ROHAM GHAREGOZLOU: We could never create the game and as it currently exists without blockchain.
If you think about Fortnite, if you think about any modern game that you download on your phone, you can buy things. You can never really sell them.
Because of blockchain, when you buy a crypto kitty, it's hundred percent yours. And we couldn't stop you from taking it into a third party experience, even if we wanted to.
It's a very interesting concept to them because they're playing the game and they're enjoying, but they can also get financial return or recoup part of their costs by interacting with this larger economy.
What is Dapper Labs doing with blockchain technology?
Dapper Labs is the world's first blockchain entertainment company, where the creators of CryptoKitties, it's the world's largest blockchain game, and of Cheese Wizards and other applications like Dapper, which make the blockchain easier to use for everybody. We created that Dapper Labs at the end of February 2018 and raised our seed round of financing immediately afterwards from Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures. A few months later, given the progress we're seeing under the hood, we raised the following round of financing from Venrock and Google Ventures to accelerate our progress.
We also have a number of smaller investors on board that are absolutely fantastic. We have two of the world's largest talent agencies, CAA and Endeavor, as well as Digital Currency Group, one of the leading investors in the crypto space.
What can blockchain technology do for ordinary people?
The best way to think about the potential of blockchain is to compare it to the impact that the internet has had. The internet democratized the ability for people to create, distribute and consume information. Blockchain is going to do the same thing for value. If you think about it at its most basic level, in the early days of the internet, anybody was able to go create a website, send an email, reach millions or billions of people. Blockchain will create that same ability for folks to go create a token, whether that's a cryptocurrency or a non-fungible token like CryptoKitties, and have communities, corporations, or even groups of people around the world that have never met each other be able to exchange value without an intermediary, without any middlemen.
How does the blockchain benefit gaming experiences?
Benefits of blockchain for gaming are really absolutely fascinating. Already, people are spending billions of dollars on digital assets without actually having any ownership of them. In 2017, it was over $78 billion that was spent on digital items or downloadable content. Now, blockchain adds three key benefits to games that really changed the game in terms of how people will interact with future experiences.
First, it lets players be able to own the assets that they pay for and take them into third party experiences. So, for the first time, folks that are buying, whether they're buying Fortnite skins, whether they're buying in-game achievements, or assets that actually advance their progress in the game, they can choose to sell them on third party marketplaces if they're no longer interested in experience. They can choose to buy and trade them with other players in order to reach new parts of the game. And really, they're back in the driver's seat rather than being a vassal to the gaming company's choices.
Second, and partially because of this true ownership, games that rely on blockchain technology are able to create this joint venture between themselves and their players in a way that was never possible before. If you think about games are all social networks, they're just a way for us to come together and interact with each other in a different medium, and the ability to tokenize parts of the value in that new medium and share it among different parties has unlocked the crazy possibility for the future, which means that that possibility is a possibility where gamers that are part of the game experience can financially benefit from the work that they do in the economy, they can financially benefit from making the game better, whether that's through bringing new players in, whether that's through adding user generated content, whether that's through providing services to others that are playing in the game.
And third, and maybe again most important, this possibility of games to be moddable by default. If you think about some of the most successful games, they started as mods as in third parties that took original engines or original games and spun them around in a different way. Now, what if we plan for that by default, and what if this, the tokenization could be an economy for all of these third party developers that are contributing back to the game and financially benefiting from it? And folks are going to be able to interact with different paradigms without being as held down by their expectations of things in the real world.
For example, if you're going to apply for a mortgage on the blockchain, you're going to question yourself a lot, you're going to have talk to your financial advisor, you're going to really think about that decision. And the government's- and the regulatory side of things will have to change a lot before it even allows that as a possibility. But within games, people are already locking up their crypto kitties and taking out loans with cats as collateral. People are already using their achievements in a virtual world to be able to get real benefits in the physical world. And we think that's absolutely magical.
What is CryptoKitties?
So, CryptoKitties is the most successful blockchain game, really, because of the community that has been created around it. In a sense, we could never create the game and as it currently exists without blockchain. Without blockchain, nobody would believe the commitment that we've made that hey, we will not make more than 50,000 Generation-0 cats. Because of the blockchain, that is a commitment even we cannot change. And so, that gives these assets value in a way that it really was impossible for a small company like ours to do previously.
Similarly, this concept of a peer to peer economy, if you think about Fortnite, if you think about any modern game that you download on your phone, you can buy things. You can never really sell them. You can go online and try to through third party marketplaces, hock your account and things like that. But the possibilities for fraud are high. The possibilities for actually getting banned by the game maker are high because you're contravening their terms of service. Because of blockchain, when you buy a crypto kitty, it's hundred percent yours. And we couldn't stop you from taking it into a third party experience, even if we wanted to.
And that final concept is the reason that the Kittyverse even exists. Before CryptoKitties was even a platform that people knew that they could trust, they started building on top of it. And the reason is they knew we couldn't stop them. The folks that made KittyHats, one of which actually works here right now, knew that we couldn't stop him from creating this concept and giving it to our customers. And in a way, as a developer sitting by himself, this was the best way for him to be able to reach a new community and be part of something bigger without actually having to reinvent the wheel himself.
How does CryptoKitties help people become familiar with blockchain technology?
So, we created CryptoKitties to make it simple and let people understand blockchain in a different way. For example, to illustrate this concept of digital scarcity, this concept of limited edition digital objects, we created 50,000 Generation-0 cats. And everybody could tell from the day one of the game that they can never be any more than 50,000 because the rules of the software won't allow it. And so, these Generations-0 cats throughout the bear market of 2018 actually kept their value better than Bitcoin did for this reason.
And another example of how CryptoKitties helps people understand blockchain better is if 85% of transactions within the CryptoKitties' network are between players rather than between players and us. And this is much more of a Napster-like game than a Spotify-like game. And it lets people understand the concept of a peer to peer economy rather than a centralized economy.
The third, and I think my favorite way where CryptoKitties is starting to show the potential of blockchain in a way that can be easily understood is this idea of extensibility. So, because the blockchain software programs run out there in the open, anybody can build on top of them without taking this thing that we call platform risk, without taking the risk that the creators of the software can cut them off. For example, within weeks of launching CryptoKitties, we had folks building third party applications like KittyCalc.
Now, we have things like KittyRaces, we have KittyHats, we have Kota Wars, which is the ability for people to actually fight their cats together. And all of these developers are actually creating an ecosystem, an economy on top of CryptoKitties in a way that shows the owners of CryptoKitties, these users the power of blockchain, the power of open source services that can live out there, be accessible by anybody, and eventually, be recombined by developers in new ways, creating more choice for the consumer.
What is the Kittyverse?
Yeah, the Kittyverse is essentially this global community of developers that are building applications for CryptoKitties. Most of them are hobbyists, they're hackers. They're independent Ethereum developers. But we also have academic institutions. We also have people who are trying to use CryptoKitties to teach the value of blockchain but also the path to building on top of the blockchain. And recently, we've also had professional gaming companies that are reaching out, wanting to both license their crypto kitties IP, as well as develop on top of the platform.
And the reason people are doing this is that the community is a cohesive community of folks that are willing to spend in order to invest in their experiences, in their cats. And in a sense, because blockchain is a fabric of value, because these cats as tokens already hold value. It's relatively straightforward for third party developers to be able to have their own business models on top of ours. For example, KittyRaces charged per race, KittyHats allowed artists to design clothing, whether they're hats or glasses or a variety of accessories for cats and sell them to kitty owners and make a piece of the profit.
So, in this sense, because blockchain is such a by nature a token-driven economy, it makes it a lot it easier for folks who are already part of the network to spend on complimentary experiences without affecting- I should mention, our experience. There's nobody can corrupt your crypto kitty, no third party developer can build something that takes something away from you, they can only add to the experience that we created.
Who plays CryptoKitties?
Folks that are playing CryptoKitties are really the early adopters that were willing to go through all the steps and look past all of the under construction signs on the Ethereum blockchain to actually get to the core experience and be a part of the community. Most of our players actually don't identify as cryptocurrency fans, they identify as gamers, or folks that are interested in the collectability aspect of things. And this across the board, whether it's parents that are playing CryptoKitties with their kids to teach them the value of true ownership and the possibilities for a different digital future. And these are mostly Silicon Valley parents with themselves working with large tech companies.
Or it's just hobbyists, who really enjoy the puzzle aspect of finding these cats and they enjoy the fact that they can actually monetize and sell the collectible pieces that they don't want. Unlike every other game where you're have to take the things you do want, you don't want as well as the things that you're working for. It's a very interesting concept to them because they're playing the game and they're enjoying, but they can also get financial return or recoup part of their costs by interacting with this larger economy.
What new products are you developing now?
As a company, we're really focused on two categories of things. First is obviously creating experiences that that teach people the benefits of blockchain and crypto kitties. We've got a lot of big plans for CryptoKitties ahead. You might have also seen Cheese Wizards, which is our next game experience. Now, Cheese Wizards is essentially everything that people thought CryptoKitties was in the sense that it's a speculative experience. It's a high risk experience, really designed for the current crypto community. And it lets people interact socially in a way that really wasn't possible before blockchain, and in a different way, I should add, than CryptoKitties.
So, CryptoKitties and Cheese Wizards are two of the experiences that we're working on currently. But the rest of our team is really trying to solve some of the fundamental blockers to adoption of blockchain as a whole. And we're trying to do that in a way that's as open source and serving the community as possible. One of the products that we released in this frame recently is called Dapper and Dapper is the first step towards making blockchains safe and usable for everybody. Because today, most blockchains applications really expect the user to take charge of everything related to their own security. They give their private keys away to the user and they say, well, hey, if you lose this, you're completely out of luck.
We honestly got lot of flak from some of our players for not guiding them better throughout that process. And that's why we created Dapper. Dapper is a smart contract wallet, which means instead of us giving your private key to you and putting it on your device or a place that it can get lost, we put it in a smart contract. And there's a variety of rules that determine how you can interact with your assets and in a way that keeps you safe but doesn't give us any control over the things that you've bought and prepaid for.
What's next for blockchain technology?
So, blockchain is about open ecosystems. So, how you can help is just by getting involved, trying out applications, giving feedback to the developers. And if you have any skills that are missing in the blockchain ecosystem, such as design, storytelling, or even business and finance, get involved, reach out to projects that you find interesting. This is really about remaking a new digital future. And we're going to need everybody's help to do that.
What is Dapper Labs doing with Blockchain Technology?
What can blockchain technology do for ordinary people?
How does the Blockchain benefit gaming experiences?
What is CryptoKitties?
How does CryptoKitties help people become familiar with Blockchain technology?
What is The KittyVerse?
Who plays Cryptokitties?
What new products are you developing now?
What's next for Blockchain technology?