The NFT (non-fungible token) market is a popular space for collectibles and virtual items but there’s another sector of the market that could be even more exciting: digital pets. These critters, also known as cryptodogs, are programmatically generated dogs that users can buy and sell. The project, which is currently in a beta release, is already attracting attention for its potential to create a new generation of augmented reality digital collectibles.

The company behind the digital animals has raised pre-seed funding from Outlier Ventures, Hawk Digital and MaxStealth, and is in discussions with additional investors. It plans to develop a mobile app that will let owners interact with their pet across multiple platforms including virtual reality, augmented reality and mobile devices. It will use voice-AI, extended reality and blockchain technology to create an interoperable persistent state that can be accessed via any web browser or virtual reality application.

A dog’s characteristics are determined by its unique code, which is based on a mix of color, background and other features that determine the dog’s “rarity index.” Unlike CryptoKitties, where all e-cats share the same DNA, CryptoDogs have a unique breed for each type of animal, so each one has a different rarity score despite its similarities with other dogs. For example, a black bulldog that is a mix of rare and common colors will be more expensive than a white bulldog with the same combination of traits.

CryptoDogs have a slick UI that lets users browse the different dogs, view their history and make offers to purchase or sell them. The digital pets can be traded for a fraction of their value in a special cryptocurrency called CRD, which is used to pay for interacting with the dogs and other activities on the platform.

While many may see cryptodogs and other e-pets as nothing more than a novelty that’s wasting resources, the project’s developers believe they have a lot of potential to teach people about blockchain technology and the power of decentralised applications. They can also help to test the resilience of blockchains, a key function that’s important for more sophisticated projects in the future.

To start collecting your own CryptoDogs, head over to the official website and download the app. Once you’ve set up an account, you can connect to a community server and chat with other pet owners or trade your dog for CRD. There are a number of different servers available and you can even opt to connect to a custom server that’s tailored to your preferences.

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