The fad for collecting virtual cats known as CryptoKitties may have ended, but it seems the fascination with digital pups is here to stay. Chinese internet giant Baidu recently launched a CryptoKitties-inspired game called Laici Gou (), which lets players buy, breed and trade digital dogs. Like their feline counterparts, these dogs have unique characteristics that are recorded on the blockchain and can be traded with other users or used for activities within the game.
The game’s marketplace currently lists over 20 pages of uniquely generated CryptoDogs whose prices range from measly cents to several thousand dollars. Dogs’ values depend on their rarity level, with more rare dogs fetching higher prices. All purchases and sales are processed in the game’s cryptocurrency, ACT, which is valued in relation to the dogs’ defining traits.
According to the game’s website, each dog is minted as an ERC-721 token on the BSC blockchain and hosted on IPFS, so they can be stored in digital wallets or marketplaces that support the NFT protocol. The programmatic generation of CryptoDogs allows for each dog to have different attributes that are programmed into the token’s code and recorded on the blockchain, so each dog is truly one-of-a-kind. These defining attributes determine the dog’s uniqueness, and the higher its rarity, the more valuable it is.
CryptoDogs also offers a loyalty rewards system where owners can earn ACT by feeding, playing and caring for their dogs. These can then be exchanged for prizes, such as new pets and accessories. The game has an active social media presence with a lively Telegram community and official Twitter account, and the team is planning a launch event in China.
As with other virtual goods, it’s important to remember that CryptoDogs are not backed by any physical assets and therefore are not a reliable investment. Additionally, the blockchain-based ecosystem is susceptible to hacks and attacks, so it’s essential to research the project thoroughly before investing any real world money.
It remains to be seen whether Cryptodogs will be as popular as its cat-inspired predecessor, which raked in billions in Ethereum-based cryptocurrency in its first few months of trading before collapsing under its own weight. Regardless, this latest launch marks the continuing growth of the NFT market and shows that the industry is not yet saturated with these kinds of collectibles. However, we should be careful not to overlook the risks that come with this trend, especially for people who may require anonymity or privacy for their work, such as abuse victims, journalists and sources, or citizens of oppressive countries. Using a vetted secure messenger such as Signal or WhatsApp is recommended.