All The Fintech - 12.18.17 - The future of payments is CryptoKitties?

The future of payments is CryptoKitties?

Last week, I purchased my first Crypto Kitty. More specifically, I purchased a Crypto Kitty off, which has created a game around breedable and collectible digital kitties whose identities are logged on the Ethereum blockchain. Since it's launch almost a month ago, over 150,000+ kitties have been sold for $16.7MM worth of ether. On surface level, the demand (as well as my purchase) was completely irrational - the FAQ literally states "think breedable Beanie Babies" as a description. Nevertheless, I believe that CryptoKitties falls into a great example of the next potential big thing that starts out looking like a toy.

I initially attempted to purchase my cryptokitty in a web browser, but that required me to download a Chrome extension (Metamask), where I then had to create another ethereum wallet, transfer ETH to said wallet, and then transact. The experience was a bit clunky, which I chalked up to Metamask being relatively new and I thought about trying Brave which ships with Metamask built-in, but ended up downloading Toshi, which is built and supported by Coinbase.

Toshi is a combination of a mobile based messaging app, user controlled Ethereum wallet, and browser for decentralized applications (dapp for short). It's open source with detailed documentation for anyone to build on the platform, and my experience was pretty seamless (for a crypto transaction). I just sent some ether from my Coinbase wallet to the Toshi wallet, chatted/opened up CryptoKitties, and started transacting in the marketplace for an adorable kitty all while I was in line for a plane.

The combined experience of transferring cryptocurrency seamlessly from one address to another, messaging a validated application, transacting, and then tracking my (kitty) assets all via mobile felt like the future. The experience hit on a ton of "disruptive" themes across fintech (mobile, social, messaging, real time payments, blockchain, blah blah). Crypto and blockchain transactions in general still have a huge UX/UI usability issue (just try setting up an offline wallet...) and platforms like Toshi have enormous potential for driving further adoption. TLDR: Still early stages for blockchain + payments and I literally bought a toy last week. But it's not too far off the in the future where instead of purchasing a toy, I purchase a security, an insurance policy etc.

Side note: One aspect I'm ignoring is that technically CryptoKitties isn't completely decentralized, but that's for another time :).