Game Over: Vigilante Pulls Plug on Crypto All Stars

A red-hot ethereum game is off the market, collapsing Tuesday in a complex tale involving crypto-economics, community backlash, and finally, a sudden takeover.

Launched just earlier this month, Crypto All Stars was an instant hit, with over $2 million in ether passing between users, according to data from dappradar.com. Like CryptoKitties before it, Crypto All Stars allowed users to trade digital cards adorned with original designs, however this time, there was a twist, one tailor-made for community engagement.

A digital marketplace for Twitter’s favorite crypto personalities, Crypto All Stars allowed users to trade the likenesses of the technology’s biggest names, from litecoin creator Charlie Lee to AngelList co-founder Naval Ravikant to infamous blogger Bitfinex’d.

And in its week-long run, the game became something of a small meme sensation – bouncing only 100,000 views below its competitor, CryptoKitties, according to site data from alexa.com.

But while the platform attracted its share of fans, it also garnered critics who questioned whether it was designed with the proper incentivizations at play.

Indeed, one user seems to have become so disenfranchised with the game that they ultimately purchased it only to shut it down. At press time, the Crypto All Stars website no longer displays its original advertising, but rather a message from its pseudonymous buyer explaining why the popular game will no longer be available.

Written by “Mexicantarget,” the post has become the talk of Twitter, as it alleges that the original founders were simply out to scam unsuspecting buyers.

Mexicantarget wrote:

“I’ve been fighting against scum like you who create Ponzis and get people in sh*t … I’m getting really sick from situations like this, where poor suckers invest in schemes like yours and get burned.”

Crypto-All Stars

To this lone assailant, Crypto All Stars wasn’t simply another fun way to use the ethereum blockchain, but a clever way to pit users against each other for the founders’ gain. To industry observers, however, it’s perhaps yet another head-scratching moment for the technology.

As founder of the project Adam Hadar wrote on Twitter:

“A South Park character, a man with a mask of anonymous and a real person enter a bar and 7 days later…#crypto”

The buildup

Stepping back, it was easy to see why Crypto All Stars was able to quickly gain mindshare.

One of a handful of games that sprung up in the hype around CryptoKitties, so-called “crypto collectables” had been praised as showcasing a valuable use case for the ethereum blockchain – unique digital collectables created with the tech standard ERC-721.

Even ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin celebrated the cats, saying the game “illustrate[s] very well that the value of a blockchain extends far beyond applications that would literally get shut down by banks or governments if they did not use one.”

In a similar vein, crypto talking heads came out bullish about Crypto All Stars.

“I’m fascinated with @cryptoallstarz. The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced it could become more than just a game; a sort of prediction market for crypto community,” said Maciek Laskus, developer of a crypto influencers analytics site, on Twitter.

According to an archived image of the game’s website, when Crypto All Stars’ users purchased a card, it was immediately relisted on the marketplace for a higher price. The smart contracts carrying the cards would double in price with each transaction until they reach 0.05 ETH. And once they reached 0.05 ETH, they then increased by 25 percent.

In this way, Crypto All Stars played off the virality CryptoKitties, but it also added to it, allowing those on the actual cards to verify it was them via Twitter and then receive part of the proceeds.

The math was split like this: 92 percent of the profits for a sold card went to the owners of the card, 4 percent went to the verified star and another 4 percent went to the platform’s creators.

As such, crypto celebrities featured took to Twitter to pump their cards.

“Move over CryptoKitties. We now have Crypto All Stars to clog the ethereum network!” litecoin’s Charlie Lee wrote on Twitter.

Others called it “toxic,” stating that those involved were “shilling for fame to their followers” and likened its structure to a “ponzi.” It seems Mexicantarget agreed with the latter…

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