The first ERC-721 token: CryptoKitties

An image of cryptokitties

Breeding these cute little cats became so popular at the peak of the crypto bubble in 2017 that they literally “broke” Ethereum by driving gas prices up so high. This was the first instance of a blockchain game going viral, and thanks to all the hype that surrounded it, the term “NFT” was coined. 

If that’s not enough, CryptoKitties was also the first ERC-721 token. The ERC-721 is an open standard that describes how to build NFTs on EVM (Ethereum virtual machine) compatible blockchains, and it’s the standard that most NFTs still use today. 

There is a common misconception that these cats make for a poor store of value due to their unlimited supply, but this is not true. There will only ever be 100 founder cats and 50,000 Gen-0 cats, and for the hardcore collector, there are plenty of other niches to explore. Quite a few OGs – including Pranksy, Chris Dixon, Nate Alex, and the founders of Axie Infinity – got their start in NFTs via CryptoKitties. If you talk to one of the individuals who bred back then, they likely won’t hesitate to tell you about their emotional attachment to these kitties. Case in point, I still hold the cats that I bred during their peak popularity, and I plan on passing them down to my children.

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