Yat, a project building internet identities, ran its first auction last week, selling 18 “yats,” or strings of emojis which can be used in URLs or as payment addresses. Its highest selling item, the key emoji sold for $425K according to the auction’s website.
Yat is aiming to create a “new censorship resistant internet identity system that enables everyone to use a personalized string of emojis as their universal username,” the product’s introduction video says. A primary use case of yats is as addresses for crypto payments and wallets like BRD and Cake Wallet already planning to use the emoji strings as replacements for crypto addresses.
“We believe that for crypto to scale from the tens of millions+ of people currently in our ecosystem to the 4.6BN+ internet-connected people on earth, we have to meet users where they are,” Yat cofounder Naveen Jain told The Defiant. The project is focusing on UX as its value proposition, something Jain believes is often overlooked in the crypto space.
The key fetched the highest price because it is the first, single-emoji, yat made available by the team. The owner of the Twitter handle twitter.com/n received $50K offers for his username, so it may not be unheard of for single character identifiers to become valuable.
Other highlights of the sale, which, excluding the key was limited to two-character yats, included a lamb and a bikini (in an attempt to emoji-fy the word Lamborghini), which went for $60K and the crypto-friendly rocket and moon combination, which sold for $200K.
Three, four, and five character yats are for sale. The prices are based on a “rhythm score” which is a combination of three factors of the yat and its emojis: length, popularity, and pattern. Three hearts in a row for example has a rhythm score of 99 (out of 100) and has been sold, while more random assortments of emojis cost below $100.
High Profile, High Ambition
Yat has high profile early adopters. Musicians like Questove and Kesha, use a yat as a link in their Twitter profile, and, more locally to DeFi, the artist pplplsr recently received the triple toilet yat.
But the system will need broad adoption to succeed in order to become the standard for Internet identifies. Its launch video makes the case that emojis are used across cultures, meaning that yats may allow internet identities to cross cultural and linguistic barriers.
Yats are not yet NFTs, but will be in the future.
The project is “working on developing an oracle service so that Yats can be issued as NFTs on EVM compatible chains such as Ethereum or BSC,” the FAQ section of the first yat auction says. “A little further down the road, the underlying source of truth for Yats will become fully decentralized.”
If a picture says a thousand words, perhaps combinations of emojis say what a username of numbers and letters cannot.