tend to invest (how many multi-millionaires do you know that don't have investments and 401Ks?) are overwhelmingly affected by the estate tax. But hey - partisanship! Hurray!
              • and those that tend to invest (how many multi-millionaires do you know that don't have investments and 401Ks?) are overwhelmingly affected by the estate tax.

                My friend, you have bought into a huge lie. Do you have any idea how many people in the US will be affected by the estate tax vs. how many millionaires there are? Let me tell you:

                Of the 2.7 million people who are expected to die in the US this year, only 5200 were probably going to pay any estate tax at all.

                Of the 15.3 million millionaires in the US (

      • I think the Senator's point was that - those who would normally be hit with an estate tax (those in the top 10%) tend to actually invest their funds.

        I think he's making it up as he goes along.

        How many multi-millionaires that actually earned their money by typically building small businesses or investing in tangible assets (real estate) will, as they are contemplating the passing of their assets to their heirs, go "ooh, shiny Ethereum kittehs!"?

        No idea, but it's not the multimillionaires who build small

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        It's generally those very heirs who go "ooh, shiny Ethereum kittehs!".

      • those who would normally be hit with an estate tax (those in the top 10%)

        The estate tax applies zero-point-two percent of families... before the republican cuts. The majority of those estates were already inherited, not generated.

    • Tax cuts in general work for stimulating the economy at times when taxes have been high enough to choke off economic activity. In such an environment cutting tax stimulates the economy and produces more revenue at the lower rate than the original higher tax did.

      But the Laffer curve is a curve, not a magic incantation. If tax rates are already low, another cut will stimulate a lot less than at high tax rates, and the deficit just increases.

      What ails our economy right now is not tax rates, but a lack of respe

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

        Tax cuts in general work for stimulating the economy at times when taxes have been high enough to choke off economic activity.

        We've seen years of record corporate profits. Where is the "choking economic activity"?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Donors threatening to choke off their pet politicans.

        • Our problem now is a continuing lack of high-quality jobs due to our not following up in promising areas of technology. Prosperity based on ad revenue mined from social media networks is not a basis for lasting economic strength.

          Look at California high speed rail as an example of long-term infrastructure, mired in endless legal squabbles initiated by vacuum-headed NIMBYites. In China, if they want the next bullet train to go through here, it just gets done.

          • Our problem now is a continuing lack of high-quality jobs due to our not following up in promising areas of technology. Prosperity based on ad revenue mined from social media networks is not a basis for lasting economic strength.

            But have no fear! Our new tax laws will solve that problem.

          • If California's central valley had the incredible population density of eastern China, high speed rail would actually make sense. It's the right project for the wrong place.

            • This would be relevant only if the train were 'to' the Central Valley. Instead, it's just the unpopulated, cheap land between LA and San Francisco.

    • He thinks people who aren't millionaires just spend all their money on booze or women or movies.

      He's just exploiting a winning political issue. Estate/inheritance taxes are deeply unpopular, and even though only "the rich" pay them, they are actually even more unpopular with low income people. Perhaps this can be explained by the fact that 40% of Americans believe that they will someday be in the top 1%.

      • He's just exploiting a winning political issue.

        You mean, "black people waste their money", don't you?

    • by lgw ( 121541 )

      The top 80% can afford to save something for retirement - it's just a question of priorities, and some do indeed spend it on immediate gratification instead of saving. The top 50% or so can afford to save enough that they'll have the option of not drawing it down during retirement, and leaving something to their grandkids - again a question of priorities of burning it all, or passing some on.

      Right now $500k is a bare minimum to supplement social security (as normally invested, that's maybe $20k/year), and

      • Why is "your kids will never have to work another day in their lives after you die" a good cut off point? The fairest system would be a 100% estate tax on everybody. Then everybody actually goes out and earns their money, and everybody gets taxed much less on what they actually earn. (Unfortunately people would find ways around the estate tax with large gifts in their old age.)

        • by lgw ( 121541 )

          If I earn and I don't spend what I earn, why don't I have the right to give to my kids? Also, how the heck is $600k (maybe $24k in a trust fund) "your kids will never have to work another day in their lives after you die"?

  • It might be interesting as a social phenomena, but it isn't much different than getting all excited about dropping a bunch of in-game currency on a set of ebony armor in Skyrim. Weren't people selling their shorts on the housing market right before the bubble? Speculation built on speculation...
  • ...to the term "LOLCats".

    I can haz bubble?

  • by Moof123 ( 1292134 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @12:30PM (#55673173)

    Clearly crypto coins, and now crypto cats are the wave of the future and will displace real money/cats in the future. Animal control is run by the government and can be used to STEAL your hard earned real cat. A crypto cat is clearly better in every way*.

    *The ability to pet your crypto cat will come some day in the future.

    • I'm waiting for the crypto mice, you can feed to your crypto cats, and the crypto hay and grain you feed to you mice.
      And then imagine someone invents crypto snakes! Compeeting with the cars about the mice ...

  • Frankly, I don't see the difference between buying virtual cats on the blockchain and buying money on the blockchain. Either way, you're buying a unique artifact recorded on the blockchain whose value is entirely determined by demand and the coherence and continuence of this particular blockchain.

    Once you lock it to a blockchain, what's the difference between a dollar and a cat, anyway? They're both bits of crypto-secured information.

    • So I suppose we should think of this as dollar bills with pictures of cats on them instead of pictures of dead presidents?

  • My prediction was that the Second Dotcom Bubble was fueled by phone-based apps, cheap cloud computing, the occasional successful IPO and social media hyping everything instead of CNBC. Nope, it's going to be this. I was wrong...we're going to see a lot of individual "investors" hurt by this, or at least greatly underwhelmed.

    The time to get into mining or trading cryptocurrency was years ago. Now it's just a gold rush and even established exchanges are looking into offering futures. I'm a little pissed that

    • Yeah but when mortgages crash it has consequences, when the cryptocurrencies crash some nerds have more video cards then they really need and have a harder time gaining from ransomware. Its the tulip crash if instead of money people were offering to buy the tulip bulbs with beanie babies.
  • Why Kevin O'Leary doesn't spend $2.50 on a cup of coffee [slashdot.org].

    Yet here are, reading a story about people spending their real money on a fake currency to buy fake cats. To quote O'Leary:

    "The truth is, there is a lot of crap you don't need."
  • Excellent! We are in a bubble! Hopefully with this and Trump's tax plan, property values will correct in California to a more reasonable point!
  • They fritter it away on fripperies like avocado toast and virtual cats.

    In my day we had dry toast, possibly topped with stray cat meat. And we saved up our pennies in piggy bank until we had the $499 we needed to buy a house!

  • At least with tulips you can get a half-dozen good blooms over 6 years...
  • With other games' microtransactions you have a 0% chance of getting the value back. Is it really that stupid comparatively? (btw the answer is yes for the Genesis kitty)
  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @01:22PM (#55673641)
    Disassociate the purchase transaction from real money by using a fake currency, and people will spend it more freely. Even if there's a 1:1 association between the fake currency and real money.
    • Casinos do it by using chips.
    • Amusement parks do it by using Disney Dollars or something similar.
    • Online games do it by using virtual in-game currency like gold or PLEX.
    • Tourist areas take advantage of it by charging prices in their native currency, and tourists unfamiliar with the exchange rate can easily overpay for stuff.
    • Credit card companies do it by removing physical cash from the transaction. You just swipe a card to buy something, never feeling the pain of the cash leaving your wallet.
  • Clearly these prices are seriously over-inflated, and likely caused by bots buying all of the virtual kittens as soon as they are available. Call your Senator [slashdot.org], get them working on it before it's too late.
  • So, this is just like the Second Life real estate bubble? People are planning on making a fortune investing in something with a marginal cost of close to zero for an infinite number of copies? Or to people really get six figures worth of satisfaction from virtual felines?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Do they have any rare Pepes?

  • I'm adding this to my list of happenings with society and technology that prove the unibomber was correct in his assessment of humans + technology.

    “The system does not and cannot exist to satisfy human needs. Instead, it is human behavior that has to be modified to fit the needs of the system. This has nothing to do with the political or social ideology that may pretend to guide the technological system. It is the fault of technology, because the system is guided not by ideology but by technical neces

  • Good pussy is expensive.

This screen intentionally left blank.

Working...