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The Next CryptoKitties? The Blockchain Might Not Be Ready Posted on Dec 06 - 2017

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If CryptoKitties didn't come up in every single session at Token Summit II, it came close enough.

But the insanely viral trading game was most often cited, not as a success, but as an example of industry challenges. As put forward by developers and entrepreneurs, the world's second-largest blockchain, just isn't ready to handle the buying, trading and mating of the crypto felines en masse.

As the panels proved, though, the problem is bigger than ethereum and CryptoKitties alone.

Scaling issues also influenced Earn.com's decision to create a token this year, and onstage, CEO Balaji Srinivasan spoke to a "philosophical split" in approaches to bitcoin that led to the decision.

Brian Hoffman, CEO of OB1, the startup that manages the e-commerce platform OpenBazaar struck a similar chord, in a talk in which he announced his company's plans to launch a token it will use in conjunction with bitcoin.

Hoffman told the audience:

You have to have a transactional currency that really works. Bitcoin fees are super high. It's really slow."

And developers largely agreed.

"Everyone in this space should be putting the pedal to the metal on experimentation," said Joseph Poon, co-author of the ethereum scaling proposal Plasma (as well as bitcoin's Lightning proposal).

User experience

But rapid growth on blockchain networks creates other kinds of choke points, and MyEtherWallet founder Taylor Monahan spoke to rocket-like growth her firm has experienced over the last year.

"We were not ready to scale at that level," Monahan said.

In January, MyEtherWallet was seeing about 5,000 transactions per day. The last time she looked, it was more like 150,000.

And while some founders might be excited at the issue, the problem, according to Monahan lies in the fact that those signing up don't exactly understand the product. For example, Monahan said the company gets requests on a regular basis from people who don't understand that MyEtherWallet doesn't hold their keys and doesn't have the ability to recover lost funds.

Despite the company's efforts to educate users, it hasn't been able to overcome a new customer base that just assumes the provider can restore anyone's access to any service.

Monahan said she's had to reorient her thinking to new people, not the hacker or the crypto-enthusiast she built the service for.

"I'm no longer our user,” she said. The statements help illustrate ways in which blockchain infrastructure isn't ready for growth, even with users now hooked on CryptoKitties. View More

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