Opera and ‘Yat’ want you to buy emoji web domains that don’t belong to you
There has been a significant uptick in new top-level domains (TLDs) over the past few years, allowing anyone to buy web domains with endings like .pizza or .party, as an alternative to older TLDs like .com and .net. Some groups have been working on other alternatives to the domain registrar system entirely, such as a company called ‘Yat,’ which has now partnered with Opera to integrate its emoji-based domains.
Yat allows anyone to purchase strings of emojis to use as an identifier, with a one-time purchase based on the “rythm score,” which Yat describes as “a measure of its rarity and uniqueness.” For example, 😎🎃👍 is apparently worth $195, while 😎🎃👍☠️ can be purchased for $7. Yat has a goal of turning these identifiers into NFTs that can be traded on “EVM compatible chains such as Ethereum or BSC,” but none of that is functional yet (and wouldn’t really be better if it was). Right now, all they can do is redirect to other websites, or host a Linktree-like page with multiple links.
Yat support arrived in the Android and iOS Opera browsers in July 2021, but now the functionality is available in the desktop browser too. Opera said on Wednesday (via The Verge) that it hopes the feature will “bring a new level of creativity to the internet.”
It’s pretty silly to pay (up to) hundreds of dollars for a string of emojis, especially when you have less ownership over a Yat than you do with a standard web domain. Outside of Opera, Yats are only accessible as subdomains or pages on the company’s own website, such as y.at/🖖💼 or 🖖💼.y.at. It also takes longer to type emoji, especially on desktop platforms, so they’re not more practical than even a long web domain.
Yat reportedly made $20 million from sales of about 160,000 Yats in the past year, with a golden key (🔑) selling for $425,000. As the saying goes, a fool and his money are soon parted.