, a game where users breed and trade digital kitties using Ethereum-based smart contracts, has emerged as the latest mark of society’s obsession with rising cryptocurrency values.
In some ways, the popularity of the game reflects the skyrocketing values of digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ether.
Total sales on the platform created by Canadian startup Axiom Zen have reportedly hit $12 million, according to as some cats with rare attributes have been sold for upwards of $80,000.
Cryptokitties are generated by code, and bred by spending Ether tokens on smart contracts that use two base cats to create a new one.
Each resulting cat is unique and persistent, recorded on Ethereum’s public ledger.
While the game has proven wildly popular, has also been plagued by network slowdowns, little game progression and automated bots that snipe deals.
It’s also placing a new load on the currency itself.
The game has slowed down the Ethereum network by as much as 11 percent, allowed speculators to make a lot of money if they got in at the right time.
One of those speculators is Todd, who wished to remain anonymous in order to disclose personal financial details.
While we talked, the site dipped in and out of commission.
Todd is a 30-year-old entrepreneur and software designer from Austin, Texas.
He’s also been the owner of 35 cryptokitties, an extension of his broader enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies.