- Sandy Carter discusses the importance of web3 in reshaping the internet.
- She also explains the role of web3 domains in onboarding users to the next iteration of the web.
- And the role of decentralised IDs in enforcing user privacy laws on the web.
The non-fungible token (NFT) market has taken a significant hit since the crypto winter began last year. However, this has not prevented utility-focused projects from sealing multi-year partnerships as they continue to expand their ecosystems.
NFT domains can be used across a variety of sectors, including web3 gaming, decentralised applications, and metaverse platforms. The NFT industry has evolved from a market dominated by PFP JPEGs and NFT art to one of the most vital technologies for the mass adoption of web3.
Now the technology is widely used to onboard company employees and customers onto web3 through loyalty programs, it is also being used in the ticketing and events industries.
NFTs initially emerged as a blockchain-based technology that helps to uniquely identify digital items like art, music tracks, video clips and JPEGs.
But since the emergence of Unstoppable Domains, NFTs are now actively being used to identify on web3 platforms, giving users the power to choose and share the information they wish through NFT domains.
For this reason, they are seen as a potential solution to the long-running battle between antitrust regulators and big tech companies like Meta (formerly Facebook), Amazon, and Microsoft, all of which have faced lawsuits related to user privacy violations.
To explore more about web3 domains, we got in touch with Sandy Carter, the COO and Head of Business Development at Unstoppable Domains.
The web3 domain service provider last July reached unicorn status after completing a $65 million funding round led by Pantera Capital, just four years after its inception in 2018.
Please tell us about your journey in web3 and your role at Unstoppable Domains.
I’ve spent my entire career working on emerging technologies like AI and AR/VR, most recently as a VP at AWS. I was recruited to Unstoppable by our CEO and Co-Founder, Matt Gould. When I was first introduced to Unstoppable, I was drawn into the Web3 sector by its potential to reshape the Internet and put power back in the hands of people. I knew I had to be part of this movement! In some sense, this was a “return to the roots” moment since I’ve been helping drive e-commerce as early as Web 1.0 and helped shape social media for Web 2.0.
Today, as the COO and Head of Business Development at Unstoppable, I oversee the company’s day-to-day operations and drive strategic partnerships and growth opportunities. We’re on a mission to provide user-owned identity to every person on the planet, and I’m responsible for driving growth and developing business strategies in pursuit of that mission. This includes driving partnerships and integrations for Web3 and the Metaverse
Is there anything special about Unstoppable Domains compared to other web3 domain companies?
Unstoppable Domains is on a mission to bring user-owned identity to the planet. Our motto is utility over hype, which is why we’ve focused on building integrations with our community’s favourite dapps, games, metaverses and more. We now have 860 integrations, more integrations than any other Web3 domain provider.
Another offering that’s unique is the Unstoppable Profile. Each domain owner gets a profile that allows them to show who they are. You can add blockchain-verified NFTs and credentials, like tickets, awards, and more, and earn badges for your on-chain achievements. You can also build a personalized AI-generated or metaverse avatar and verify your social accounts. It’s a powerful way to showcase your identity on Web3 and connect with others.
We believe Web3 is about owning your assets for life. That’s why we don’t charge renewal fees. Once you buy an Unstoppable domain, it’s yours forever. Other Web3 domain projects charge users up to a few hundred dollars annually to renew their domains. We also mint our domains on Polygon with no gas fees, which helps ensure we can make them accessible to everyone.
Unstoppable Domains offers a range of different TLDs, including .crypto, .nft, .wallet, .x, .dao, .bitcoin, .polygon, .888, .blockchain, and .zil. With branded domains like .polygon, we’ve helped provide the digital identity layer for leading communities. We’re thrilled to be part of expanding this powerful technology to more people.
Given the news that Google bots are struggling to crawl web3 domains, how different are web3 domains from traditional web domains? And do you think we will ever see web3 domains on Google search?
Web3 domains bring a lot more utility than traditional web domains. While you can create a decentralized website with a Web3 domain that’s visible on browsers like Brave and Opera, there’s so much more you can do with a Web3 domain like sending crypto, building a profile, logging in without needing a password and more.
Unlike traditional web domains, decentralized websites are stored on IPFS, or the InterPlanetary File System, which is a method for decentralised storage of information. It enables users to store and retrieve files in a distributed manner, providing a resilient system.
Indexing to Google search will likely take some time, but we believe this is the future of the Internet. Browser developers like Brave are already actively working on web3 domain indexing, and you can already see Web3 domains displayed in Google Chrome with a browser extension, so I am confident it’s only a matter of time before Web3 domains appear in search results.
Which web3 domain use cases seem most attractive to brands and businesses? Any idea why?
There are three top use cases that brands and business love.
First is the concept of a loyalty program. Using token gating, brands can reward their “fans” based on accomplishing tasks showcased by badging on our Unstoppable Profile page. Loyalty programs have been around for a long time, but with Web3, the costs are lower. Web3 also provides more verifiable ways to prove tasks have been done.
The second is around creating community. Powerhouse brands like Polygon have embraced Web3 domains by creating their own digital identity extensions, such as “.polygon.” As a result, we are seeing stronger engagement in the community. Once released, our Messaging offering will level up that engagement.
Finally, we see businesses using Unstoppable domains to ease login and accommodate the demand that users have to own their own identity. Web3 domains can offer a ton of utility to businesses and their communities. Using a decentralized domain name like Unstoppable, which boasts over 860 integrations, users can encrypt their emails, create avatars that can travel with them through multiple metaverses, create personalized websites, and much more. Brands can both establish their own presence on the decentralized Web3 and harness the power of Web3 domains for their communities – there’s so much power to unlock.
Recently we’ve seen Microsoft, Amazon, and Meta asked to pay big fines for user privacy violations. Can Web3 digital identities help overcome this challenge? If yes, how?
Absolutely. Giving people more control over their data is one of the core promises in Web3. Unlike massive corporations that harvest and sell their users’ data, Web3 platforms allow users to decide what data and with whom they want to share it. A simple example of this is with Login with Unstoppable – when you log in to a platform using your Unstoppable domain, you get full visibility into what data will be shared with them, and can opt out of sharing certain data (like email addresses) if you wish.
Given the recent SEC lawsuits against Binance and Coinbase, how is this likely to affect the web3 industry?
It’s difficult to speculate on what might happen. My hope is that we can take this opportunity for meaningful dialogue on these technologies and, hopefully, a route to clear regulation.
Given the recent slowdown in NFT activity (transactions, mints, volume, funding) what needs to happen to take the industry to the next growth phase?
It’s clear this technology is here to stay — a great example is Reddit’s incredible Collectible Avatars campaign, which brought over 3 million non-crypto natives to the web3 almost overnight. Initiatives such as Nike’s .Swoosh and Starbucks’ Odyssey initiatives also demonstrate demand for NFTs and the innovation they can bring. I have no doubt that more brands will join them in the future. As they say, a rising tide lifts all boats.
Do you think there is a place for web3 apps in Apple’s VisionPro headset?
Not only is there a place for Web3 dapps, but I also think that Apple’s Vision Pro could accelerate the mass adoption of the whole metaverse space altogether. Today, AR/VR headsets are still a novelty even in traditional gaming; however, a mass-market product launched by a giant like Apple could attract millions of new users to the space, ultimately catalyzing the adoption of metaverses and other web3 concepts in the future.
Anything else related to recent web3 events you want to add?
The next phase of adoption in Web3 is going to be about building user-friendly, intuitive programs and processes. There is so much opportunity for brands to connect more deeply with their communities through Web3, but mass adoption will be about hiding the complexity – that means avoiding unnecessary jargon, incorporating great design, and bringing real value to your communities.
I also think it’s important we don’t lose sight of inclusivity in Web3 and the metaverse. By bringing more diverse voices into the fold, I believe we can build a more innovative Web3. That’s why I founded Unstoppable Women of Web3, a member organization that’s focused on building a more inclusive decentralized future through global educational initiatives, networking events, and more.
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