CryptoKittes publishes ethics code for team
Last week (on October 12th), the CryptoKitties team released a new Code of Ethics. This Hamurabi-style list of rules, published on Medium, will regulate the conduct of all employees at Dapper Labs and Axiom Zen, the companies behind the most famous blockchain game ever (...yes, the Kitties). The new formal code is changing their previous rules, which prevented all members from playing the game. It's Moses coming down from mount Sinai with new stone tablets, shouting "Guys, God made a typo! It turns out we can covet. If you can figure out what 'covet' means."
In the earlier days, the team had taken precautions to make sure all members with privileged information abstained from playing in the game. In addition, members with knowledge of the cat's genetic algorithm were prevented from buying or breeding them. Seems sensible enough – after all, if crypto people aren't known for being sensitive about devs' power over their games' ecosystems, then our name isn't Gameunculus.io (a beautiful ancient Greek name that our mothers insisted on passing on). Still, because some gamers just can't find no satisfaction, a CryptoKitty community member protested that this would create a blind spot for the devs. The team assured them that this blind spot was "mitigated by the rest of the CryptoKitties team, and the rest of the larger Axiom Zen organization, who are allowed to play the game (although we strictly keep any info about the genetics and the “Fancy recipes” secret from them)". And that was that.
So why change it now? The team decided that, whoopsie, on second thought, the blind spot mentioned previously by the community was not something they wanted to have dragging them down any more. From now on, all members of the CryptoKitties team will be active in the game, but also subject to a strict, public code of conduct, which you can read here. A highlight is that if they accidentally breed a Fancy cat they must sacrifice it and send it to kitty heaven (a euphemism for a transparent auction, in which the proceeds from each Kitty will be donated to charity).
If you're a crypto nerd and have already studied the code, you might be wondering the same thing that our nerd reporters wondered when writing this post; "what in the name of St. Vitalik does the last point of the list mean?" The code lists a series of restrictions that team members must follow, and ends with "For testing purposes only, publicly identified team members of the CryptoKitties community and development teams will have no restrictions placed on any of the Kitties they purchase, sell, or breed. This latitude is permitted only so public CryptoKitties team members can share the same in-game experience as our community."
So – does this void every restriction listed above?
Don't rip out your hair so fast. We got an exclusive clarification from Sean Kolenko, from the CryptoKitties communications department:
"The code of ethics absolutely applies to all team members – no individual player is exempt. The distinction being made is strictly for testing purposes. In those cases, we will publicly identify – clearly – the testing account. That account can't "play for profit" in any circumstances. It is in place only to make make sure we have complete testing capability beyond what testing environments provide."
Why should gamers care about teams' ethics and stuff? Because these cats are, in some cases, heavy investments – as many other blockchain game items are. To guarantee that the in-game economy remained autonomous – "free from anyone with access to confidential game information", as they've stated – the CryptoKitties team is taking (and has always taken) precautions. Which you can read more about here
Is "the greatest blockchain game ever" just exaggerating because they think they're sooo cool? Gameunculus doesn't think so, guys. Because shady sh*t has happened before. Back in February, a community member's suspicions, voiced on r/CryptoKitties, prompted an investigation from the CryptoKitties team's side that resulted in conclusive evidence of a user's access to insider knowledge. The team member found guilty of the leaks was immediately fired. And the community member who posted what had seemed like paranoid conspiracy rants? He was hailed as a hero and went on to lead his own kitty cult (our source is fuzzy on this one).
The CryptoKitties team writes "Having our entire team actively playing CryptoKitties will result in an even better game." What do you guys think? Is it fair for gaming teams and devs to play just like anybody else? Or are your anarchy-and-decentralization senses tingling with fear that this could lead to information abuses? Gameunculus is sure you'll conduct a polite and educated debate with your fellow crypto pals. Not.
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