The Future Is Meow! Interview With Benny Giang, Co-Founder Of CryptoKitties
Benny Giang is a co-founder of CryptoKitties. He has a background in psychology, product development and user experience design. Benny revealed what secret mission cats have inside the blockchain world and told how to have fun while building a new decentralized future.
How were your crypto kitties born?
We started creating the CryptoKitties brand almost one year ago on the basis of Vancouver’s, Axiom Zen. We were experimenting a lot. Finally, we have decided to create a blockchain-based game about cats. It was the very first game ever that had to do with the new technology. In late November 2017, it broke into the cryptocurrency market. Right after Ethereum was launched in 2015, I started diving deep into various researches and then fell into the rabbit hole. We launched our game and almost immediately attracted 25% of all Ethereum transactions. There are four billion possible breeding combinations in CryptoKitties. The highest ranked cat was sold for $117,000 in December. It was an interesting journey.
What are you working on now?
Our next goal is to bring our kitties to Asia, because Japan, South Korea and China are the hugest crypto markets. It is very important to create gaming content on the blockchain basis. It gives new opportunities for the whole crypto sphere and helps it to grow. Crypto developers are very creative when it comes to algorithms, protocols and so on. But they have a lack of creativity in other areas. That is why they have to stay in touch with movie- and gamemakers to create something brilliant together.
What is the main problem with the crypto sphere?
This sphere is great, except for one thing. Blockchain projects are not focused on consumers. Development teams tend to concentrate all their attention on technical things. But we have to take into account that, after everything about blockchain and cryptos is clear enough, consumers will use wallets, exchanges and other apps — just like they are using Facebook nowadays. So this innovations have to be simple, efficient and fun.
A lot of companies picked up this idea and created similar games. Is it annoying?
I think it’s ok. It started in China. Some firms copied our game but used dogs, parrots, rabbits and other animals instead of cats. But the fact that so many people took our idea means that we created a really good thing. We are the biggest game of this kind now. But we shouldn’t be the only one. We have to develop the blockchain gaming industry, which means that gamers should have a choice. We believe that blockchain is the future that has to be available for everyone.
I bet people ask you this question too often, but I’m dying to know why exactly the cats were picked?
Yes, it’s a frequent question. And I always ask back: why not? Cats are really impossible to understand, they are weird, funny and hopelessly entertaining. They are secret agents, ambassadors, pharaons, memes, killing machines. And they do never discriminate — they despise everyone equally. So, I think the future is meow!
What is the practical use of your game?
CryptoKitties gives non-crypto holders a practical education in this area. My girlfriend couldn’t understand what I do, she even didn’t care about cryptocurrencies. Then I showed her CryptoKitties, and she decided to buy a cat. Very soon she got interested in blockchain itself. So, if you don’t understand blockchain yet, maybe these cats are here to explain it to you. The gameplay is entertaining: you can collect unique illustrated cats with specific digital genes, they breed and produce more cats after a certain period of time. You can keep, sell or trade them. The game is built on the Ethereum blockchain. By the way, right after CryptoKitties got viral, the number of transactions within the Ethereum network increased by 4-5 times. CryptoKitties has opened the crypto market for those who didn’t feel like doing this.
Is your project focused on entertainment only?
Right now we are focused on three areas: cryptocurrency, gaming and arts. I mean, our project is not only about crypto. We have recently raised $12.6 million venture funding. Our investors are based in New York City and Silicon Valley. Now we want to expand our concept of KittyVerse, a side project of CryptoKitties.
Do you want to add something new into the game?
Yes! We have so many awesome ideas. We want to expand the playability of our kitties, add kitty races, and even kitty battles. But until then breeding is the main way to make money.