After entering the industry in mid-2014, Ali Zandi quickly made a name for himself in the domain name industry thanks to several high-profile sales. One of Zandi’s most notable deals was his $2 million brokered sale of Freedom.com, which was profiled in a DomainSherpa show.
Zandi also took part in several other popular DomainSherpa shows including “$58,000 Profit Flipping 8 Domains in Under 60 Days”
By 2017, Zandi had founded the brokerage company Starfire Holdings, which was responsible for sales including Liquid.com for $750,000 and Tokens.com for $500,000, and in 2018, Zandi was listed as fifth on Escrow.com’s Masters of Domains list.
His high profile in the industry meant he was in demand, but during a trip to India for the DomainX conference, Zandi experienced heart issues that left him recuperating in a hotel room in South Korea. The hotel confinement was serendipitous, as Zandi found the software company Ripple, which sparked an interest in the virtual currency XRP; this lead down a rabbit hole of distributed ledger technology, interoperability, decentralized exchanges, and beyond.
His interest was piqued by the technology’s potential to fix shortfalls in the way money moves, which directly impacts the domain industry. Zandi told me, “Being in the domain industry and especially working on numerous 7 figure sales, I quickly became frustrated with the sheer ridiculous amount of time it takes to move money. Weeks would go by sometimes before anyone had any idea where the funds were (there was no end-to-end visibility at all). This made me realize that cryptocurrency, blockchain, DLT, etc. was definitely the future of not only finance but just about everything digital.”
The Next Steps
Zandi revealed to me that he had achieved around $20 million in facilitated domain name sales, but after working 20-hour days for almost six years, he says he “lost sight of everything that I was internally, mentally, spiritually, physically, etc.”.
Ali Zandi hasn’t been seen in the domain industry for a while thanks to taking some time off to deal with some personal matters. His way of reenergizing was to take a campervan and tour the United States during 2020, traversing 20,000+ miles and crossing the mainland twice.
Now, though, he is back, but he isn’t focused on the domain name industry. While he still owns domain names such as VRGF.com, Zandi’s main focus is his new venture, FTSO. Naturally, he acquired FTSO.com and uses the Twitter handle @FTSO for the project.
Ali Zandi told me that his catalyst for returning to the tech world was an announcement from Flare Network, a blockchain network based on the Flare Consensus Protocol. Flare’s technology and capabilities spurred Zandi to acquire FTSO.com and create FTSO: A Flare Time Series Oracle Signal Provider.
FTSO, Flare Time Series Oracle, is the decentralized on-chain mechanism that provides time series data estimates to the Flare Network to ensure accurate pricing.
Zandi still has a love for domain names, though. He told me, “domain names are going to continue to play a huge role as they are now becoming even rarer as more and more companies come to the playground needing to establish themselves as a brand authority in their space; so I will always participate in the domain name industry to some degree.”
While FTSO’s main objective is to develop a proprietary algorithm that learns, evolves, and scales on its own to ensure that high-integrity pricing indices signals are provided, Zandi told me he has bigger ideas for the future of the company.
Zandi, given the company succeeds, plans to develop a decentralized exchange that connects virtual worlds to the internet of value. Giving its userbase the ability to create and exchange non-fungible tokens.