Pong-in-a-Dish – IEEE Spectrum

Dragon was never resold—a strange fate for one of the most historically relevant NFTs ever. Newer NFTs such as
“The Merge,” a piece of digital art that sold for the equivalent of $92 million, left Dragon behind as the NFT market surged to record sales, totaling roughly $18 billion in 2021. Has the world simply moved on to newer blockchain projects? Or is this the fate that awaits all NFTs?

Blockchains, smart contracts, and cat genes

To understand the slow death of
CryptoKitties, you have to start at the beginning. Blockchain technology
arguably began with a 1982 paper by the computer scientist David Chaum, but it reached mainstream attention with the success of Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency created by the anonymous person or persons known as Satoshi Nakamoto. At its core, a blockchain is a simple ledger of transactions placed one after another—not unlike a very long Excel spreadsheet.

The complexity comes in how blockchains keep the ledger stable and secure without a central authority; the details of how that’s done vary among blockchains. Bitcoin, though popular as an asset and useful for money-like transactions, has limited support for doing anything else. Newer alternatives, such as
Ethereum, gained popularity because they allow for complex “smart contracts”—executable code stored in the blockchain.

CryptoKitties, if you were to say ‘blockchain,’ everyone would have assumed you’re talking about cryptocurrency”—Bryce Bladon

CryptoKitties was among the first projects to harness smart contracts by attaching code to data constructs called

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