Treasury Today Country Profiles in association with Citi

‘CryptoKitties’ clog the blockchain

Cat wearing glasses and a Bitcoin chain around it's neck

A blockchain-based game is pushing Ethereum to its limits.

The world of cryptocurrencies became even more interesting in recent weeks after news broke that a game involving digital cats is slowing down transaction speeds on Ethereum’s blockchain.

‘CryptoKitties’, an online game created by AxiomZen that allows players to breed, buy and sell kittens with ether – a cryptocurrency created by Ethereum – has exploded in popularity recently. This has seen over 20,000 transactions, worth around US$3.3m, made on the Ethereum blockchain, as players buy and sell their cats.

This level of transaction activity is putting pressure on Ethereum’s blockchain and creating a backlog of transactions. Indeed, is suggesting that the game accounts for more than 10% of the activity on Ethereum’s blockchain.

“CryptoKitties has become so popular that it’s taking up a significant amount of available space for transactions on the Ethereum platform,” Garrick Hileman, from the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance told the BBC. “Some people are concerned that a frivolous game is now going to be crowding out more serious, significant-seeming business uses.”

The game developers say that it is designed to bring blockchain to the masses and make it more accessible. Whilst this might be true, it has also exposed one of its biggest flaws in respect of its lack of saleability.