Continuing the saga of CryptoKitties:
Last week I wondered about the business model and governance of the Ethereum swamping Cypto
TulipsKitties game. This week we learn a bit more.
Rachel Rose O’Leary reports that the game isn’t quite as “decentralized” as many might assume from it use of the Ethereum blockchain and executable contracts. <> It is mostly open source, with a few bits of game logic kept secret (for sound reasons of playability).
She reports that there are also some secret commands that lets the “core” organization (“Kitty Corp”) backdoor everything. And playing the game requires agreeing to conventional terms and conditions that give the “core” the right to terminate or modify your assets as they will. She also reports that the interface actually runs on a conventional server, i.e., a “centralized” architecture.
In short, in many ways, this is a conventional game that uses Ethereum as a database. This is a shocking betrayal of the basic philosophy of crypto, though, it appears to be good game design.
O’Leary quotes developers who endorse this design because “trying to run an app on the ethereum blockchain without using some help from central servers is UX suicide.” (quoting Griff Green) I.e., as I said “smart contracts” are heinously slow and gawky, and completely unsuitable to use in a game.
So, this highly successful game “Isn’t Quite Ethereum’s Vision for Apps”. Worse, it is sucking down resources, crowding out others from the common blockchain and consensus protocol.
Furthermore, as I noted last week, there is no barrier to cloning the game. In fact, the open source code means that pretty much anyone can make their own version of this tulip factory. Ethereum may be able to survive one CryptoKitty app, but how will it handle hundreds or thousands of them?
The bottom line is that Ethereum is by far the leader for CryptoTulip of the year.
- Rachel Rose O’Leary, Scratch That: CryptoKitties Isn’t Quite Ethereum’s Vision for Apps. Coindesk.December 13 2017, https://www.coindesk.com/scratch-cryptokitties-isnt-ethereums-vision-apps/