CryptoKitties took off with its cute blockchain-based collectible kittens last fall. Now, it is bringing sports celebrities into mix, starting with collectibles from Golden State Warriors’ star basketball player Stephen Curry.
The first-ever celebrity-branded CryptoKitty will go up for auction today. CryptoKitties became a sensation after it debuted in November as a collectible game built on top of a blockchain and the Ethereum cryptocurrency. In March, the CryptoKitties maker, Axiom Zen game studio, spun out as a separate company and raised $12 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures.
The Curry kitties will probably draw a lot of attention. As of March, CryptoKitties had gained more than 1.5 million users who had conducted more than $40 million in transactions. Some of the game’s most popular cats have sold for the equivalent of more than $200,000.
Axiom Zen said that a giveaway of 10 CryptoKitties will take place in celebration of the partnership with Curry and AppMoji. The idea behind Ethereum-based CryptoKitties is to make blockchain technology accessible and relevant to everyday consumers. Blockchain is the transparent and secure decentralized ledger system behind cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum and Bitcoin. It can verify that a digital image or file is authentic and is the sole copy.
Curry is putting up the first of his three special-edition CryptoKitties up for auction today.
“Stephen is the perfect partner to try out this new kind of Kitty,“ said Mack Flavelle, cofounder of CryptoKitties, in a statement. “He’s an incredible athlete but also has a deep interest in technology and innovation.”
Curry is active in the tech world and is the first celebrity athlete to partner with a blockchain-based game through his involvement with AppMoji, which creates and distributes branded digital assets.
Updated 5/24/18 at 10:41 pm: CryptoKitties took down the Curry assets because it learned Curry wasn’t as involved in the process as CryptoKitties thought.