My partner Andy and I were playing with the latest crypto craze, cryptokitties, this weekend and he suggested we sire a USV kitty.

So he contributed a parent from his collection and I contributed a parent from my collection and with the addition of some Ethereum, which I paid from my Coinbase account, we made a new kitty.

Since it is a USV kitty, we asked the USV team to send in name suggestions and Jacqueline won that contest with the wonderful name of Un-Super-Vised.

That’s a handsome cat but the thing I like most is its “lucky stripe.” God knows we need that in the startup business.

In the wake of all that excitement, Jacqueline posted her thoughts on this craze. If you want to know what to make of all of this, I’d suggest giving that a read.


Comments (Archived):

    1. Twain Twain


  1. LE

    CryptoKitties is one of the world’s first games to be built on blockchain technologyI think this is a great idea. Honestly I really like the idea and I think it has the potential to be big.The problem I see though (I dream in drawbacks) is that the kitties aren’t cute enough. They don’t follow the Disney rules (there must be some?) for cuteness. The only thing the kitties have is big eyes. And those eyes aren’t even placed correctly in the head.Further they don’t have other desirable features that make them lovable. So while this could be big with geeks (who have no sense of style; let’s face it) I am not seeing what is needed for general public adoption. Which is unfortunate. The art needs improvement to tug at the heartstrings.Remember also that a static image has only the personality conveyed in the image and can’t be corrected by voice or animation…. https://uploads.disquscdn.c

    1. mplsvbhvr

      CK update 7.9.1 – Kitties now have alexa/facial recognition integration and will nuzzle, sit, and purr from your voice commands/facial expressions via boston robotics new KITTYBOT9000:)The future is looking interesting these days…

  2. awaldstein

    Been all over this as a crypto junky and a cat fanatic.What I would really like is to see this taken to the next level as a way that crypto communities of interest with economic underpinnings can drive world change and support causes.Some way to funnel off a percent of the currency inflation to support rescue cats and close kill shelters seems to make sense.That part of crpto as a change maker is what truly calls to me.

    1. mplsvbhvr

      Very cool idea… hadn’t thought of this. Tangentially related to even a blockchain based UBI in the future…

  3. jason wright

    this is one of those seemingly inconsequential behaviours that could actual lead somewhere interesting further down the road when it morphs and becomes the launchpad for a compelling product/ service. not saying cats are not compelling, but unless I eat one I still need to put food on the table from another economic process. watch this space.so many blockchain projects (almost all) have economics based purely on speculation about their potential future utility and the need for the token. kitty seems naturally organic. refreshing.I can see the lineage in the eyes.

    1. JamesHRH

      Or not. Just saying.

      1. jason wright

        the caterpillar becomes the butterfly, flaps its wings, and all that was ordered in this world becomes chaos. looking forward to that :)saying is good. keep it up.

  4. mplsvbhvr

    Gaming is 100% a leading indicator in adoption of technology… kitties is a proof of concept of digital ownership and I couldn’t be more excited about the endless possibilities this leads to (medical records, memories, literally anything that could theoretically be digitized).That being said (and I posted this on Jacqueline’s blog as well) what is a USV kitty worth? Would people pay more for this kitty simply based upon it’s relationship to the non-blockchain world? It’s an interesting intersection where we can tie things in the physical world to the digital…. Curious to see where it all goes from here.

    1. JamesHRH

      More importantly, how is an amusing diversion a proof of concept for an alternative financial system?Hint: it’s not.

      1. mplsvbhvr

        Full financial system? Definitely notProof of concept for ownership of unique digital assets? I think we have a fair case for that…I think of Kitties as a viral blockchain version of “A Universe Explodes” (https://www.wired.com/2017/…. If we can own cats, can’t we own our own medical records? What about the “first press” of a digital recording? Or a book?What about if we get to the point where we can digitize our own memories? I’d very much like to own those… Oddly enough I’d very much like to be able to share them as well – or purchase them in certain cases.I don’t think kitties is going to revolutionize the world, but it’s clearly a step in the right direction.

    2. jason wright

      i agree, but what has happened to the green frog craze?

      1. mplsvbhvr

        Pepes aren’t as cute – and they didn’t have lineage from what I remember.One of the most interesting feature of kitties are the generations and the lineage. We now not only have rarity, but proximity as well. From what I remember, memefrog didn’t have this feature.It’s a small change in code, but it lends itself to pulling at the heartstrings more than any dApp we’ve seen thus far. I might not be able to get my hands on Un-Super-Vised, but I might be able to scoop up his/her kid or a grandparent somewhere, and this could theoretically be of value as well.It’s a much closer analogy to how we think of things in the physical world, and the closer we can tie the two the more powerful the technology will ultimately be.

  5. JamesHRH

    Cannot believe it’s not named Bubbles.

    1. pointsnfigures


    2. JLM

      .When I was in Berlin in the Army, there was a dancer named ………….JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  6. DJL

    Just like Farmville, I do not get this at all. But I can see it as a great proof point for consumer-based blockchain apps.Apparently the popularity of this game is already straining the scale-ability of the blockchain. Better to have kittens doing it than e-commerce sites. When I look below the surface I see total confusion on how this is going to be addressed. Most seem to be creating their own tokens. But this seems bad, because the tokens are only needed to avoid core blockchain weakness, not as valuable on their own. Others like EOS are providing a completely different chain (but then excluding US citizens from the token sale.)If I was going to build a business on blockchain, I would have a hard time figuring where to hang your hat.

  7. jason wright

    on another note, has anyone using a Pixel received 8.1 today? i’m still waiting.

  8. Richard

    It’s laughable that this group of 50+ year old men are spending even a minute of their remaining lives on this.

    1. Chimpwithcans

      And yet here you are spending minutes of your life discussing the laughable minutes of OTHER men’s lives spent on something you are not spending your minutes on……Don’t get it. Funny circular thing you’re doing. But don’t get it.

      1. Richard

        Nothing circular, it’s a direct pour of cold water on this topic and the collective time (lost) it has consumed.

    2. Mario Cantin

      It’s an exploration of possibilities. You need an open mind to innovate, or to back up innovations. We’re not talking of grown men on welfare who do this instead of raising their children or going to work. They’re paying attention about developing use cases. As much as you or I find the kitties a waste of time, playing with them might be a requisite to zigzagging one’s way to the next Kickstarter, Etsy, Twitter, Coinbase, etc.

      1. Richard

        I agree and had the discussion started from this view point I would not have commented. It’s the mendacity that frustrates me.

  9. falicon

    The *really* interesting thing here is that at the same time this experiment is gaining traction, the price of Ether has actually been idle (or dropping)…while the price of BitCoin continues to explode up.I would expect the more adoption stuff like this gets, the more (long term) value Ether gains…but it’s interesting to see the reality of the short term (one can only assume it’s quick cash-outs and some loss of faith in the network to scale cash outs [i.e. lack of patience])Also – as a complete aside – this system is really well done (but did you see the number of people behind the agency that built it!? I wonder what sort of investment they put into it [seems like it’s already paid off though])

  10. Frank W. Miller

    Why do I feel like I’m listening to P.T. Barnum?

  11. JLM

    .I never owned an analog Pet Rock. Life has turned out OK.I am tempted to suggest this is just silly shit, but I am way more polite than that.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Jim Ritchie

      Just spent yesterday at William Mougayar’s http://tokensummit.com/ and I was also at the one in NYC in May.Good technical presentations on solving blockchain scaling issues and interesting real world apps being built on Ethereum and other blockchains. CryptoKitties is just a simple, silly, PoC app. I don’t have time for such diversions, but then again I don’t play any video games. Some people love these things, but I guess for us it just does not make sense.My belief is that blockchains will be everywhere in 5 years and that most assets will be tokenized so therefore tradeable on blockchains.The number of new VCs and hedge fund guys I met that are figuring out how to enter crypto was very interesting. The institutional money is definitely coming.

    2. Chimpwithcans

      Nothing wrong with a bit of silly shit. Gives you perspective on all the serious shit. And Kitties…..it gives you Kitties too.

      1. JLM

        .See you fell into the trap. I did NOT say it was silly shit. I said I was “tempted to suggest this is silly shit.”Huge difference. Huge.The world is awash with silly shit. Unfortunately.But, of course, you are right.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. Chimpwithcans

          You Sir fell into the other trap. I did NOT say that you said it WAS silly shit. I said there is “nothing wrong with a bit of silly shit”Huge difference. Huge.;)

          1. JLM

            .Now the question is — Did I feed that softball to you?Merry Christmas, other culturally appropriate expression of the holiday season.[Just let my foot out of the trap. I don’t want any more cheese.]JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. Chimpwithcans

            Haha…I wouldn’t be surprised if you fed the softball.Be free and have a great day as I head into night.Merry Christmas!

    3. Girish Mehta

      I do not know you dear sir, but you sound to me like a man who looks at the tip of the finger when the “wise” person points to the stars.Today, cryptokitties. Tomorrow, the world. It is all about the “frictionless transfer of digital assets on a blockchain”. #Sarcasm.I am tempted to say that we will look back and say 2017 was a weird time. Only tempted, mind you.

      1. JLM

        .Haha, I know I should feel insulted at your comment, but I have a safe harbor as I know no truly wise men.I think we will be able to safely say — only 25 days left — that 2017 was a weird year.Who knows, maybe the cryptokitty is the “killer app?” Or, the baby Jesus?Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays or other culturally appropriate holiday blessing upon you and the entire AVC nation.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. Girish Mehta

          Sarcasm.Weirdness is relative ? I thought 2016 was a little weird. Then 2017 happened. I am afraid that we have the cryptoworld of 2018 to look forward to.

          1. JLM

            .I am having new appliances installed, so I am on call for answering questions right now.The weirdness of 2016 was anticipatory. The weirdness of 2017 has been a little weirder, more real action.I think 2018 is going to be the year of big inflection points. The world is going to change in big ways.I make a series of predictions every year. I predicted, as an example, that the DOW would hit 24,000. It did.http://themusingsofthebigre…It is also going to be a dangerous year. My crystal ball says it is going to be a great year for YOU.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. Donna Brewington White

            I can’t even imagine.

    4. sigmaalgebra

      Something like cryto kitty looks just trivial, a toy, but some toys illustrate, exemplify, although usually not merely by accident, something that is important about something fundamental, new, powerful, and valuable.Politically, such toy problems can be traps for people who want to claim that research is a big waste.E.g., there is the traveling salesman problem: The problem is enormously important in practice, in pure and applied math, and even philosophically maybe on the scale of the undecidable questions such as the continuum hypothesis and the work of Kurt Gödel and Paul Cohen.But, actually, the importance is not really for traveling salesmen. In practice we have long been able to do quite well for the salesmen. E.g., for a really nice first cut, just connect the cities with a minimum spanning tree (there are two really nice, fast, cute, dirt simple algorithms for doing that), and then do essentially a depth first traversal of the tree simply taking direct paths to the next city in the depth first traversal not yet visited. This idea is from Richard Karp. The idea has some astoundingly good asymptotic, probabilistic properties.But the traveling salesman problem is one of now a huge collection of problems, e.g., with a good, now milestone (Bell Labs) start inMichael R. Garey and David S. Johnson, Computers and Intractability: A Guide to the Theory of NP-Completeness.and a $1 million prize, IIRC, still waiting to be claimed, at Clay Math.So, there are lots of problems; they look roughly similar but still significantly different; mostly they look combinatorial; they are all easy to solve, just program a computer to try all the combinations one at a time, if you are willing to wait, maybe, no joke, a trillion years; and there is a fast way to solve, exactly, all the worst cases of all those problems or no such way for any of the problems. Astounding work and results.Uh, for positive integer n, an instance of the traveling salesman problem on n cities is specified by an n x n matrix of distances between pairs of cities — right, with 0s on the main (UL-LR) diagonal! Okay. For a given tour a salesman might take, the set of all problems for which that tour is the shortest is convex in n^2 dimensions. Moreover, that set is a cone with flat sides. Moreover, the set of all such cones are all rigid images of each other and all tile the positive cone in n^2 space. We didn’t even know that there could be such a tiling — now we do! So, maybe fold that big cone down to one of individual cones and … win $1 million? Nope. No surprise — it didn’t work! But quickly can read off a lot of just mind-blowing, astounding properties of those cones! Cute problem!For a lot of those combinatorial problems, a fast solution would be revolutionary for major parts of our economy and even civilization.E.g., factoring a large integer into its product of prime numbers would become trivial. Thus, IIRC, blockchain mining would become trivial; computer security would go into the toilet and take a lot of military technology with it; economic planning, production, distribution, logistics, etc. would all be revolutionized; the NSA would get a super big tummy ache!There are claims that a good algorithm would trivialize nearly all of research mathematics!So, it’s not just about traveling salesman!I first touched on the traveling salesman problem while writing software to schedule the fleet at FedEx. I was successful, and my work pleased the BoD, enabled crucial funding, and literally saved the company. But, right, I didn’t do work that would win me the $1 million prize!I did meet George as in:Robert S. Garfinkel and George L. Nemhauser, Integer Programming.George L. Nemhauser and Laurence A. Wolsey, Integer and Combinatorial Optimization.As I left his office to rush for my flight, he gave me three words of advice. When I landed, writing nothing, still not in grad school yet, I had the intuitive work for my Ph.D. dissertation! Later he liked it; he chided me for not publishing; I didn’t want to publish it; I wanted to sell it!And I met Bill (Cunningham — he was one of my professors) as inWilliam H. Cunningham and John G. Klincewicz, “On Cycling in the Network Simplex Method,” Mathematical Programming, volume 26.William J. Cook, William H. Cunningham, William R. Pulleyblank, and Alexander Schrijver, Combinatorial Optimization.and from his work on the network simplex algorithm and for a tricky, now classic marketing problem, I wrote a version of the corresponding code!The network simplex algorithm is a super cute case were we have super good algorithms (at least two, the more recent due to D. Bertsekas at MIT) for what look like challenging problems in combinatorial optimization but are not.For blockchain, I’m unsure that it is serious enough to regard as really important — as technology, not just investor psychology bubble blowing.For various cases of secure, distributed work, my understanding is that we have a lot of good technology now, e.g., via now highly polished relational database technology.But to borrow from Yoda, “Always difficult to see, the future is.”And it can be challenging to see what research might be just super important:Example 1: In an effort to design communications satellites, aim a radio antenna at the night sky and see what the radio noise looks like that the satellite communications will have to contend with. Bingo! Nobel prize and, soon, discovery that the big bang did exist and happened 13.8 billion years ago!We got one of the bigger steps up in civilization, one we would not want to be without, even if we don’t see a $1 billion company from it right away.Example 2: As a means to detect atmospheric nuclear explosions, put a gamma ray detector into orbit. Bingo! Discover gamma ray bursts from super nova explosions that for some seconds radiate more power than whole galaxies. Conclude that the explosions commonly create black holes. So, material from the star orbits the black hole, and from the extreme pressures some matter squirts out poles of the disk. Since the matter is just ions, with the magnetic field there, they go in helical paths and with enough acceleration to radiate gamma rays. Amazing.Supposedly a gamma ray burst in our neighborhood of our galaxy would blow the atmosphere off the earth! And since the blast would be coming at the speed of light, we wouldn’t get any advanced warning! We didn’t know that; now we do!Example 3: Just what the heck is the bio-chemical basis of genes and heredity? Ah, in 1953 there was the Watson-Crick work on DNA! Bingo. Nobel prize and now the main foundation of the war on cancer!Example 4: Yesterday at Hacker News athttps://news.ycombinator.co…was”‘Outsiders’ Crack 50-Year-Old Math Problem (2015)”about the 2015 articleErica Klarreich, “‘Outsiders’ Crack 50-Year-Old Math Problem,” Quanta Magazine.athttps://www.quantamagazine….Sure, the magazine is a James Simons effort. Nice work!So, it’s the Kadison-Singer problem. It’s a goofy, abstract problem.So, some guy outside the collection of usual suspects working on such problems found a solution with ideas far from what people had been trying.He ends up somehow using interlacing roots of polynomials; have to wonder what the connection is with the famous interlacing eigenvalues result in matrix theory, especially since eigenvalues are roots of polynomials built from the matrices.Then, soon, someone found a use of the solution for some progress on the traveling salesman problem. Progress on that problem is not easy to come by; so any progress is welcome.So, for the technology that crypto kitty used, maybe there is something fundamental there, and maybe very useful.I’ve been in a lot of far out pure and also a lot of really practical math so have had to struggle to get some views and judgment about what is important, powerful, valuable, useful, etc. Easy it ain’t. And it’s a judgment call. It’s a place to learn where likely have to pay “full tuition”.E.g., for such a judgment call, before grad school one way and another I’d done a lot of applied statistics. I’d been pushed into the deep end of the pool and struggled but covered a lot of stuff. Later in grad school, I was in an actual statistics course, my first statistics course, really not applied but mathematical. The material was mostly simple, trivial, even silly for me. Soon the course got to sufficient statistics, an amazing but tricky topic. The book totally blew the topic and so did the prof. So, since P. Halmos was one of my favorite authors, I rushed to the library to get the original, solid, official wordP. R. Halmos, L. I. Savage, “Application of the Radon–Nikodym Theorem to the Theory of Sufficient Statistics,” Annals of Mathematical Statistics, 20 (1949) pp. 225–241.e.g., now with a nice introduction athttps://www.encyclopediaofm…But, maybe there was a small error in the paper. As a grad student, I was busy, short on sleep, etc., so, for the first and last time, I asked the prof for some help. The prof didn’t understand the paper. I was busy with a lot of just super good math so just could NOT stomach spending scarce, valuable time on that bone-head mathematical statistics course so walked out. I’d already wasted a lot of time and earned my bones in that department by blowing away all the other students in a flunk-out course where going in I new 80+% of the material and didn’t want any more time wasting, hoop gymnastics and, very much instead, was just determined to concentrate on learning high quality stuff I didn’t know and had long wished I did. My department Chair was PISSED. But I was forgiven, and the stats prof was gone the next year. Strictly I was on rock solid ground: Generally, a grad student gets to be quite selective on what material he listens to from profs. In particular, the main Ph.D. requirement is just RESEARCH, and officially there was no coursework requirement. As usual there was a qualifying exam requirement, but I was not going to take the statistics qualifying exam.So, I made a math subject judgment call. Looking back, I was correct: The course was baby talk for me. Sufficient statistics is good stuff. There’s lots more good stuff not in such a stats course.My interests in math are nearly all just what they have always been (back to Mom terrified of being poor) — making money, the green kind. So, from that motivation, for my judgment calls, I’ve looked first for an application. Partly that’s a good idea; partly, even just for making money, it’s not always such a good idea because some of the fundamental stuff is so powerful we should have it in our toolbox even just for making money, and even if we don’t see an application to our practical problem solving and money making yet — gee, in the back of my SUV I have a tool box with a lot of English and metric wrenches; I have yet to use all the metric wrenches!So, net, I can’t yet dismiss the technology behind crypto kitties as useless forever. But forever is a long time. Even if we knew there would be uses eventually, eventually we will all be dead. So, in response, often, as a way to filter the needles from the hay, but not always, I want to stay close to real applications.But, techniques for distributed computing form an old field. A lot is known. I might doubt that the technology behind crypto kitties is really an important step forward in that field.Generally I’ve avoided the blockchain push because I fail to see that it promises to solve problems we haven’t been able to solve for a long time by other, long well known means. So, if those other means have not yielded great applications, then I doubt that the blockchain will.As athttps://www.bloomberg.com/n…on November 29, 2017,”Stiglitz discusses Bitcoin on Bloomberg Television.”“bitcoin is successful only because of its potential for circumvention, lack of oversight.”“So it seems to me it ought to be outlawed,” “It doesn’t serve any socially useful function.”

    5. Donna Brewington White

      You ruined it #CryptoKitties! I almost had my husband sold on #blockchain and #crypto. Now I must start all over again.— Donna White (@donnawhite) December 10, 2017<script async=”” src=”https://platform.twitter.co…” charset=”utf-8″></script>

  12. William Mougayar

    What’s more significant is the technology standard behind this, the Ethereum ERC 721 non-fungeable Token standard for trading assets.Its simplicity is remarkable and API-like, which we need more of.Any asset that can be represented on the blockchain will be.I’m waiting for the Crypto-Puppies!!

  13. Dasher

    Are we witnessing the crypto jumping the shark moment?

  14. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Saw this when it debuted on Product Hunt. My first thought was, “Wow, my daughter may get into crypto before I do!” Ha! She’s 8 and would take to this instantly. When we play Minecraft, she spends all her time spawning animals. She’s a Wolfquest fanatic.The art is great, too :)Anyone who’s spent time on Steam can see it’s pretty clear crypto has a great future in multi-player gaming.

  15. Bruce Warila

    I love cryptokitties. Well, maybe not what it is today, but what I told my kids it could become. I printed the site a couple nights ago and asked my teanagers: why would anyone pay $5,000 for a cryptokitty?Imagine if you could show your cryptokitty on a big flat screen and tell your friends that you have the only one. Kids: So what.Imagine if you could prove Dave Matthews was the creator. Kids: Hmmm.Imagine if you could prove your cryptokitty was created by mating Dave Matthew’s cryptokitty with Taylor Swift’s cryptokitty. Kids: Hmmmm.Imagine if your cryptokitty came with a smart contract whereby your phone automatically connected to Taylor Swift’s phone every December 4th at 5PM so the two of you could talk for twenty minutes about your…cryptokitties. Kids: Hmmmmm.Imagine if your cryptokitty came with private messages, ticket deals, merch deals, backstage passes, meet and greets, and it was all authenticated and guaranteed. Kids: Hmmmmmmmm.Imagine simply touching your cryptokitty on the screen to show all your friends…how powerful your cryptokitty is. Kids: Can we buy one?

  16. jason wright

    Chairman Miao and William Shakespaw.

  17. Donna Brewington White

    Et tu, Fred, et tu?