We knew our September issue on technology and terrorism would raise hackles. But we didn’t realize that our July feature ”Metcalfe’s Law Is Wrong” by Bob Briscoe, Andrew Odlyzko, and Benjamin Tilly would churn up its own little storm of controversy, drawing remarks from none other than Bob Metcalfe himself. The inventor of Ethernet, founder of 3Com Corp., and recipient of the 1996 IEEE Medal of Honor rebutted our authors’ arguments in a late summer guest posting on VC Mike’s Blog (http://vcmike.wordpress.com). The site is run by Mike Hirshland, who, like Metcalfe, is a general partner in Polaris Venture Partners, in Waltham, Mass.

When we caught up with Metcalfe, he seemed more tickled than ticked off, encouraging us to start a discussion on his response to ”the Spectrum attack on my law, by which attack I am delighted.” The difference of opinion has more than mathematical significance. It has direct bearing on the value of dot-com businesses that exploit expanding social networks. To keep it all straight, we suggest you first reread the Spectrum article and then peruse Metcalfe’s post (http://vcmike.wordpress.com/2006/08/18/metcalfe-social-networks).

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The Spectacular Collapse of CryptoKitties, the First Big Blockchain Game

A cautionary tale of NFTs, Ethereum, and cryptocurrency security

8 min read
Mountains and cresting waves made of cartoon cats and large green coins.
Frank Stockton

On 4 September 2018, someone known only as Rabono bought an angry cartoon cat named Dragon for 600 ether—an amount of Ethereum cryptocurrency worth about US $170,000 at the time, or $745,000 at the cryptocurrency’s value in July 2022.

It was by far the highest transaction yet for a nonfungible token (NFT), the then-new concept of a unique digital asset. And it was a headline-grabbing opportunity for CryptoKitties, the world’s first blockchain gaming hit. But the sky-high transaction obscured a more difficult truth: CryptoKitties was dying, and it had been for some time.

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