emoji usernames header

Emojis as universal NFT traits

Last year if you’d asked me what emojis are, my answer would have been something along the lines of this introduction I recently read in a WIRED article.

Emoji are more than a millennial messaging fad. Think of them more like a primitive language. The tiny, emotive charactersโ€”from ๐Ÿ˜œ to ๐ŸŽ‰ to ๐Ÿ’ฉโ€”represent the first language born of the digital world, designed to add emotional nuance to otherwise flat text.

And she isn’t wrong. Emojis are like a simple, universal language, a way to convey emotion or express oneself in a more vibrant way than using alphanumeric characters alone. A language which can be understood beyond the human race (as mentioned in our last article, The case for emoji usernames). But until this year, when I began thinking through what it means to use emojis for identity, I didn’t understand the deeper implication of emojis as a language. If we think about them this way, they become a bedrock of functionality that we are only just beginning to comprehend.

Think about what sits at the base of generative NFT avatars that are booming ๐Ÿš€ in popularity right now. Effectively they are a stylised collection of traits (or attributes). From a type or theme, to gender, background colour, and accessories, all layered on top of each other creating artworks which are individually unique, but share common traits among many others in the same collection.

Take CryptoPunks for example. You can have an alien, ape, zombie, male or female. It can be wearing a beanie, helmet, have various hair colours, mouth positions or other accessories.

CryptoPunks Types and Attributes

However, despite their different traits, there is no way for these to be displayed online outside of locations which allow for images to be embedded, such as in a profile / banner image or post. This is a barrier to the utility of a generative avatar and using it richly to represent your online identity as many enthusiasts would like to do.

What if there was an NFT project which allowed you to embed the traits of your avatar or online identity almost anywhere? Emojis allow this, Yat ๐Ÿ–– (an emoji-based identity system) makes it possible.

Not only can you embed emojis in locations unavailable to JPEGs, such as URLs and account usernames, but they become searchable, as Chicka recently mentioned in a conversation about Yats.

The Twitter NFT verification stuff is hyper bullish for Yats. Why? Because you canโ€™t โ€œsearch by NFT.โ€ Even if you could, the sheer volume of traits would be so overwhelming that nobody could do it. One identity, sovereign, recognizable, translatable across platforms. I figure TikTok, IG/FB might follow suit with pfp verification eventually, but how will people link their identities in conversation? Itโ€™s hard to type and search a toad, for example.

What if, instead of multiple generative avatar projects for every animal in existence (e.g. apes, dogs, cats, koalas, pandas, etc), where everyone owns the same animal, across different projects with varying traits, and where no one can realise utility with those traits, we began building some of these projects on top of Yat?

We could take a bottom up approach, where the emojis in a Yat are the traits owned and we create artistic derivatives from this base layer.

If we used the Adoptable format for avatars, with a maximum of 5 emojis, we don’t have a long list of traits for each avatar. However, this limitation aside, we are opening up avatars to huge utility potential beyond that which is possible as part of a single generative avatar community. Now you own these traits on an underlying system, powered by a universal language, which can be used almost anywhere.

That is very powerful ๐Ÿ’ช.

Consider the many different ways you might arrange these traits for a monkey Adoptable.

Monkey Adoptable


Monkey Adoptable


Monkey Adoptable + Accessory


Monkey Adoptable + Accessory


Mouse over / tap the above tiles to view more

It would be possible to create many thousands of variants (only for monkeys) by the time you mixed in accessories (๐ŸŽ€๐Ÿ’„๐ŸŽ’), types of clothing (๐Ÿ‘—๐ŸŽ“๐Ÿ‘ ), scenery (๐Ÿ–๏ธโ›ฐ๏ธ๐Ÿ—ฝ) and more. With over 450 emojis already available in the Yativerse and more on the way, plenty of variety will be possible. Not only that, there’s no reason a derivative artwork created on a base of the core traits can’t add some additional flair (preferably that which didn’t crossover with other specific emojis).

The benefit of building collections on these traits is the extensive utility attached to the underlying emoji identity. Today your monkey Adoptable avatar can be embedded in any text fields which accept emojis, traded as an NFT, used natively as a URL in Opera’s mobile browser to reach an instant Yat Page with your social links or redirected to another website of your choice. Future utility will allow the identity to be used in accepting crypto payments, logging into social platforms and more.

I could imagine all sorts of collections being created on the bedrock of this universal language. Unique sets of emojis, different groups of people with interests that are as diverse as they are in real life and between generative avatar collections that exist, but whose online identities are now all interoperable, with no clash of the exact same traits (in the same order), through the underlying emoji-based Yativerse.

The collections built on top of Yat-based traits need not stop at generative avatars either.

A unique NFT project, Loot, took a bottom up approach. Instead of providing those minting their NFT with a generative image, they instead assigned you a random text-based set of traits (originally adventurer gear). Imagine that instead of creating their own random collection of items, they had built this with items from a list of emojis available on Yat. Owners of these 5 items could then graphically represent their adventurer gear (e.g. ๐Ÿ“ฟ๐Ÿ—ก๐Ÿ”ฎ๐Ÿน๐Ÿ”ญ), almost anywhere online, in visual form! Beyond physical items there are many emojis which could represent stats or other types of attributes (e.g. โšก for speed, ๐Ÿ’ช for strength, โค๏ธ for health).

Consider the ‘5! Unique Yat Empire’ made popular by one of the earliest Yat innovators, Tosicamir.

In the case above an individual Yat buyer wanted to capture all permutations of their desired 5 emojis, but it would be possible for a group of people or company wanting to capture a singe set of 5 emojis for a collection or game, to be distributed among many players. In the case of only 5 emojis it would be 120 of the exact same traits, however the game could incorporate a scoring strategy where the position of each item in the Yat indicates the strength or level of that item or ability, resulting in each Yat in the set having its own unique attributes. Of course the set of emojis used could be extended beyond 5, significantly increasing the size of the community that could each own a unique Yat and participate in that specific game or community.

A complete set of all combinations for a 5 emoji Yat creates a set of 120, the same for a 4 emoji Yat (‘4! Unique Yat Empire’) creates a set of 24. This might be useful where a smaller community or gaming clan might like to share a complete set among their group or team. I have personally purchased complete sets like these, such as ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿค‘๐Ÿค“๐Ÿ˜Ž and ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒน๐Ÿ๐Ÿ€ i.e. I own every Yat containing these sets of 4 emojis.

Looking at how Yats could form the bedrock of universal traits for NFTs is just a thought experiment at this stage. I can’t even imagine all the various ways they may be used in the future, but Yats are already seeing significant real world adoption for their existing utility, let alone for what is yet to come.

It is an exciting time to be exploring the possibilities and at a time we are seeing dozens of new NFT projects activated each week it’s very important to be thinking about the long term utility any particular collection or project may have, particularly if you plan on spending a lot of money to acquire one.

Yats are unique among most NFT projects in that there are trillions of combinations of Yats possible with the 5 emoji (trait) limit, starting from $4, but where certain combinations are more scarce and accrue more value. This scarcity can be created by Yat themselves, through premium prices applied for particular patterns or length, or even through individuals or organisations purchasing specific sets of emojis, which can then be sold individually for a premium on the secondary market (assuming demand is there or can be created).

At ๐Ÿ‘ฝโญโ˜๏ธ we are thinking about the different ways that people may like to express these emoji identities or set of traits. We started with our Dark Emojis and an extensive collection of backgrounds which can be selected when creating a banner. We have new options, more backgrounds, and collaborating artists on the way, and if you have any additional ideas around how you would like to present your Yat or even create a collection based on Yats, looking for input or artists, we invite you to contact us ๐Ÿ“กโœจ๐Ÿ‘ฝ

Author: Joseph โœจ๐Ÿ™ƒโœจ