Epidemic cryptonomicon as a stress test Ethereum

Game Cryptococci (Cryptokitties), launched on the Ethereum blockchain November 30, has become a real epidemic: on the morning of December 4, cats consume 12% of all gas-commissions Ethereum, leaving behind such old-timers like exchange EtherDelta and Shapeshift. Moreover, cats really hurt the wallets of users of Ethereum, which is not only not going to play them, but have not heard anything about this game. Minimum guaranteed price of gas has risen an order of magnitude, from 0.1 to 4 Gwei, and the occupancy rate of the units approached 100%, which led to a significant increase in the transit time of the transaction. The climax of madness was the sale of the cat zero generation number 1 for 246 ETH, and Reddit exploded with the same type of meme:

And so began the Internet, do not underestimate the power of funny cat pictures.

Cryptococci become another demonstration of the main weakness of the current blockchain of Ethereum – the lack of scalability and low network bandwidth. Of course, saidchina Raiden and Plasma is easy to solve this problem, but before their full launch remains at least six months. Besides, very soon after the seals will be followed by a much more demanding applications.

Cryptococci «pulled out from under the sofa» another critical issue Ethereum: centralized DApps. For some reason, many default believe that the applications of Ethereum are as decentralized as the blockchain, and it is not so. Learning contracts game allows to draw some conclusions.

Cryptococci not eternal, not all DApps decentralized

What’s app-based smart contracts is performed on a decentralized blockchain makes it decentralized to the logic of the smart contract could make them completely dependent on the owner.

Only one team can freeze the world cryptococcal

Right sobstvennsti all seals are contained in a single contract posted on the blockchain: KittyOwnership. Fortunately, in this contract absent the notorious selfdestruct feature, so that the owner can destroy it, but frost contract completely in his power:

function pause() external onlyCLevel whenNotPaused {

paused = true;


The owner of the contract can include a pause, no one asking permission, and then all existing cryptococci fall into a sleep, possibly eternal.

Dapp is not the blockchain. You cannot destroy or damage the Ethereum as a team, and even if a node decides to do something suicidal, the other nodes will continue to work. However, this does not mean that the contract CryptoKitties has the same property. There is only one version of the contract KittyOwnership, and its ownership belongs to a single address Ethereum.

The uniqueness cryptonatica questionable

One of the basic concepts cryptonomicon is that they can be propagated, in the hope of getting a rare and expensive cat. However, the contract GeneScience controlling the result of the cat’s love, not only not open-source (verifiable on Etherscan), but the manufacturer can modify it at any time.

function setGeneScienceAddress(address _address) external onlyCEO {

GeneScienceInterface candidateContract = GeneScienceInterface(_address);

This means that the Director CryptoKitties can replace the algorithm of reproduction, for example, increasing the number of cats in zero generation, or to give an advantage to certain instances over others. The owner of 100% unique cat may suddenly find yourself in the company of 1000 other owners of exactly the same cats.

Of course, most likely, the owners of the contract cryptococcal never do anything like that, but it doesn’t change the fact that someone can do it in the future.

In other words, the uniqueness of the seals provided by a social agreement.

Your cryptonatica may be a second tail

To hold and to transmit data on the Ethereum blockchain is expensive, so Dapps contain only the necessary minimum of logic and data. The uniqueness cryptonatica specify a single unsigned integer: uint256 genes, and the code that turns it into an image and defining the appearance, color, and other properties contained in a centralized server, under the control of the company which may at any time unilaterally change the interpretation of genes: to add a second tail to change color, and even turn the cat into a dog (Doge!)

The blockchain guarantees only the right of ownership of the token standard ERC-721 (non-fungible token) that contains genes, but this does not mean that the owner of the token is fully owned by the data-generating cat.

It should not be

The authors CryptoKitties there was no malicious intent. They created a great app based on the extremely limited existing network infrastructure. Their application attracted a large number of new users of Ethereum, and it is unlikely they expected such a success.

Of course, the ideal app should be located completely on the blockchain, and the data is stored in a distributed file network and transmitted through a verified oracles. Moreover, the data should not only be decentralized, but fully belong to their owners. However, in today’s network this is impossible, because if the first, the Lite version cryptococcal so overloaded network, the resource requirements of such an ideal application in General are beyond the bandwidth of the current Ethereum. So the problem is scaling the network again comes to the fore: a speedy transition to full PoS (hybrid PoS will not increase throughput) and sharding. However, substantial assistance in the near future she will be able to provide a compromise Raiden technology
and Plasma, but for now we can only rely on social agreement with the authors Cryptokitties.

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