YouTube Exploring NFTs for Content Creators

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In Brief
  • YouTube is considering non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to its features for creators this year, according to a letter from the CEO.

  • Wojcicki told creators her company was looking at Web3, a blanket term for a blockchain-based economy, as a “source for inspiration.”

  • The letter marks the first time ​​YouTube’s owner, Alphabet Inc.’s Google, has announced integration with the cryptocurrency collectibles.

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YouTube is considering adding non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to its features for creators this year, according to a letter from the CEO.

“We’re always focused on expanding the YouTube ecosystem to help creators capitalize on emerging technologies, including things like NFTs, while continuing to strengthen and enhance 

the experiences creators and fans have on YouTube,” Chief Executive Officer Susan Wojcicki wrote in her annual letter to creators this week. Wojcicki mentioned that YouTube will also be  prioritizing gaming, shopping, music and Shorts, which has earned over 5 trillion video views since its debut in late 2020.

The letter marks the first time ​​YouTube’s owner, Alphabet Inc.’s Google, has announced integration with the cryptocurrency collectibles. Several of YouTube’s competitors have notably already jumped on the bandwagon. Earlier this week, Twitter Inc. began integrating NFTs by letting users post them as profile pictures. Unenthused himself, Elon Musk tweeted, “Twitter is spending engineering resources on this bs while crypto scammers are throwing a spambot block party in every thread!?” According to the Financial Times, Instagram is reportedly working on a similar offering.  

Crypto disruption

Within the largest creator economy, several YouTubers have been able to establish active, lucrative careers posting videos about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. With such a large video market, YouTube has been working for several years to help video makers earn money for their content besides advertising, such as fan payments and e-commerce. 

Meanwhile, Wojcicki told creators her company was looking at Web3, a blanket term for a blockchain-based economy, as a “source for inspiration.” However, proponents of Web3 believe that projects based on blockchains and NFTs could provide better alternatives for content creators than centralized platforms like YouTube and Instagram, which control distribution and payment. Despite these beliefs, the cryptocurrency market remains nascent and volatile, with Bitcoin falling to roughly half its value since its recent November peak.

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Nick is a data scientist who teaches economics and communication in Budapest, Hungary, where he received a BA in Political Science and Economics and an MSc in Business Analytics from CEU. He has been writing about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since 2018, and is intrigued by its potential economic and political usage.

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