In late 2017, the Ethereum blockchain found itself facing transaction congestion issues which came from an unlikely source: the exponential growth in popularity of a blockchain-based game in which users could breed and exchange digitalised representations of kittens.
Cryptokitties, the name of that game, introduced the world to its first successful example of blockchain-based digital collectibles. Users were paying top dollar to purchase the necessary assets to create and breed new, unique and imaginative models of digital kittens. There was no actual gameplay involved and yet the game had become something of a phenomenon within the crypto space, and has had something of a broader impact within wider popular culture.
At the same time, the Cryptokitties phenomenon opened up the eyes of many to the feasibility of, and possibilities offered up by, rare and unique digital collectibles underwritten by the blockchain’s inherent security.
We think digital collectibles, and all of the games they enable, will be one of, if not the first big consumer use cases for blockchain technologies – CryptoCarz White-paper
As a result, the project team behind CryptoCarz wants to bring to market an idea which combines gaming, Virtual Reality and the Blockchain to offer a new kind of gaming experience which hinges on the attraction of digital collectibles.
This time, however, those digital collectibles will be virtual cars, not cats. And thrown into this mix will be real gameplay – users will not only simply own and assemble cars, they will also be racing them. This, in a nutshell, is the CryptoCarz proposition: to give gamers “new options to visualise, own, adapt and race their own cars” in a virtual world as assets whose value is pegged to the platform’s native token.
The central tenet of the CryptoCarz proposition lies in a concept known as the Non-Fungible Token (NFT). Most tokens created on a blockchain are fungible – for example, the ETH token, which underpins the Ethereum blockchain, is a fungible token.
This simply means that if I have 1 ETH, and if you have 1 ETH, we can swap our ETHs with each other and there will be no effect, no impact. The reason is simple – any one ETH is identical in its characteristics to any other ETH.
With a NFT, on the other hand, each token (or perhaps a subset of tokens) is assigned at least one unique characteristic that all other tokens do not carry. When this is the case, it is now said that those tokens are not fungible – replacing one token with another implies a change in the nature of the token that you hold.
On the Ethereum blockchain, a protocol – known as ERC21 – has been created that allows developers to create such tokens with unique characteristics that are defined by developers themselves.
A useful discussion on how ERC21 is implemented can be found here for those who want to dig deeper into the subject. For everyone else, it will be sufficient to point out that it is this ERC21 protocol that will be exploited by the CryptoCarz development team to create what will become digital racing cars, each with its own set of unique characteristics, thus making each a prized item.
As each car will be pegged to one such token, the idea is that – as with Cryptokitties – those cars then become both prized and tradable assets. Where CryptoCarz take the concept further, however, is in the concept of offering virtual garages where game players can now also kit out their CryptoCarz with customisable features and extensions to spec their cars further -upgrade their engines, for example, or perhaps repair them after a session on the track.
The Road Map is defined by three distinct stages of development which incorporate the following (no dates have been supplied at this point):
Stage 1 – Core Game Asset Build
Here, users will be able to purchase, assemble and upgrade the cars with new components. They will be able to view their creations in basic animation.
Stage 2 – Engine Development
What seems to largely define the second stage of development is the creation of a showroom portal which will incorporate new animation effects. This stage will also see the creation of an online market place where early adopters can place their creations up for sale – it is, then, at this stage that the cars will be tied to their respective tokens and become tradable assets. At this stage, the product is likely to be conceptually near to Cryptokitties.
Stage 3 – Web Dev and E-Commerce
At this stage, the project envisage the creation of desktop web portal that will also be extended onto mobile applications for both iOS and Android. These are the early 2D renderings of the game.
Further down the line, a full roll-out is then envisaged for 3D / VR renderings for Playstation, Gear, Vive and Occulus.
As of writing, there is no information being made available in relation to the individuals behind the project. What we do know is that the project is being lead up by a venture known as Blockchain Studios, which itself is a new outfit for whom CryptoCarz represents its first project.
Blockchain Studios is itself the result of a collaboration between three existing entities: Diginex, Shadow Factory and ActiveGens. The last two on that list appear to be newly created entities; Diginex, on the other hand, has been around for a little longer and a 51% controlling stake in the company was purchased by Madison Group Holdings who are believed to have paid $60m. All three entities appear to be Hong Kong-based.
The project appears to be in its very early days. There is as yet no details forthcoming in relation to the team nor the token sale itself. It is difficult to judge, then, how well it is executing on its marketing strategy without knowing precisely what that marketing strategy involves.
However, there is an active bounty campaign which currently involves around 150 parties – expect to see a lot of activity on social media over the coming weeks.
As of writing, no details have as yet been released by the project team.
It is difficult at these early stages to make a call on the project. We need some further transparency – which the project reps on its Telegram group promise is coming. However, we feel that the idea itself is both revolutionary and feasible – Cryptokitties has proven that. Watch this space for further updates as they come in.