Lovable Digital Kittens Are Clogging Ethereum’s Blockchain
This could be the case on ethereum, where a single project is proving so hot it is putting pressure on the network’s technology. Best thought of as a decentralized Tamagotchi, CryptoKitties seems to be striking a nerve with new users, which makes ethereum fun and accessible to those that aren’t in the tech nerd domain.
Already, the program, which utilizes ethereum’s blockchain to create a general public, shared a history of cryptographically unique (and of course adorable and cuddly) fluffballs, is ethereum’s most popular, with users having spent at least $3 million complete on breeding, buying and selling the in-game products. Up from $1 million only yesterday, the ordinary cat is now investing for $100 in Ether.
However, the program is clogging the ethereum system, putting transactions within a long-distance limbo.
“Because of network congestion, we’re increasing the birthing fee from 0.001 ETH to 0.002 ETH. This will guarantee your kittens are born on time!” The CryptoKitties team stated in a tweet encompassed by siren emojis to mention that the direness of the situation.
In its short lifespan, CryptoKitties has grown to constitute 20 percent of all ethereum computations, a number that appears to still be growing.
While it’s certainly not the only reason for ethereum’s potential transactions, as ethereum developer Nick Johnson pointed out, it is one, and at the very least, it is where people are placing the blame for exposing ethereum’s limitations.
Johnson continued, telling Bitcoin Market Insider:
“CryptoKitties is definitely a significant contributor to network congestion, and it may have been what pushed us over the edge from mostly-full blocks to full blocks in the last day or so.”
The matter is a bit ironic, seeing how ethereum is touted as a world “world computer” that hosts unstoppable decentralized applications, replacing the world wide web.
With aspirations like that, it may appear strange that one app for trading otherworldly kittens may clog the network, but because of the way blockchains work — with every transaction requiring all system nodes to process it — there are limitations on the number of computations which may be done all at one time.
Does that mean that an insane quantity of kitty trading can slow down the system, but it may also add o the expensive of using ethereum also?
And if people are right to point fingers at the CryptoKitties program or not, it’s foolish that kittens are bringing new awareness into the cluttered underbelly of people blockchains, such as ethereum, bitcoin and several other people — scalability.
As a tweet by coder Boris Kozak shows, the matter is well-established and you will find numerous suggested fixes, such as state stations, Raiden, sharding, and Casper — ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin’s along with other programmer’s interest in transferring ethereum into proof-of-stake — but each of these options need significant engineering function and are still imperfect.
“It can also accelerate the ethereum climbing tragedy,” tweeted BlockTower chief information officer Ari Paul.
Others forced parallels to bitcoin’s ferocious scaling arguments — that this year saw many classes split from the chief bitcoin blockchain to make new variations of this protocol, even in bitcoin cash’s case increasing the block size limitation to permit for more trades.
Johnson Lau, Bitcoin Core contributor, quipped on Twitter:
“We need Ethereum Cash or many kittens would be killed.”
Blessing in disguise?
Simply speaking, ethereum has its work cut out for this. And as usual, whether or not you believe CryptoKitties is a positive move for the ethereum community is colored by if you support the routine in the first location.
Ethereum fans are inclined to become excited that an app is finally showing what the platform is capable of, as outlined in a Reddit thread, which lauds the game as a successful proof-of-concept.
“I am glad intelligent contracts are productizing a variety of use cases beyond speculation,” said The Initiative for Cryptocurrencies & Contracts (IC3) researcher Phil Daian, pointing to the bout of speculation produced by the thousands of initial coin offerings (ICOs) who have launched on the blockchain.
And Buterin even chimed in, tweeting:”I actually enjoy the electronic cat games. They illustrate very well that the value of a blockchain goes far beyond applications that could literally get closed down by banks or governments if they didn’t use one.”
And, as far as scaling ethereum goes, many are thankful it’s bringing awareness to the issue — one ethereum user even called it a “blessing in disguise.”
Martin Köppelmann, creator of ethereum program Gnosis, given that sentiment, telling Bitcoin Market Insider:
“If it is that successful – and even if it increases fees, even better – it will reveal weaknesses of the current tech but ultimately make it better. I’m all for experiments.”