Billionaire .au domains acquired by founder of digital identity startup


Joseph Skewes, cofounder of identity startup Alien Star Cloud, purchased .au domains matching the surnames of some of the wealthiest and most successful Australians in an exercise demonstrating the importance of protecting your personal brand.

The domains include, surname of mining magnate and Australia’s richest person Gina Rinehart,, surname of Afterpay CEO & cofounder Anthony Eisen,, surname of 3-time boxing world champion Anthony Mundine, and, surname of billionaire property magnate Sam Tarascio.

The domains were purchased for the purpose of the demonstration and would be provided back to the prominent Australians at cost, by request before year’s end.

.au direct domains are a new top-level domain format allowing those with an Australian presence to register domains such as They can be used for email addresses, web addresses, and when connected with Ethereum Name Service (ENS), their utility can extend to a cross-platform web3 username for payments and more.

After a priority allocation process for holders of pre-existing .au domains the .au Domain Administration Limited (auDA) has today released all remaining .au domains to the public. Launched six months ago, .au direct is now the second biggest namespace in .au, following, ahead of

The relaxed rules around the new .au direct format means Australians can purchase a domain without the need to be a commercial entity (required for and and without falling afoul of the rules for domains intended for individuals ( requires a matching name and is not able to be monetised).

Joseph Skewes, Head of Operations at Alien Star Cloud, was surprised by the domains that were available and that there was a lack of media coverage around the potential for personal use cases. Understanding the importance of digital identity he recently registered his family name in the new format,, and out of interest began checking what else was available.

It was surprising that Australian tech media is yet to cover the impressive personal branding opportunity these domains allow, instead focussing solely on business use cases and protecting intellectual property.

Registering enables clean email addresses such as or websites where subdomains could be setup for multiple members of the family (e.g. and

Anyone with an interest in the heritage of their family name, whether everyday Australians or those in the public limelight, should consider checking for .au domains that match their first name, surname, or a combination of both.

There is an apathy by Australians to keep up with trends in digital identity and we want to change that by showcasing how .au direct domains can be used in creative and innovative ways, highlighting the importance of securing them for personal use.

The future is permissionless, interoperable identities which can plug into social and other platforms. This new domain format is perfect for those who want to celebrate their connection to Australia, while having a simple, easily recognised identity.

Alien Star Cloud is developing an online design studio (ID8R) for digital identity that provides tools for creating social graphics, device wallpapers, profile pictures, and graphics that can be used for physical merchandise. These graphics can incorporate identity elements, including .au direct domains, pseudonyms, names, or web3 digital assets such as NFT avatars, ENS domains, and Yats (emoji identities).

Designs are being created specifically to incorporate popular NFT avatar collections such as Moonbirds and Reddit Collectible Avatars. By creating designs that are specifically customised to the communities that are popping up online around these new forms of identity the founders of Alien Star Cloud believe a stronger personal connection can be established between the owner and their digital identity.

With a utility-enabled NFT collection dropping on October 27th and ID8R to come soon after, the founders of Alien Star Cloud are excited to cater to new forms of digital identity, including the .au direct domains.


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About 👽⭐☁️

Alien Star Cloud is on a mission to combine design with new forms of digital identity, allowing anyone to improve the aesthetics of their personal or business brand.

We are an Australian company, with a remote-first team consisting of co-founders in Australia, Germany, and the United States.

About ID8R

ID8R is an app under development by Alien Star Cloud. Created to support the new frontier of digital identity, allowing netizens to personalise graphics for their social profiles and devices. With a focus on web3 identity including NFT avatars, ENS domains (.eth addresses), and Yats (emoji identities), ID8R will also provide a range of options for those who just want to create an amazing graphic with their name, pseudonym, or domain (such as the new .au direct domains).

Access to ID8R’s core features will initially be token-gated to owners of the Aliens HD NFT collection which is being released on October 27th. The beta version of ID8R is expected to be released soon after this drop.

The Aliens HD NFTs will provide a lifetime pass to ID8R core, with subscription access for those wishing to use a credit card to follow.

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