A group of Tri-City entrepreneurs hope to cash in on their new venture without traditional money.
Their online virtual pet store allows customers to buy cartoon pets using digital currencies called cryptocurrencies.
The crypto pets in the TricitiesCrypto store, called Tron Dogs, can be used as characters in an online game called Pet Planet, which will be renamed Love.pet in the new mobile version releasing Aug. 8.
“I bought the store with a group of friends from Budd’s Broiler,” said Jeff Ogryzek, who works at the Richland restaurant as a bartender.
Most people don’t know anything about the world of cryptocurrencies and crypto pets, he said.
But it’s becoming a popular recreational activity for gamers.
In anticipation of the new mobile version of the game, Love.pet creator Game.com made available 10,000 new crypto pet stores for public sale worldwide, at 30,000 TRX — one of the cryptocurrencies the site deals in — apiece, or $1,000.
When Ogryzek bought his store, the value of TRX had dropped by about 25 percent, allowing him to snatch up a store for about $600 before the currency’s value went back up. He split the cost into 20 shares, which are held between he and seven friends.
During their first month in operation, Ogryzek and his team made a return of 10 percent (not including gains from currency value fluctuations) and sold more than 150 Tron Dogs priced at 200 TRX apiece, or about $14.
“It’s a fun little camaraderie thing to talk about at work,” Ogryzek said. “It’s a paltry investment, but that’s the cryptocurrency world — that could be a huge investment in the future.”
He noted that Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, started at about $100 per share, and now hovers around $8,000 per share nine years after its inception.
The first crypto pets, CryptoKitties, turned out to be lucrative investments for some of their owners with some selling for more than $100,000. Ogryzek said many routinely sell in the tens of thousands.
Another popular crypto game, Etherbots, involves collecting parts to assemble robots which can be battled within the game. Ogryzek said he and his son play together and some parts sell for the equivalent of thousands of dollars.
“I got into it because I work with younger people and the cryptocurrency market is going to be a wonderful investment tool and an important part of the investment world for everybody. Crypto pets are just a way to get people excited about it — to help younger people get involved and not get left behind,” Ogryzek said.
Ogryzek said there are a lot of great opportunities for investment in the new cryptocurrency frontier.
“Every day there are more competitors; it remains to be seen who’s going to come out on top. No one knows what coins will lead the future,” he said. “We won’t see this again in our lifetime. Once the winners and losers are separated, then the market will stabilize and there won’t be as much fluctuation. But right now, you can make high profit margins.”
But what is the allure of cryptocurrencies or crypto items like pets and robots?
“The cool thing about using the technology for crypto collectibles is even though it’s not a physical thing, it’s more unique than a physical thing,” Ogryzek said. “It has its own DNA, in a way … a specific identity,” which, he added, has its implications in the “breeding” of crypto pets to create new unique creatures.
The pets have a unique mathematical identifier and can change in future value based on rarity, unique features and new traits that come from “breeding” them.
Federal and state agencies have yet to regulate cryptocurrency exchanges, but it’s not stopping techies from using the technology.
“We’re still far from using the (digital) currency on a daily basis,” Ogryzek said. “I’m hoping it is going to make the world a better place. This whole thing’s not going away. It’s not even about digital currency anymore — it’s a new technology. It’s going to change the world.”
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