Industry Analyst & Strategist
Sometimes I go down the rabbit hole on my own journeys for what’s going on across the internet. Sometimes someone is persistent enough about a new technology or application that it bears research, time, and even spending some money. Similar to how the PSL story was brought to my attention, kudos go out to Mike Demopoulos for the heads up and his time to discuss Yats.
I’ve known Mike from Joomla, WordPress, and a tiki bar or two. Let’s get right to Mike Demo, Lead Handshaker, Web Ventures and Yats. Mike’s not directly involved with Yats except that he’s been very excited about them. Oh one more thing, I may have bought one for #MorningCoffee – y.at/😍☀️☕️ ☀️ 😍.
Robert: What’s a Yat?
Mike (🌈👾🎢⚽️): A Yat is a censorship resistant identity token, is the official statement by Yat labs. In practice, it is halfway in between a username or an emoji domain. Think of a Yat as a way to identify yourself on the internet using emojis instead of alphanumeric characters.
A little pause while we get more detail from the official site:
Yat lets you use emojis as your universal username and identity on the internet. Imagine being known as 🔥🐍 or 🤖👻👑 instead of coffeequeen98 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By owning a Yat – let’s say 🌊🔱🌴 – it’s yours forever. You are the ~only~ one on earth who owns these emojis.
The possibilities are endless with Yat. You can receive payments, use it on your socials, and eventually much more. Your Yat can be used as a link like this: https://y.at/🌊🔱🌴 (click it to see it!) and automatically redirect visitors to any website you want.
Seems pretty straight forward, there are other emoji based services, specifically domain name registries like .ws. Wikipedia provides a full list of top level domains which support emoji. What’s interesting about Yat is that this is a SaaS platform.
Robert: Why and/or how is it censorship resistant?
🌈👾🎢⚽️: The founders of Yat Labs are big proponents of free speech. Interestingly enough, though, their terms of service are not pretty restrictive, but more restrictive than you’d think for a thing that advertises to be censorship resistant. For example, you can’t use it for adult content or illegal activities in the US. But I believe that they want you to be able to express yourself in whatever emoji string you’d like without fear of that going away in the future. I think they’re referring mostly to some of the social media retroactive deletion that’s been happening with certain high profile figures.
Robert: How did you hear about and get pulled into Yats?
🌈👾🎢⚽️: It was definitely on Twitter. I signed up for it what was a pre-launch. At the time it was literally just a forum. There was no website, there was nothing. On November 30th 2020, I joined the wait list, that’s when they gave me just a bunch of videos over time, not videos, but like emails, like “here’s your exclusive sneak peek of what YAT is.” They gave some examples and designs and stuff. I was 51,524th on the waitlist.
I was officially invited February 5th to be able to buy my Yat. They had on the auction a couple of weeks ago even though they just opened up Alpha two months ago. So, it’s literally been months that this thing’s been open.
Robert: Why would you want a Yat versus a full on emoji domain?
🌈👾🎢⚽️: My biggest issue with emoji domains is that there are just too many combinations. You can put in letters, numbers, and emojis. Also, a lot of people have trouble finding a specific emoji when it’s popular, let alone a gendered or skin toned one. There’s are like 30 something water polo emoji: male, female, all the different skin tones, it gets untenable.
Also, it’s a platform. They’re on GitHub, they have an API, they’ve already announced integrations with four different crypto wallets to be able to send money back and forth. If they can get the platform built up, I think it’s going to be used in lots of different places.
And I could even see it being just another login anywhere, like you see login with Twitter, login with Facebook, login with Yat. It just depends what you want to do with it. If you want it to just be a redirect, that’s cool, that’s what I’m mostly doing with mine. Kind of as a marketing thing, put it in like a webinar or I’m going to print business cards with my YAT on it just cause I think it’s going to be unique if you get a business card and it just has the emojis. People will want to see what it is. Kind of like what Bob Dunn does with BobWP. His business card says, “just Google BobWP.”
Robert: Why should the WordPress community care about Yats?
🌈👾🎢⚽️: In the active WordPress community, there are a lot of crypto people that are very bullish on Bitcoin and Ethereum and stuff like that. It’s very similar, imagine if you were buying Bitcoin day one, well, you wouldn’t be behind everything. You’d be just mining it because it was so easy, but I mean, early days. Right. And that’s what we are, is we’re in those infancy days of YATs. Now until it gets decentralized because it’s not decentralized, they claim they have it planned to be decentralized, which I still am not entirely sure how they’re going to have it decentralized with the terms of service, because then the only thing I think they’d be able to enforce would be like their services that maybe that YATs connects to, but I don’t know how they would be able to enforce how you use your YAT if you’re using it outside of their hosted services, which is maybe why they haven’t decentralized it yet, because they’re trying to, they don’t want a bad story of so-and-so used a YAT for illegal payments of this.
I think there’s a good opportunity for developers to be creative with this tech and see what they want to do with it.
There you go, a fun and interesting new product to investigate.