Will the emoji be the Web3 version of the username? That’s what Nashville-based tech startup Yat believes, and with sales of 160,000 totaling $20 million, it seems a lot of ordinary people would agree.
Yat is a string of one to five emojis that can be used as a digital username, web address, and billing address for your digital wallet. It is a cross between a non-functional token (NFT) and a domain address, although not all Yats are encoded.
“Yat allows you to use emojis as a global username and online identity,” the company wrote on the Discord server.
Imagine being called a fire snake or a ghost robot crown, not coffeequeen98 or firstname.lastname@example.org. By owning a yat – say, a seawood thorn palm – it is yours forever. You~ the only one on earth who possesses these symbols. ”
In theory, Yat could be a decentralized alternative to the current Domain Name System (DNS), which is managed by the Internet’s regulator, ICANN. The DNS uses a central hierarchical system to organize and help users find things on the Internet.
Since July 2021, Yat owners have been able to encode their NFT emoji on the Ethereum blockchain for an additional fee, but buying Yat isn’t really the same as creating an NFT.
To convert Yat to NFT, owners must first use Yat’s Visualization Tools to create a short line animation of emojis. The visualization is then linked to Yat itself and can be described as an NFT to be stored or traded in OpenSea.
– AshleyDCanᵍᵐⓣ (@AshleyDCan) February 8, 2022
One to five character designs can cost anywhere from $4 to hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase in the first place, plus an additional fee to convert them to NFT. The shorter and more unique the set, the higher the price.
The most expensive Yat was the only gold key in the ranking, which sold for $425,000 at the Yat Destiny auction in mid-2021. At the time of writing, Yat has a trading volume of 410 ETH ($1,258,622) on Opensea.
Yate already has several famous investors, including Paris Hilton (the Queen of the Brilliant Crown), Lil Wayne (the weird musical note) and Kesha (the weird rainbow rocket ship).
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However, the project also faced its share of challenges. It includes the mundane things like criticism that Yat URLs can be hard to find because typing an emoji sequence on a standard QWERTY keyboard isn’t always easy.
Even more exciting, Yat co-founder and former CEO Riccardo “Fluffiponi” Spagna was arrested in the US in August 2021, awaiting extradition to South Africa on fraud charges. The fraud allegations were not related to Bayat. Yat was launched in February 2021 and since then the team has grown to 55 people.