“Games” Using ERC-721 Take the “Fun” Out of Non-Fungible

Unless you were living in one of John McAfee’s underground bunkers for the past nine months, you might recall that back in October of 2017, a new distributed application built on the Ethereum network called “CryptoKitties” had been released. For the first time, socially retarded ultra high net worth individuals (or “SRUHNWIs”) could throw their money away by purchasing and breeding ugly virtual cats on the blockchain.

CryptoKitty! So fugly! Much gross! John McAfee!

While it may be axiomatic for SRUHNWIs to spend their money on stupid shit with reckless abandon, it is rather startling to see just how much they are prepared to spend on virtual stupid shit. For example, on May 12, 2018, an unidentified SRUHNWI (and even if they were identified we would be too embarrassed for them to call them out) purchased a CryptoKitty for $140,000. Although such an extreme case of rational detachment disorder would be considered as cause for alarm in normal society, in the world of crypto, this sort of behavior simply reinforces the belief that CryptoKitties is Ethereum’s “killer app.” And considering the fact that at one point CryptoKitties almost did kill Ethereum, that’s probably a fair statement…

In December of 2017, 20% of all Ethereum transactions were CryptoKitties-related, resulting in severe network congestion and dramatically reduced transaction speeds. Fortunately, this incident exposed Ethereum’s underlying scalability and speed limitations, which had up to that point been overlooked (or simply ignored) by many Ethereum developers in their mad rush to cash in on the ICO craze. Unfortunately, very few of these developers bothered to give it an afterthought, presumably expecting Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s founder, to ‘figure that shit out.’

What if Vitalik can’t “figure that shit out?” Who fucking cares?!? In fact, developers on those projects would have an excuse to quit working and still get to keep all the loot they raised from their ICO!

If your head is still spinning trying to figure out why any human being would voluntarily choose to spend $140,000 on a fugly cat that doesn’t even exist, we don’t have a good answer. However, we do know what makes it possible, and that is the ERC: Non-fungible Token Standard #721 (or “ERC-721”). According to the website erc721.org:

ERC-721 is a free, open standard that describes how to build non-fungible or unique tokens on the Ethereum blockchain. While most tokens are fungible (every token is the same as every other token), ERC-721 tokens are all unique.

Think of them like rare, one-of-a-kind collectables.

In other words, ERC-721 tokens are like pogs…

or Precious Moments figurines…

Or vintage Lamborghinis…

But much cooler, because:

  1. Unlike these examples, which all require physical space to occupy, ERC-721 tokens are VIRTUAL! So whether you own one ERC-721 token or a million ERC-721 tokens, they all take up the same amount of physical space – NONE!
  2. ERC-721 tokens only exist on the BLOCKCHAIN! And as we all know, anything that is “on the blockchain” is by definition much cooler than anything that isn’t.

Send in the Clones

Because the unique nature of ERC-721 tokens are what give CryptoKitties any value, it’s rather ironic  that dozens (if not hundreds) of developers are now coming out with CryptoKitties copycat clones. The ones we find most interesting are the clones which don’t include any sort of real functionality, reducing the ERC-721 non-fungible tokens (or “NFTs”) to nothing more than just “collectibles.” One recent example is called CryptoCountries, which, according to its website, lets you “own a piece of the world on the blockchain.”

In CryptoCountries, NFTs represent unique countries, like the United States, China, etc., and because they are unique, they can only be owned by one person at a time. Compared to CryptoKitties, where players can breed their ugly virtual cats to create ugly virtual kittens with new combinations of unique attributes, the only thing that users can do in CryptoCountries is buy make-believe countries.

You can buy make-believe countries! Nothing else! You don’t like it? It’s a crypto world! Deal with it!

Once you buy a make-believe country, it’s price automatically goes up. And anyone else can buy your make-believe country from you for that higher price. And there’s nothing you can do to stop them. And somehow this is supposed to be fun. Let’s take a look at the map:

Oh wow. Looks like all the countries have been purchased already…

So you select a make-believe country, it tells you the price, and then you can jut buy it, even if someone else owns it? Okay let’s try Japan:

So if we wanted to buy Japan all we would have to do is PAY OVER 709 ETH ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING US?!? Nope. Not kidding. And apparently “CryptoPlanet” spent over 700 ETH, which at the time was worth in excess of $650,000. For a make-believe country. That only exists on the blockchain. And in reality looks kind of like this…

Totally worth $650,000. Totally.

Ho…ly…Fuck

And that’s basically the whole “game.” It doesn’t look like the prices have changed much over the past several months, so presumably the map is probably going to keep looking the way it does now. Forever.

The “winner” of CryptoCountries appears to be “CryptoPlanet,” who spent well over $2,000,000 USD to purchase enough make-believe countries to “win.”

As stated previously, the ass clowns at Tokenicide believe people should be allowed to spend their own money however the fuck they want to. So anyone who wants to attack “CryptoPlanet” because they didn’t spend some of that $2,000,000 to feed the poor or whatever can go fuck themselves.

However, we also believe that people should be allowed to ridicule the fuck out of someone dumb enough to spend $2,000,000 on a few “make-believe” countries that we GUARANTEE no one is going to even remember a few months from now. Same applies to CryptoKitties. And every other stupid fucking ERC-721 collectible “game” out there.

Does ERC-721 have some legitimate use cases? Maybe. But this sure as fuck ain’t it.

Post Author: Grant

Entertainment, Social Media & Cryptocurrency Attorney; ICO Advisor; Founder of Antipodal Talent 美中人才; U.S. Army Veteran

2 thoughts on ““Games” Using ERC-721 Take the “Fun” Out of Non-Fungible

    Rob

    (June 8, 2018 - 4:25 pm)

    Your article picked one of the worst example of ERC-721 (cryptocountries) and attacked that use of the token, which is unfair to the overall idea. I definitely agree that some companies jumped at the chance to assign fake value to some token contracts and raked in money from gullible people, but that doesn’t mean that the ERC-721 standard doesn’t have some great uses moving forward. People just need to realize that the collectible itself doesn’t intrinsically have value, the value comes from the company/companies that will provide value for owners of that token.

      Grant

      (June 8, 2018 - 5:06 pm)

      You are correct on all counts, although we did leave open the possibility that ERC-721 has some legitimate use cases. We just haven’t seen any of them yet. 🍑🤡

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