Move over Cryptokitties. The ethereum network has a new batch of games to blame for rising gas fees. Over the past week, the viral success of dapps such as Ether Shrimp Farm, Ether Cartel, and Pepe Farm has congested the ethereum blockchain, questioning its readiness for enterprise adoption.
Ethereum Endures a Plague of Frogs and Shrimp
In the same week that Fedex announced plans to build a logistics tool on the ethereum network, fresh doubts over its readiness for enterprise use have emerged. A clutch of new games, created and nurtured in the depths of 4chan, has raised gas prices and show the fragility of the blockchain in its current state. While not as fatal as Cryptokitties, ethereum’s first viral onchain game, Ether Shrimp Farm and its spin-off Ether Cartel have still taken their toll on the network.
The former dapp requires users to hatch and sell shrimp in a bid to maximize production before ultimately exchanging eggs for ether. Ether Cartel, meanwhile, takes the same concept and applies it to drug running. The game “features a high tech automated market that lets you instantly buy or sell drugs with a single transaction. The more kilos you have, the more drugs they produce (each kilo produces at a rate of 1 per day). Collect more kilos with your drugs to multiply your production.”
Meme Games Top the Charts and Up the Gas
After amassing 26,000 transactions in just 24 hours, 4Chan’s ethereum games saw gas fees more than double to $0.2. They have since settled at just over $0.1 per transaction according to Eth Gas Station but the games, including Ether Anthills and Pepe Farm, still occupy 9 out of the top 10 spots in Dapp Radar’s new dapps category. Ether Cartel and Fish Farm also occupy third and fourth in the top 10 for all dapps, just behind IDEX and Forkdelta. In the last week, Ether Shrimp Farm alone has been responsible for 43,000 transactions.
While many people have seen the amusing side of all this, not everyone is impressed. As one commenter pointed out, “If the 2nd largest cryptocurrency can be destroyed by cryptokitties and shrimp farms then it isn’t ready for prime time and we have a long way to go before mass adoption. These games may seem stupid, but they serve as valuable stress tests for the ecosystem as a whole, and show where the weak points lie.”
There are ways to design dapps so that they don’t require every single action to be performed onchain. Ethereum social network Peepeth is an example of this. The mischief-makers behind the likes of Ether Shrimp Farm, however, revel in the wreckage caused by the runaway success of their games. Like all memes, these dapps will soon die off, but will eventually be replaced by new blockchain-clogging contenders, much to the annoyance of other ethereum users.