NFTStudio24 presents an exclusive podcast interview with Sajjad Rehman, the Head of Europe at Unstoppable Domains, which is also a member of Blockchain Game Alliance.
Web3 has always promoted the idea of ownership, identity, and decentralization to users. Unstoppable Domains emerges as a domain service provider, giving individuals and companies an opportunity to own their names on blockchain and build their image around it.
In Web2, users are forced to buy domain names temporarily that doesn’t even belong to them. Furthermore, the big tech giants control identities and can access them however they want without users’ consent.
Rehman highlights this aspect throughout the interview and explains how having full ownership over a domain name can give users the power to make decisions that benefit them.
Here’s a detailed interview on NFT domains, Web3 career opportunities, partnership with BGA, and more.
Partnership with Blockchain Game Alliance
Unstoppable Domains is the official member of the Blockchain Game Alliance, an organization dedicated to promoting blockchain technology in the gaming industry by creating a community of experienced individuals and companies.
Rehman says in his initial weeks of joining, Unstoppable Domains was gearing up for a digital identity product and this community was a perfect forum to have a global conversation about propelling blockchain games into the mainstream and how the company could contribute to this mission.
“We’ve been very fortunate to join as a partner and met many of our recent partners through that process,” he said.
From Fintech to Web3: Sajjad Rehman’s journey
Rehman has a multi-faceted experience in different industries including fintech, games, and live streaming, and also has roles in product management, strategy, and business development.
When asked how he found out about Web3, Rehman shared that he was introduced to this new technology during his years as an MBA student at Cambridge. He was quite interested in cryptocurrency and had investments in Bitcoin but wasn’t that serious about it.
Rehman didn’t pursue his career in the industry initially. He spent almost 8 years in consumer-focused gaming tech but was also actively trying to understand how blockchain could democratize the future of the internet.
Having a perfectly established career in Fintech, one of the executives from Unstoppable Domains scouted him. According to Rehman, switching careers was a turning point because he had to leave a perfect job but he still wanted to experiment in a new space, which was Web3.
Vision of Unstoppable Domains: Digital Identity Ownership
Rehman shares that Unstoppable Domains was built upon a fundamental vision of the founders that identity on the internet live on platforms and is not controlled by users. They wanted to create a future where users have control over their identity directly and get more value without the need for intermediaries.
Rehman explains the utility of these NFT domains that enable users to carry Web3 identities across various decentralized applications and have control over transaction data. “You can link various records to your Web3 domain name and then log in to hundreds of applications.”
Web3 domains mainly simplify the user experience, control data on applications, and enjoy other benefits in the future.
He also shared another use case of these names during user-to-user transactions. Traditionally, writing down long machine-readable wallet addresses can be quite hard when making a payment; Unstoppable simplifies this by replacing that address with one name.
Unstoppable domain names for Investment
NFTStudio24 asked Rehman why anyone should invest their money in NFT domains to which he said that it depends on one’s choice and why one wants to do it. Domain names are expected to increase in value in the coming years, especially those that hold demand in the market.
Unstoppable provides free usernames to users who don’t have a name in promotions with partners. Some of the login integrations on platforms offer free NFT domains if you don’t have one.
The ultimate goal of Unstoppable Domains is to onboard billions of people on Web3 by providing them with their own user identity. “We believe price should not be a barrier to that,” he said.
Web3 Education about Digital Identity
Unstoppable Domains is highly focused on helping young students and learners know emerging technologies, NFTStudio24’s mission also aligns with this, and the company has been actively working towards bringing more people on board by educating them about digital identity.
Unstoppable has done a lot of integration with partners, and through them, they are educating the users. Rehman gives the example of Learnoverse where the team helped in developing a course on digital identity and also gave free domain names to learners who completed the course.
“We will be adding more layers to education and onboard the students who are not into Web3 right now but are very curious to get in and learn,” he said.
Rehman believes that it’s easier to educate students who are genuinely curious and exploring Web3 by providing them with courses and experiences but the biggest challenge is to infuse interest in learners who don’t care about the new technology. He recently spoke at the National Commission Center in Pakistan where he discussed the same problem in a discussion of Web3 Education.
According to Rehman, the best way is to partner with educational institutions to borne interest in students while educating them about Web3. He says Pakistan is actively using this strategy.
The second way, he suggests, is to work with creators to bring them on board because they can influence the broader industry and young population rather than companies doing it themselves.
Digital Identity for Small Brands
Rehman shares his insights on how Web3 can possibly revolutionize our daily life interactions and business dealings in the future. As mentioned before, blockchain technology removes the role of third parties between consumers and a creator while also highlighting their expertise to the world.
In today’s world, small brands usually struggled with establishing their business ground at a global scale. Web3 simplifies the expansion by directly bringing consumers to the brand without needing to pay any extra fees to anyone.
When it comes to digital identity, every brand has an image identity that shows its achievements and milestone in public. In the long run, these Web3 domain names can be the brand’s global identity that they can proudly use to define themselves.
Another aspect of Web3 is that all transactions are recorded on the blockchain public ledger which can be proof of some companies’ services to convince their clients. This is a great utility that currently doesn’t exist in Web2.
To be short, Web3 and Unstoppable Domains give more freedom to small brands by giving equal opportunities to all.
Unstoppable Domains x BGA in Europe
According to Rehman, the gaming industry is always the first one to adopt new technology. Unstoppable Domains’ partnership with BGA plays an important role in mass adoption. “Accessible games enable people to move from Web2, get into the game experience, get a wallet, understand what Web3 is, and then move into more mature Web3,” he said.
Unstoppable Domains aims to work with BGA members to provide their users with digital identity by integrating into their ecosystem. For example, if a user plays a mobile game and creates a username “john324” then they can register for NFT domains and even have their own wallet. This is the most simplified way of adopting Web3 in Web2 that Rehman hopes to see in the near future.
Rehman also shared his future aspirations about Web3 with NFTStudio24. Having a background in gaming, he goes back to when the first game “Angrybirds” was listed on App Store 8 years ago.
Now, there are millions of applications, and each application has almost hundreds of users. dApps are comparatively less but Rehman hopes to see more users onboarding and also adding Web3 into the traditional apps in the next 5 years.
NFTStudio24 did rapid-fire questions with Sajjad Rehman:
Q. What are your predictions for Bitcoin prices in 2023?
A. I don’t care, honestly.
Q. What would the metaverse look like in 2050?
A. I believe it’s going to be a seamless, AR physical-to-digital experience where we socialize, interact, learn, and create without realizing we’re going through different applications. It will be seamless interoperability.
Q. Do you think Web3 will be massively adopted in the next five years?
A. Yes. For me, “massively” means the next 100 to 500 million users will have adopted it if we build the right things now.
Q. Do you think the utility of NFT will change in the next decade?
A. Yes. I’m a big believer that NFT is not a product but a technology. I believe NFTs will have real-world utility in the long run.
Sajjad’s message to NFTStudio24 viewers
Wrapping up the interview, Rehman had an inspiring message to NFTStudio24 viewers, builders, and creators in the space:
“I think the proverbial speculation about the space has certainly popped. Some might call it a “.com” moment but we must never forget that there were builders who developed .com. So, this is the moment for builders. If you’re a builder, you will do well.”