Monthly Archives: December 2017

How a Crypto Game Teaches Blockchain



Another Hands-on Exercise to Learn Blockchain

In this episode of Block That Chain we talk about the craze behind CryptoKitties.co and why you should join in. It’s a great platform to learn about digital assets, payments in cryptocurrency, smart contracts, wallets, etc. Do it!

The Step-by-Step Instructions

Following are the details of this hands-on exercise as referenced in the podcast. You will notice that you’re changing between your browser and the extension/plugin Metamask. It won’t always be clear below where you do what, so just look at the other (Metamask or your browser) if you don’t see what I describe.

Getting Started

Metamask has plugins/extensions for Chrome and for Firefox. The Firefox extension may still be in beta, but it works just fine.

Go to Cryptokitties.co (not .com, and not kiDDies) and click Start Meow. If you haven’t already installed Metamask (as we did in a previous podcast), a new tab on your browser will open. It will then walk you through the process of installing. After it is complete, you will see a little orange/brown icon of a fox in the top right of your browser.

Go back to the original tab of your browser now and click “I Installed Metamask”.

If you’re not signed into Metamask (and won’t be if you just installed) it will say, “your Metamask is locked”, so click the Firefox looking thing in the top right of your browser and that will open Metamask. You have to click “accept” twice after scrolling to bottom of page. It will give you 12 words to use if you need to restore your account like on another computer. Copy/paste those words somewhere safe.
Load Your New Wallet With Ether
Now load your Metamask wallet w/ money by sending from Coinbase or something (or use the wallet you created in a previous podcast). To know the wallet address where to send, you click the 3 dots that you near the top right of your Metamask tool (not the 3 lines).  Copy address to clipboard, you can paste in a text document or just paste in directly into Coinbase. I suggest $15-25 of Ether to get started.
Back to CryptoKitties.co

Now the page says “one last thing… we need an email address for your account” and then gives you a wallet address. Copy it and keep it safe. And provide your email address.

As soon as you submit your email the Metamask tool will pop-up it will say “confirm transaction” and “Sign Message”. No money is exchanging hands at this point, so don’t worry.

Click “sign”. It will then say “no transaction history” in Metamask if this is your first use of Metamask.

Go back to your browser. No need to close Metamask, just click on your browser to put in front. Now, you see kitties that you can buy! I click “see more kitties” because I don’t like the 3 they offer me. All the kitties show a price in ether. Toward the top right you can filter/sort the kitties based on price. Do that.

Once I find one I like I click “buy now”. It then gives you another page that looks the same and it basically says you’re gonna be transferring some ether. Now click “OK, buy this kitty”. (In a pink box above that button it tells you how to deal with metamask if you get a warning message.)

Back to Metamask to Finalize

It should now pop-up Metamask again. If not, click on the fox icon at the top right of your browser to open. You will either see a list of a) possible transactions or b) the transaction detail page. If a), then click on the transaction to get to b). If you’re already on b), you’re golden.

On this detail page you will see the specifics of the transaction: kitty price, gas limit, gas price, total of both, and a grand total for the transaction. LOOK CAREFULLY. As I said in the podcast, a couple times my transaction cost was $135 and $0 for the digital asset (the kitty).

If you use the defaults, you have a better chance of getting the kitty you chose. If you want to save money, lower the gas limit and price, but know it may put your transaction in jeopardy. But who cares? Play around.

Now submit your transaction. NOTE: if you don’t have enough ether in your wallet you won’t have a submit button.

Checking to See if You Won that Kitty

Going back to the browser now, it should automatically show you a line that indicates your transaction is in process. This is just waiting for the blockchain and miners to do their thing.

Eventually, you will either have a successful or failed transaction. Click on the link on the right side (“failed” or “Success”) and this will take you to etherscan.io . There you can behold the beauty of the actual blockchain transaction, whether or not it was successful.

Some Notes

Don’t fret if you don’t get your kitty the first time or two. It took me a few tries. A lot of people may try to buy your same kitty.

Listen to the podcast to appreciate all that you just did. This is the blockchain, cryptocurrency and smart contracts in action!


Bitcoin and Gold Compared.



In this episode we explore the similarities and the differences between Bitcoin and gold. Bitcoin is up 2000% (at the moment, anyway) so let’s explore whether that increase is justified. Bitcoin’s current price may be justified in the future. I think it may well be. But is that justified today? Comparing Bitcoin to gold may shed some light on the subject.