The future is meow: How the Ethereum blockchain became overrun with virtual cats

It’s the latest twist in the cryptomania saga. In recent weeks, 160,000 users have spent an estimated $15.5-million (U.S.) worth of cryptocurrency on collectible virtual kittens.

Vancouver-based startup Axiom Zen launched CryptoKitties – a virtual game that allows users to buy, sell and breed digital cats – in a bid to make blockchain technology less intimidating. After all, anyone who has purchased cryptocurrency such as bitcoin knows that it can be a daunting task.

Although the blockchain-based app is intended to be a game, some users may be buying the collectibles with the hopes that the digital cats will appreciate in value, much like the price of many cryptocurrencies has.

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The price of bitcoin has been on a tear, rising more than 1,500 per cent since the start of the year. Meanwhile, the market for new virtual currencies has exploded, with early-stage companies raising roughly $3.68-billion through more than 230 new offerings,…

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