Yat believes emoji ‘identities’ can be one thing, and has $ 20 million in sales to back it up – TechCrunch

I learned about Yat back in April when a friend sent our group chat a link to a story about how the key emoji was sold as an “internet identity” for $ 425,000. “I hate the universe,” he texted.

Sure, the universe would be better if people with $ 425,000 to spare spent it on mutual aid or something, but minutes later, we were trying to figure out what this Yat was all about. And a few more minutes later, I spent $ 5 (in USD, not crypto) to buy ☕👉💩❗, a string of emojis that I think tells a poignant story about my dependence on caffeine and my sensitive stomach. I didn’t think I would be writing about this when I made that decision.

Kesha’s Yat URL on Twitter

At first glance, Yat is a platform that allows you to buy a URL with emojis, even Kesha (y.at/🌈🚀👽), little wayne (y.at/👽🎵), Y Divulge (y.at/😎🎵😎) is using them in his Twitter bios. Like any URL on the Internet, Yats can redirect to another website, or it can function as a more Eye-catching Linktree. While users can buy their own domain name that supports emojis and use it in place of a Yat, many people don’t have the technical expertise or time to do so. Instead, they can make a one-time purchase from Yat, which owns the Y.at domain, and the company will provide its own y.at link.

However, this convenience comes at an extra cost. Yat uses an algorithm to determine his Yat’s “beat score”, his metric for determining how to price his emoji combo based on its rarity. Yats with one or two emojis are so expensive that you have to contact the company directly to buy them, but you can easily find a four or five emoji identity that will only cost you $ 4.

Beyond that, CEO Naveen Jain, a Y Combinator alumnus, founder of digital marketing company Sparkart, and angel investor, believes that Yat is ultimately an internet privacy product. Jain wants people to be able to use their Yats in any way that they can use an identity online now, whether it’s to make payments, send messages, host a website, or log into a platform.

“Objectively, it is a strange norm. You connect to the Internet, register accounts with advertising platforms and your username is not universal. You have a lot of accounts, a lot of usernames, ”Jain said. “And you don’t control them. If an account wants to close it, they close it. How many stories are there of people trying to send an email to some social network and they don’t respond because they don’t have to? “

Yat does not plan to feed on ad money, as users pay for the product when they buy their Yat, whether they get it for $ 4 or $ 400,000.

In the long term, Yat’s CEO says the company plans to use blockchain technology as a way to become sovereign. The Yats would become issued assets in distributed and decentralized databases. Today, there are several projects working to create a decentralized alternative to the current domain name system (DNS), managed by the Internet regulatory authority. I CAN. DNS is the way things are found on the Internet, but it uses a centralized hierarchical system. A blockchain domain name system would not have a central authority, and some believe this could be the foundation for a next-generation web, or “Web 3.0”.

Today, words like “blockchain” and “cryptocurrency” do not appear on the Yat website. Jain doesn’t think that’s appealing to average consumers; believes in progressive decentralization, which explains why Yats are currently bought with dollars, not ethereum.

“Something that we think is really funny about the world of cryptocurrencies is that anyone who is part of it spends a lot of time talking about databases,” Jain said. “People don’t care about databases. When was the last time you visited a website and said ‘powered by MySQL’? “

Y.at, however, was registered in a traditional internet registrar, not on the blockchain.

“This is laying the groundwork – there are certain elements of the vision that are certainly more of a social contract than an actual implementation at the moment,” says Jain. “But this is the vision we have set for ourselves and we are continually working to achieve that goal.”

Still, until Yat becomes more decentralized, it still can’t give users the full control it aspires to. At present, the Terms and Conditions granting Yat the authority to cancel or suspend users at its discretion, but the company claims that it has yet to boot anyone from the system.

As Yat becomes more decentralized, our terms and conditions will not be important, ”said Jain. “This is the nature of pursuing a progressive decentralization strategy.”

In its “generation zero” phase (an open beta), Yat claims to have sold nearly $ 20 million worth of emoji identities. Now when the waiting list to get a Yat ends, Yat is posting some weird emoji identities on Open sea, the NFT market that recently reached a $ 1.5 billion valuation.

A still image of creating a Yat visualizer

“For the first time ever, we are going to auction some Yats on OpenSea and launch the Yats minting on Ethereum,” Jain said. Before coining Yats as NFT, users can create a digital art landscape for their Yats through a visualizer. These features, as well as the new emojis in Yat’s emoji suite, will be released tonight at a virtual event called Yat horizon.

Yat creators will now have more rights, ”Jain said of the new ability to coin Yats as NFT. “We will continue to pursue progressive decentralization until we achieve our ultimate goal: to make Yat the best self-directed and sovereign identity system for all.”

Consumers have a demonstrated interest in maintaining greater privacy on the Internet; the data shows that in iOS 14.5, 96% of users disabled ad tracking. But the decentralization movement has yet to commercialize its privacy advantages to the mainstream. Yat helps solve this problem because even if you don’t understand what blockchain means, you understand that having a personal chain of emojis is quite fun. But, before you spend $ 425,000 on a single emoji username, keep in mind that Yat’s vision will only fully materialize with the advent of Web 3.0, and we don’t yet know when or if that will happen.


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