YouTube is looking at nonfungible token (NFT) integrations to provide new methods for creators to engage with fans and develop additional revenue streams.
The news comes just a few weeks after YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki hinted that the platform can use Web3 “as a source of inspiration” for growth and possibly adopt NFTs on the website.
In a Thursday blog post, YouTube's chief product officer Neal Mohan outlined a long list of new products, tools and features that the firm intends to roll out in 2022, with Web3 tech, blockchain, NFTs and the Metaverse all getting mentioned.
Mohan stated that YouTube is actively seeking out new ways to provide additional support and options for its two million partnered creators after receiving feedback from the community.
After referencing that creators often struggle with coming up with new content ideas or figuring out what will be successful on the platform, Mohan pointed to Web3 tech such as NFTs as a potential solution:
“Web3 also opens up new opportunities for creators. We believe new technologies like blockchain and NFTs can allow creators to build deeper relationships with their fans. Together, they’ll be able to collaborate on new projects and make money in ways not previously possible.”
Addressing the potential ways that creators could utilize NFT tech, Mohan suggested they could tokenize their videos, photos, art and experiences as a way to engage with fans.
“There’s a lot to consider in making sure we approach these new technologies responsibly, but we think there’s incredible potential as well,” he said.
Mohan also paid tribute to the current major buzzword of the moment — “Metaverse”— as he outlined that viewers could expect some new ways to experience content via virtual reality. The YouTube exec stated that the firm will first tackle gaming, but did not reveal any specifics at this stage.
“Finally, we couldn’t have a piece about innovation without touching on the Metaverse! We're thinking big about how to make viewing more immersive. The first area in which you can expect to see an impact is gaming, where we'll work to bring more interactions to games and make them feel more alive.”
“It’s still early days, but we’re excited to see how we can turn these virtual worlds into a reality for viewers,” he added.
A major tech firm like YouTube outlining any plans to do with NFTs is courageous in the current climate, considering the numerous times a public backlash has occurred following NFT announcements from firms such as Discord, Ubisoft and Team17 .
Common arguments from opponents include framing NFTs as cash grabs, scams, or responsible for environmental damage due to the mining practices of some cryptocurrencies. On Thursday, reporter for the left-wing UK media outlet The Independent, Adam Smith highlighted the public perception against NFTs among progressives on Twitter, stating that:
“A YouTube spokesperson told me they have nothing more to share on [the] huge environmental damage that NFTs cause even though Google is "dedicated to sustainability" so that's great.”
He then offered a chance for YouTube or Google employees to complain to him for an article.
Proponents would, of course, point out that NFTs don't cause "huge environmental damage" at all, as the blockchains they are tokenized on would use the same amount of electricity regardless of whether NFTs are traded on them or not. And while the backlash is centered on the electricity consumption of proof-of-work blockchains, other chains hosting NFTs run on proof-of-stake, which is more than 99% more energy efficient.