TON Innovators: Catizen

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Welcome to TON Innovators, our blog series celebrating the innovative minds and revolutionary projects within the TON Ecosystem. Today, we feature Catizen, a project that merges virtual pet interaction with blockchain, AI, and the Metaverse to offer a unique GameFi experience.

Catizen is transforming how TON and Telegram users engage with the digital world by using advanced AI to animate virtual cats with lifelike behaviors and personalities. These AI-powered pets learn from their interactions and develop unique traits influenced by their owners and surroundings. The project has successfully built a vibrant community of cat lovers who can engage with each other in real time across a vast digital universe. They are a prime example of innovation and excellence in blockchain gaming.

This interview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement, approval, or recommendation of the project. The views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of the TON Foundation. This is not an investment advice.

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Catizen! Welcome to TON Innovators! To start, can you explain the core concept behind Catizen and how it integrates PocketFi, gaming bots, video shorts, and e-commerce?

Catizen leverages TON Blockchain to introduce practical mobile payments to Telegram users, marking a significant innovation in both Web3 and Web2 environments. Previously, most Web3 applications needed desktop access, similar to the early stages of Web2. PocketFi could change this by revolutionizing Web3 innovations, similar to how smart contracts improved user interactions and centralized exchanges simplified transactions. PocketFi on TON and Telegram could potentially transform user habits and application scenarios in Web3.

Therefore, drawing on our extensive experience in game development, our team spent significant time analyzing the unique benefits of the TON Ecosystem. After examining many market cases, we decided to create Catizen, a project that merges aspects of Gaming Launchpool with Pinduoduo (internationally known as TEMU). Pinduoduo’s approach of subsidizing users and cutting prices has successfully overcome major product challenges and amassed a large user base.

Similarly, the widespread use of airdrop strategies in Web3 mirrors Pinduoduo’s method of attracting new users by offering more benefits. Before its deep integration with WeChat, which had large traffic in the Chinese community but no clear strategy to convert this traffic into active users, Pinduoduo faced similar challenges. The partnership between Pinduoduo and WeChat not only addressed WeChat’s challenges but also effectively educated users about online applications. In Web3, this approach is recognized as significant by leading institutions. Although many Web3 projects have tried similar strategies, most have not succeeded. However, TON's strategic partnership with Telegram offers us a unique opportunity. Catizen aims to become a Web3 modular consumer platform similar to Pinduoduo. We plan to integrate gaming, short video content, and e-commerce, inspired by Pinduoduo’s success within the WeChat ecosystem. Our strategy involves using a gamified Web3 model to educate and engage Telegram’s large user base, transforming innovative products into widely used commercial applications. We will use token airdrops and short video promotions to drive exponential growth. Gradually, we will introduce a gaming platform, launchpool, task center, short video content, and e-commerce features, with the ultimate goal of creating a trillion-level Web3 social entertainment platform.

Catizen is more than just a game; it is a platform designed to evolve continuously with its player community. Integrating with launchpool will be a key breakthrough, greatly enhancing benefits for the extensive Catizen community. Over the next year, we will introduce new Mini Apps centered around Catizen as the launchpool platform. As the project progresses, we will integrate aspects of Pinduoduo more deeply into launchpool, incorporating various business streams such as task centers, short dramas, and e-commerce. Catizen ultimately aims to overcome the common problems of many Web3 GameFi projects, such as strong cyclicality and Ponzi schemes.

Did you face any challenges when integrating all these technologies into a single GameFi product? What was the development process like?

During the development process, particularly in the beta testing phase, we faced several operational challenges. Fortunately, the TON Foundation offered significant support, helping us quickly resolve these issues. This assistance enabled us to refine Catizen, ensuring it integrates seamlessly with TON Blockchain and Telegram.

Your new Launchpool has garnered significant attention. How is this related to plans for project development?

Catizen's development plan is organized into five phases, each with distinct focuses and strategies. We are currently entering the second phase:

  • 1st Phase: Catizen expanded its user base and enhanced user education primarily through airdrops to encourage registration and wallet activation. The main goal was to teach Telegram users how to use cryptocurrency wallets and participate in transactions, thus converting them into TON users.
  • 2nd Phase: We are introducing the Catizen Launchpool, where users can stake in-game assets to mine points. These points can be exchanged for our governance token, $CATI. The phase also introduces social cooperative modes to boost mining efficiency. During this stage, Catizen will evolve from a single game into a modular gaming platform with Launchpool functionality, helping users understand DeFi principles.

Catizen achieved notable success in its first phase, expanding its user base. 10% of users from the Gaming Bot became TON wallet users, and over 50% became Web3 consumers (PocketFi Users). Catizen is now moving to the second phase—the LaunchPool, where players can stake in-game assets to earn points called $wCATI. On April 27 at 13:00 UTC, Catizen updated the Launchpool feature, allowing users to mine $wCATI by staking either fish coins or cats. In this distribution, 60% of the airdropped $wCATI is allocated to players who stake cats, and 40% to those who stake fish coins, with a total of 840 million $wCATI available this period.

To ensure fairness and prevent abuse from players creating multiple accounts, we’ve set participation thresholds for the Launchpool mining:

  • Fish Coin Pool (40%): Players must stake a minimum of 1,000 fish coins to participate, which can be obtained through activities like completing beginner tasks or inviting friends.
  • Cat Pool (60%): Participation requires cats of at least level 110, with higher levels earning greater rewards.

How has TON Blockchain specifically benefited Catizen? What made you decide to build on TON?

Firstly, TON Ecosystem has strong potential, as previously mentioned. PocketFi could bring groundbreaking innovations to Web3. The integration of Telegram’s built-in wallet and bot programs, along with the vigorous development of TON Ecosystem, strengthens the likelihood of this revolution. Secondly, when our team joined the TON Blockchain, the foundation was very responsive, providing expert guidance and financial support for both technical integration and market promotion. Additionally, many leading projects within the ecosystem warmly welcomed our collaboration proposal, which is extremely beneficial for newcomers.

Lastly, the vast early community within TON Ecosystem firmly believes in its future, similar to us. Unlike other ecosystems, we found that the majority of the early TON community actively evangelizes on our behalf. They were eager to discuss and support the development of our project, offer suggestions, and help spread the word, which is quite rare in other blockchain ecosystems.

Tell us about your community! What role have they played in the development and evolution of Catizen?

At the time of publication, the Catizen Telegram Announcement Channel has reached over 900,000 subscribers. Initially, our project attracted significant attention from TON’s native early community, and we successfully engaged a group of users interested in airdrops through in-game guidance. Over the past month, we have collaborated with numerous projects within the TON ecosystem, recognizing this as a vital way to build a quality community.

Additionally, during TOKEN2049 and the early April Hong Kong Web3 Carnival for TON DAY, Catizen was repeatedly highlighted as a success story in TON’s official presentations. This multi-level exposure has been crucial for acquiring new users. Our team works diligently to meet community demands, constantly refining and improving our product to ensure a seamless transition from promotion to exposure, user acquisition, retention, and community growth.

In the future, the community will be central to the development of Catizen. Airdrops will allow them to become holders of $CATI tokens, sharing in the benefits of the platform. This ownership will serve as proof of their stake in Catizen’s future rewards. Shared benefits with the community will include features such as the Launchpool, e-commerce, and more.

Can you discuss any upcoming features or expansions that Catizen players can look forward to in the near future?

We have discussed the initial and current focus of the development phases: expanding the user base and promoting the Launchpool feature. The next phase, the third phase, aims to transform Catizen into a Telegram gaming platform. We have already signed agreements with 18 popular WeChat mini-games and plan to integrate them with Web3 features on the Catizen gaming platform. Additionally, holders of Catizen’s governance token will be able to mine tokens for subsequent games through the Catizen mining pool.

Do you see Catizen in the future having an impact on the broader blockchain and GameFi sector outside of TON?

Catizen has already achieved multi-chain deployment and has partnered with Mantle Network. Our aim is for Catizen to act as a bridge not only between Telegram and TON Blockchain but also between the Ethereum ecosystem and TON. We intend to attract Ethereum users to Catizen, helping them recognize the distinct advantages of TON compared to other blockchains. We deeply understand the unique benefits of TON Ecosystem, which is central to our future development. Moving forward, we will launch major marketing campaigns on TON Catizen and plan to merge the Mantle Network rankings with TON Ecosystem’s Catizen Leaderboard, preserving the advantages of early TON players as much as possible.

Finally, what advice would you give to other developers looking to build gaming projects on TON Blockchain?

We believe that actively communicating with TON Foundation members and participating in their events are very beneficial. Through these activities, we have accessed exceptionally valuable resources like TON Hackerhouse, TON Gateway, and others.