Can a cryptographic application be too easy and fun?
This could be the case on Ethereum, where a project proves so popular that it puts pressure on network technology. Best thinking as a decentralized Tamagotchi, CryptoKitties seems to be a nerve with new users, making the ethereum fun and accessible to those who are not in the field of technical nerd.
Already, the application, which uses the ethereum blockchain to create a shared public story of cryptographically unique fluffballs (not to say cute and cuddly), is the most popular, with users having spent at least $ 3 million in breeding, buying and selling the items in play. Up from $ 1 million just yesterday, the average cat is now trading for $ 100 in the ether.
But the application clogs the ethereum network, putting transactions in a long-standing vacuum.
"Due to the congestion of the network, we increase the cost of delivery from 0.001 ETH to 0.002 ETH, so that your kittens are born in time!" CryptoKitties team said in a tweet surrounded by emoji sirens to express the seriousness of the situation.
In its short life span, CryptoKitties has grown to account for 20% of all etheric calculations, a number that seems to still increase.
While this is certainly not the only one responsible for delayed Ethereum transactions, as noted by Nick Johnson, developer of Ethereum, there is one, and at the very least, it is 39 is the responsibility of people who expose the ethereal limits.
Johnson went on to tell CoinDesk:
"CryptoKitties is certainly a major contributor to network congestion, and that is perhaps what drove us to move from a block to a full block to a full block in the last day."
The question is a bit ironic, seeing how ethereum is presented as a "global computer" that hosts unstoppable decentralized applications, replacing the Internet.
With such aspirations, it may seem strange that an application for the trading of supernatural kittens may obstruct the network, but because of the way the blockchains work – each transaction requiring all the nodes of the network for the process – limits the number of calculations that can be performed all at the same time.
Not only does this mean that a crazy amount of kitty trading can slow down the network, but it can also add the cost of using ethereum.
And if people are right to point fingers at the CryptoKitties application or not, it's laughable that kittens bring a new awareness to the messy underbelly of public blockchains, including ethereum, bitcoin and well 39, others – scalability.
As a tweet of the coder Boris Kozak displays, the problem is well established and there are many proposed patches, including state channels, Raiden, sharding and creator Casper-ethereum Vitalik Buterin and other interest of the developer to move ethereum to proof-of -stake – but all of these solutions require significant engineering work and are still unfinished.
"It could also accelerate the crisis of the Ethereum," tweeted Ari Paul, the information officer of the BlockTower.
Others have made parallels with ferocious bitcoin debates – this year, several groups have split from the main bitcoin blockchain to create new versions of the protocol, in the case of bitcoin cash increasing the size of block to allow more transactions.
Johnson Lau, Bitcoin Core contributor, joked on Twitter:
"We need Ethereum Cash or many kittens would be killed."
In short, the Ethereum has some work to do.
And as usual, whether or not you believe that CryptoKitties is a positive move for the Ethereum community, it depends on whether you support the protocol in the first place.
Ethereum fans have a reason to be excited by the fact that an app finally shows what the platform is capable of, as described in a reddit thread, which praises the game as a successful proof of concept.
"I am pleased that smart contracts are producing a variety of use cases beyond speculation," said Credentials and Contracts Initiative (IC3) researcher Phil Daian, pointing to the speculation generated by the thousands of initial coins (ICOs) that launched on the blockchain.
And Buterin even tweeted: "I really like digital cat games, they illustrate very well that the value of a blockchain extends far beyond the applications that would literally be shut down. by the banks or the governments if they did not use them. "
And, as far as the Ethereum is concerned, many people are happy that he is raising awareness – an ethereum user has even referred to it as a "blessing in disguise".
Martin Köppelmann, founder of the ethereum Gnosis app, echoed this sentiment by telling CoinDesk:
"If it's a success – and even if it increases the costs, even better – it will reveal the weaknesses of the current technology, but ultimately will improve it … I am everything for the experiments. "
Image from Kitty via CryptoKitties