CryptoKitties has proven good for raising the public’s awareness of blockchain and cryptocurrency, and so a museum in Germany is creating an exhibit that will use the game to explain the technologies.
Dappler Labs, the owner of CryptoKitties, makes blockchain-based collectible cats. Now CryptoKitties has partnered with digital art firm Meural to unveil an art exhibit at the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany. The exhibit, “Bringing Blockchain to Life,” will showcase the inner workings of blockchain technology in real-time.
CryptoKitties is not a cryptocurrency itself, but it is built to encourage people to learn how to use the alternative currencies such as Ethereum as well as blockchain, the decentralized and transparent ledger system. It became a sensation after it debuted in November 2017, but the activity has slowed as the craze over cryptocurrency has subsided. Fans have bid as much as $200,000 to buy rare kitties, and the company’s spinout firm, Dappler Labs, raised $12 million form venture capitalists Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures in March 2018. Tens of millions of dollars in transactions have been conducted on the CryptoKitties marketplace to date.
But cryptocurrency and blockchain aren’t mainstream yet. Institutional investors have been wary of the fraud associated with various cryptocurrency schemes, and regulators have stepped in to monitor the market.
CryptoKitties is also lauded for pioneering a use case for blockchain technology beyond cryptocurrencies. Often referred to as “cryptocollectibles” or “non-fungible tokens”, the philosophy and technology behind CryptoKitties serves as a proof of concept for blockchain’s potential to reshape art and culture.
Like traditional works of art, each CryptoKitty is distinct, and has valuations for individual cats ranging from six cents to six-figures. In May, a CryptoKitty displayed at Christie’s Auction House in New York sold for $140,000, with proceeds funding the Foundation for Art & Blockchain.
“CryptoKitties’ good design and appealing aesthetics are responsible for introducing entirely new audiences to the potential of blockchain technology,” says Roham Gharegozlou, cofounder and CEO of CryptoKitties, in a statement. “Emerging technology often has its most innovative work conducted in the art world – the Kitties are artworks themselves. Our exhibit at ZKM continues our mission of demystifying the blockchain so that the people that can benefit from it most – whether they’re creators and consumers, or artists and their fans – can be a part of the technology’s future.”
CryptoKitties’ “Bringing Blockchain to Life” exhibit will be featured as part of ZKM’s ongoing, boundary pushing “Open Codes” exhibition. According to ZKM’s website, the exhibition’s works will “visualize and explain the complex dynamics of codes, and the way in which they are increasingly shaping the way we live and perceive the world.”
Meural’s Digital Art Canvases will display CryptoKitties as digital artworks.
“We’re excited to be able to help CryptoKitties make their museum debut by providing them with a physical home that’s worthy of a museum setting”, says Vladimir Vukicevic, CEO of Meural, in a statement. “Our product, the Meural Canvas, is an ideal way for crypto art enthusiasts to show off their collectibles in a way that does justice to their value, and makes them easy to display and enjoy. By partnering with CryptoKitties for this event, we hope to help general audiences envision how cryptocollectibles might fit into their everyday lives.”