Written by Ed Jackson, Co-Founder at AlliedBlock.com
Blockchain has created a world of unique digital assets and today they’re being called Crypto Collectibles. The concept of a crypto collectible is new and unique; in the past, digital assets were foundationally easy to copy and widely distribute. The digital ecosystem was fundamentally positioned against scarcity and individualism. This trend shifted in 2017 when Diter Shirley introduced the ERC721 protocol. With ERC721, the concept of digital scarcity was born.
ERC 721 at its core provides for non-fungibility of tokens. Non-fungibility means that each created token is unique from every other token. This creates scarcity of the asset. A unique ERC721 token has the ability to be truly one of a kind. Along with uniqueness, the protocol also calls out an Owner. This creates a situation where one individual can own a fully unique digital asset and unquestionably prove that ownership on the blockchain. This is a novel concept and is different than the typical ERC20 standard which is fungible meaning each token is interchangeable. In other words, each Ether is the same as every other Ether just like dollar bills. ERC721 builds uniqueness into the blockchain which opens up the doors to some really unique use cases.
The CryptoKitties craze put ERC721 in the spotlight and shed light on what could actually be done with unique digital assets. CryptoKitties is a game that puts players in the breeder seat: buying, selling, and creating unique Kitties. These Kitties are traded across the web platform all while the blockchain keeps track of the unique collectible asset and their associated owners. The game exploded into popularity and to-date over 500k Kitties have been sold. Total transactions on the platform have surpassed $40 million and the rarest kitties have fetched sales of over $100k.
CryptoKitties’ success obviously tapped into a unique gamified model and showcased the power behind the digital collectible concept. This success did not go unnoticed and there’s some interesting new platforms entering the ecosystem. CryptoCountries places you on a blockchain version of the board game Risk™ where you vie against your opponents to own the world by purchasing tokenized countries. Prices are hitting nose-bleed highs as Japan’s value has surpassed $500k. There’s also platforms like CryptoCelebrities that has players vying to collect and trade the tokenized version of their favorite celebrities, say hello to the non-fungible Leonardo DiCaprio. The one most closely aligned with CryptoKitties that closed its presale in February 2018 is Etherbots. Here you’re customizing and building your own one-of-a-kind crypto robot. The Etherbot presale netted over $1 million.
People have always been inclined to collect unique items; there are countless examples in the real world: cards, stamps, books, cars, art etc. This is an aspect of human nature and now we have the digital representation of that impulse. We’ve understandably started with cats, this is the internet, but the sky is the limit. This trend will continue as the technology evolves and we will continue to see new and interesting interpretations. Get ready to buy your own piece of the blockchain.
AlliedBlock is a global blockchain research and development firm that is focused on delivering tailored blockchain development solutions. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you tailor a blockchain solution for your business (www.alliedblock.com).