Cryptocats are digital art tokens (NFTs) made in 2017 that are hosted on the Ethereum Blockchain -one of the main crypto networks- and sparked interest recently with the huge NFT Market growth these past few months.
This story is the story of how old digital assets get valued by the public, and why there is more to it than actual art quality and ownership issues.
CryptoCats Reborn: How it Started
Until March 11th and the widespread craze for NFTs in the cryptosphere, a significant portion of these cats NFTs were patiently awaiting their adoption, dormant on the Cryptocats website, just like Mooncats and Cryptopunks before them. Their rediscovery by NFT “Archaeologists” -modern-day archaeologists who search for older, forgotten art tokens- sparked a huge rush with over $1 Million spent in a matter of hours by people trying to get their hands on a precious digital feline.
What made them so popular so quickly is that not only they’re one of the oldest digital tokens ever, but they also are the very first fork (made using the same source code) of the famous Cryptopunks, with some of the cats designed by John Watkinson from LarvaLabs (CryptoPunks co-creator). However, unlike CryptoPunks and their 10000 unique punks, the total amount of Cryptocats available is only 625, so the community that formed around it is way smaller than the CryptoPunks one, and the hype/marketing surrounding it quickly vanished.
That was until a week later, on March 19th, another group of NFT Archaeologists discovered the very first versions of these cats on contracts that were published prior to the official ones.
These early versions featured cats of the latest version that were thought to have been lost forever in “forgotten wallets”, making the rush even more massive.
The original #CryptoCat devs deployed 2 contracts within 3 minutes of each other. The only difference appears to be a cost of 0.08 ETH instead of 0.8 ETH. Greed? Maybe, maybe not. Regardless. There’s cats for the taking.
DYOR, you are 100% responsible.https://t.co/Pj6kMw4n8b
— Allen Hena (@RealAllenHena) March 19, 2021
CryptoCats See New Ownership
Within a few minutes, several hundred cats found a new owner. This story could have ended there, but the blockchain is full of surprises. The first version of these cats is similar in all aspects to the final version except for one non-negligible detail- The price.
They are ten times cheaper than their little brothers. Accused of hiding these versions out of pure financial interest, the developers of the CryptoCats decided to deny this version by doing everything in their power to prevent their trade.
They quickly made an official statement on the matter, wrongfully stating that any older contracts were “buggy” and “unusable”.
We had a situation that happened a few hours ago where people found some old CryptoCat contracts that were never used and never associated with our CryptoCat official website.
— CryptoCats (@CryptoCats26) March 19, 2021
This decision came with serious consequences and angered several users who believed that the developers had violated the spirit of the blockchain. Decentralization, by definition, means that no single individual or entity can own the blockchain as it belongs to the community. It is up only to the market to determine what holds value. A group of enthusiasts began to rehabilitate these cats, disowned by their creators.
The ”unofficial” cats were published on OpenSea, the largest market available for NFTs, but quickly taken down after the original developers reported them.
That didn’t stop the new community from working on making these cats available for everyone, and the archaeologists team who found the contract took the matter in their own hands and started working on a decentralized exchange.
Love and passion coming from this Community is incredible. It’s crazy.
We will do our best to perpetuate the spirit of blockchain and decentralization. Come and write history by joining CryptoCats Labs. The very first disowned #NFT. Made by the Community.https://t.co/JkNuvGmBRh pic.twitter.com/VcAYzaTBzu
— Archaeology NFT (@TheSybarit) March 22, 2021
Thus, 2 days later, CryptoCats Reborn, and its exchange cryptocatslistings.com were born, a fully decentralized exchange acting directly on the contract, without intermediates.
A runaway success that generated over 200 trades and $600,000 in volume in less than a week, all the while the official version of the contract only showed a single sale in 10 days, an all time low since their rediscovery.
-The #CryptoCats devs rejected the older(1st deployed) contracts found by the #NFT community
– The community decided to build their own UI after getting kicked off @opensea
-In less than 48hrs, the 1st deployed CryptoCats have done 200 ETH+ in volume.
The market has spoken https://t.co/DPNVAVeOvE
— JuanSnow (@Juan_Snow1) March 26, 2021
This story of CryptoCats Reborn once again reminds us of the beauty and power of decentralization. The blockchain allows us to free ourselves from individuals and centralization, and it is its users that define the market value of anything on it.