Whether in meme, TikTok or YouTube form, the Internet can’t seem to get enough of cats. Endlessly idiosyncratic and cute, they can both charm and annoy — and occasionally terrorize — their owners, dogs, birds and any other living creature that enters their orbit. So, you knew it was only a matter of time before a feline frenzy overtook the world of blockchain and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Here to capitalize on the latest trend in e-commerce is Cool Cats LLC, a Tampa company, founded in 2021, that produced a set of cat NFTs and, earlier this month, followed that up with the release of Cool Pets, a set of “gamified” NFTs that, according to a news release, can evolve into 178 million different forms as owners send their pets on quests in a “gaming ecosystem” called Cooltopia, where they gather a currency called $MILK.
If you had to re-read that sentence several times to make sense of it, and yet it still seems beyond comprehension, you’re not alone. NFTs are loosely akin to digital trading cards, with each having a unique blockchain identifier that makes it impossible to replicate.
An alternate explanation comes from Cool Cats CEO Chris Hassett: “Cool Pet owners are purchasing a one-of-a-kind work of art that’s also their way into a genuinely entertaining game, where they’re directing each interaction of a novel and differentiated NFT experience,” Hassett states in the release. “Our platform and marketplace support the highly engaged Cool Pet owner who wants to quickly reveal their Cool Pet’s final form, as well as the casual owner who takes a more measured approach to forming their Cool Pet. Either way, it’s just plain fun.”
And profitable. Cool Cats released an initial run of 9,999 of cat NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain, and their total market value has surged to more than $250 million (yes, you read that correctly). Buyers, it seems, can’t get enough of customizing their digi-kitties with 300,000 different bodies, faces, hats and outfits.
For its next run of NFTs, Cool Cats will “mint” 19,999 Cool Pets: 9,999 for existing Cool Cat holders, who can claim one for free, and an additional 10,000 available to new customers.
The cost? 0.5 Ethereum. That’s equivalent to about $1,439, as of Feb. 14.
Kind of expensive for a cat, but what do we know?