Animoca Brands launches beta release of CryptoKitties into China

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By Filip Karinja - 
Animoca Brands ASX AB1 beta version CryptoKitties blockchain game China

Following up a series of recent new launches and acquisitions, Animoca Brands (ASX: AB1) is back in the headlines with the beta launch of CryptoKitties, a mobile game custom-built for the blockchain landscape, in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The game will be released in Greater China as a beta version iOS app for 5,000 players initially.

According to Animoca, CryptoKitties is “the first and most successful consumer product built on blockchain technology,” integrating users into a collaborative online universe where they can acquire, display and trade various digital assets with other users.

As a game concept, CryptoKitties allows users to collect, breed and trade digital cats with other users on the same network. The game is currently the most popular game on the Ethereum network having registered over 1.5 million users since being launched less than 6 months ago.

Quite astonishingly, and as a slap in the face for many blockchain e-commerce sceptics, CryptoKitties has achieved US$40 million in transactions, with the game’s premium digital assets selling for the equivalent of around US$200,000 (A$255,000).

One of the prime reasons why digital assets can accrue such premiums is because of “collectables” which can often command higher valuations based on limited supply and growing demand.

According to Animoca, “the game has captured the world’s imagination by bringing consumer interest to the blockchain in a dramatic new way.”

Novel e-commerce via blockchain

In January, Animoca signed a deal with Axiom Zen, the developer of CryptoKitties, to publish and promote the game and agreeing to a revenue share generated by the game in China, however no details on this revenue share model has been announced to date.

In addition, Animoca is in line to receive royalties from transactions related to one of Asia’s most prominent illustrators.

Momo Wang is a highly-acclaimed illustrator working in Asia and creating content for the Asian market. Her creations have been adopted by several multinationals such as Motorola, KFC and Fujifilm as part of advertising campaigns, including her most famous creation: Tuzki, a cult-classic consumer hit with millennials with a Hollywood spinoff currently being planned.

She was named the 46th most powerful person in “China’s 100 Most Powerful People” by Century Weekly in 2007 and is the author of seven books including ‘I, TUZKI, U,’ an award-winning book that won Best Graphic Novel at the Annual Book Industry Awards of China.

According to the deal between Animoca and Axiom Zen, Momo Wang will be the first celebrity contributor to the CryptoKitties Artist Series, an initiative offering special edition digital cats designed by prominent artists, influencers, and designers to mobile users in China.

Animoca said that these “special edition cats” will be “highly sought” when designed and made available to the public later this year.