Axiom Zen’s Director of Communications Discusses the Cryptokitties Expansion

expansion of CryptoKitties

Cryptokitties is the largest game launched on the blockchain, to date. It was built on the Ethereum blockchain and has made $19.5 million, to date. It was invented and launched by Vancouver’s, Axiom Zen. We got to sit down with their Director of Communications, Bryce Bladon, for an exclusive interview about the CryptoKitties expansion.

Cryptokitties saw Ethereum blow up in December reaching it’s highest peak at the time. The game features breedable and sellable cats or crypto kitties that vary in value. The most expensive kitty ever sold on CryptoKitties was worth $117,712 USD or 246.9255 ETH at the time of sale!

If you’re unfamiliar with the game’s features, click here.

Hi Bryce, what is your background and how did you get started in the cryptocurrency space?

I worked as a freelance writer and communications consultant for nearly a decade, with clients that include the Federal Government of Canada, Metalab, and numerous startups and agencies. My specialty is in making esoteric or highly technical concepts approachable to everyday users.

I’m currently Axiom Zen’s Director of Communications and one of the CryptoKitties co-founders. We use emerging technology to solve problems or to capitalize on opportunities, and blockchain is a technology we’ve been exploring for a few years.

Right now, I’m focused on helping blockchain technology become more accessible to consumers by making concepts like the Byzantine fault tolerance – well, less Byzantine.

How did the idea of cryptokitties come about and when?

Mack Flavelle (Instigator at Axiom Zen) brought up the initial idea in the summer of 2017. Dieter Shirley (Dev Team at CryptoKitties) helped it become real with his work into non-fungible tokens and ERC-721. As a team, we’re genuinely interested in exploring this space, especially in new and interesting ways.

What makes your game stand out from the rest of the games on the cryptocurrency market, more specifically the ones built on the ethereum blockchain?

CryptoKitties stood out from other games – and frankly, other blockchain projects – thanks to appealing aesthetics, accessible design, and practical application from day one. It also leverages a novel concept with crypto collectibles and non-fungible tokens.

There are some interesting ideas and concepts floating around this space, but the vast majority of blockchain games are still in some form of alpha or beta. And when CryptoKitties became successful, an immense number of copycats and imitators appeared. It’s frustrating to see some of these games scratch the same part of the wall: there’s an immense amount of potential and promise in this space, and a true opportunity for innovation.

Why did you decide to build CryptoKkitties on the blockchain?

We only pursue projects that are genuinely interesting and offer an opportunity to innovate. CryptoKitties needed to be built on the blockchain for us to pursue it.

At the heart of our motivation was a desire to do stuff that other people weren’t doing. As a team, we had numerous goals related to our first public blockchain project:

– We wanted to “build a bridge to blockchain” for everyday consumers via accessible design, mechanics that leverage fun, and an education that emerges from practical application.

– We wanted to showcase the potential of blockchain technology outside of cryptocurrencies.

– We wanted to showcase the value of design in building on the blockchain.

– We believe that there’s a lot of interesting value in “modular” design that allows the community to build complementary projects and tools.

There have been 274,533 total sales made in the game, most of which occurred in December. Have you seen the game slowed down some, in the new year?

Yes and no. There was a spike in use in December that saw an accompanying dip, but we’re once again on an upward trend.

Cryptokitties caused around 30,000 transactions, at one time, to be backed up the blockchain queue. Some say the scalability issue of the Ethereum blockchain might have slowed the progression of your game. Have you altered the game at all, to help with this current issue?

The scalability of Ethereum definitely affected the game’s progress. Issues of scalability have absolutely affected development and general priorities. We have top minds exploring the challenge in the long-term. We’ve already made numerous tweaks and additions to address this issue (e.g. giving a live network status on the site, offering a transaction status history, etc.) and we’re exploring all sorts of other options, like optimization, “smart” gas prices, and queued transactions.

We’re exploring features and other fixes that can help alleviate the issue while the longer-term solutions are exploring.

I know the developers for Ethereum are hard at work, coming up with a fix for this issue. Do you have any thoughts on this?

When CryptoKitties went viral, the number of transactions on the Ethereum network increased by 4-5 times. We accounted for around a quarter of the traffic at our peak. The fact that the Ethereum team managed to address and alleviate this unexpected obstacle is impressive – I don’t think enough people appreciate that fact.

The latest news breaking on your game is that you’re expanding into Asia, how is that going? What countries are you specifically targeting?

It’s going well, mostly thanks to the assistance from Animoca Brands. We’re targeting greater China, but we’re exploring opportunities across the continent.

Besides your global expansion, is there anything up and coming for the game? New features?

Always. We have a new feature for “cattributes” launching next week and we have an unannounced feature planned to arrive a few weeks after there. There are also numerous UI and UX tweaks we’re making that not everyone notices, but are a constant aspect of development. We’re also exploring a preferred partner program to help empower community and fan projects. We’re also expanding the number of Fancy Cats and Exclusive Cats. Oh, and there are going to be a lot more community events, contests, and giveaways in the very near future.

Where do you see the game, in 5 years?

There’s so much untapped potential and opportunity in this space and we’re just seeing the smallest sliver of it right now. I can’t say for certain where it’ll be five years from now – there are too many variables to make an earnest prediction – but I know it has a bright future. These cats will live forever and the game’s modular design means developers can always build complementary projects and tools. The ERC-721 token is just getting started as well.

Why should crypto holders play Cryptokitties?

Because CryptoKitties gives non-crypto holders a practical education in crypto – and that’s something crypto holders should be interested in. This technology is no longer relevant exclusively to enthusiasts and tech aficionados.

It seems that the team at Axiom Zen has big things in store for Cryptokitties. As the first cryptocurrency game to blow up on the market, the game has paved the way for its successors. We’ll check back in with the team soon, the track their progress breaking Cryptokitties into the Asian market. If you’d like the play the game, click here.

Thanks to Director of Communications Bryce Bladon for taking time out of his busy schedule to chat with

  Featured Image: CryptoKitties

Chelsea Roh is a freelance content writer living in Vancouver, BC. Her current focus is cryptocurrency, financial analysis and blockchain technology. In addition to content writing, she is an experienced Social Media Manager/Strategist. Before moving to Canada, she spent 10+ years marketing and working hands on in the medical practice industry.
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