Author: Wang Yanhua
Emerging from the depths of 4chan, viral games such as Pepe Farm and Ether Shrimp Farm are congesting the Ethereum blockchain and questioning its readiness for mass adoption.
The network suffered a similar fate when the game CryptoKitties was introduced in December last year.
Decentralised applications (dapps) can be designed such that they do not require every single action to be performed on chain. But the mischief-makers behind the likes of Pepe Farm revel in the wreckage caused by the success of their games.
One commenter on Reddit pointed out, “If the 2nd largest cryptocurrency can be destroyed by Cryptokitties and shrimp farms then it isn’t ready for prime time and we have a long way to go before mass adoption. These games may seem stupid, but they serve as valuable stress tests for the ecosystem as a whole, and show where the weak points lie.”
Similar games, such as Ether Cartel (based off Ether Shrimp Farm), occupy 8 out of the top 15 dapps listed on DappRadar, which ranks ethereum-based dapps according to daily active users.
In Pepe Farm, users hire Pepe farmers to create dank memes. The more Pepe farmers there are, the more dank memes they create, which users can cash out as Ether (ETH).
Other games work in similar fashions. Ether Shrimp Farm users farm shrimps to lay eggs for more shrimp.
Ether Cartel users produce drugs. (Its website includes a disclaimer which states, “This site is for fun. We do not endorse or faciliate the buy or sell of any illegal substance nor do we advocate for REAL LIFE Cartel activity.”)
Like all memes, they will soon die off. But these dapps are not just a passing fad–they will eventually be replaced by new blockchain-clogging contenders, much to the annoyance of other Ethereum users until Ethereum resolves its scalability issue.