CryptoKitties is not holding an ICO. Instead, we’re offering utility from day one and pursuing a sustainable revenue model based on our games’ mechanics.
The problem with ICOs
ICOs are a powerful funding model, allowing projects to succeed outside of traditional venture capitalism models and without a deep-pocketed founder. Instead, ICOs leverage investor trust on the principles and potential of the project.
Unfortunately, like all good things that work well, the model was almost immediately abused by scam artists and opportunists. Misuse has sown distrust in the underlying technology, created firebrand mindsets in the community, and fostered discordant expectations that are going to meet with a violent clash.
The right way to ICO
The CryptoKitties team subscribes to the same thinking as Jez San Obe, the CEO and Founder of FunFair:
“You should have a product before you ICO, you should know how to run a company, you shouldn’t have an anonymous team and you should release a prototype first.”
Despite ticking all of these boxes — we revealed our prototype at ETHWaterloo, we have numerous notable team members, we’re building in public — we’re still not pursuing an ICO.
CryptoKitties has the unique benefit of Axiom Zen’s backing. It would have been easy to leverage our parent company’s pedigree to hold an ICO and pursue our revenue model. However, it would have been disingenuous for both Axiom Zen and CryptoKitties to do so.
Your product needs to reflect your principles
When I say your product needs to reflect your principles, I mean that almost every way it can be interpreted: in terms of your team, your processes, your product’s purpose, and yes, how your product is funded.
Our technical architect has been following and mining cryptocurrency since 2010 and, as a company, we’ve been exploring blockchain technology since 2014. That same year, our team won the Money20/20 Hackathon with two projects based on blockchain technology.
We think it’s finally time for blockchain to make its way towards real-world application, especially outside of the headline-hogging cryptocurrency space. That’s what Axiom Zen wants to do, and CryptoKitties is our first attempt at building that bridge. This alignment in intentions is no accident.
Even though ICOs break down some of the traditional funding barriers, they put up a multitude of technical ones. Holding an ICO would result in a project limited to investors, and we want to make our game as accessible as possible.
Admittedly, blockchain still presents technical obstacles for the average consumer, but our award-winning UX aims to address as many of these as possible while the technology catches up.
We believe in blockchain, and we believe in this project
Numerous people are hoping to change the world with their blockchain project, and that’s great. Blockchain can disrupt numerous models and industries, especially ones dominated by legacy players. Personally, our team is excited about the concept of digital scarcity, and a big reason we’re pursuing CryptoKitties is that no one else has explored the idea in a way that satisfies our team.
However, almost every blockchain project is esoteric in concept and mind-numbing in its presentation. Few projects are exciting, let alone approachable, to the average consumer. That’s something we hope to change with CryptoKitties.
Our mission is to introduce the world to the first mainstream dApp (decentralized application).
A dApp has its backend code running on a decentralized peer-to-peer network. A traditional app has backend code running on centralized servers.
We consider it a win if we convince our grandparents, niece and nephews, and friends to engage with this technology and associate positive emotions to it.
We want to leverage the power of fun and games to make blockchain more accessible. We can’t do that by offering an ICO.
It turns out the best way to achieve our goals is more traditional: build something you believe in, make it as applicable and accessible as possible, and try to have fun along the way.