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Why people are buying cartoon cats on the blockchain

Forget cryptocurrencies — these are cryptocollectibles.

Cleo Abram & Mallory Brangan/Vox

Every time you send something on the internet, it’s a copy. But using new technology, can we make digital goods that are ... rare?

That’s the question behind CryptoKitties, a new service to buy, breed, and sell digital cats on the blockchain. These cats are more similar to real-world collectibles like Beanie Babies or baseball cards than they are to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum. But unlike baseball cards, you can breed them.

In just the past few months, a whole community of third-party sites and services has formed around CryptoKitties. And fans have spent more than $23 million playing along.

All of this is made possible by the clever and surprising code behind the cats.

Watch the video above to find out how CryptoKitties push the limits of digital scarcity.

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