It’s a joy to search and access information so effortlessly on the World Wide Web—that is, until I’m looking for a technical publication. Far too many are hidden behind subscription and payment mechanisms.

The great irony is that virtually every technical paper is held on the computer of an author who would be thrilled to send a free copy to anyone requesting it. But requesting every paper that you might (or might not) want is so inconvenient that almost no one does this. So why aren’t all technical publications freely accessible on the Web?

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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
Vertical
Mountains and cresting waves made of cartoon cats and large green coins.
Frank Stockton
Pink

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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