In a preview of YouTube’s new tools for creators and viewers in 2022, YouTube’s Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan revealed that YouTube creators will have the ability to mint content as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The innovation attempts to leverage Web 3.0 technology to better connect creators with their fans.
Of the examples Mohan shares of how YouTube will utilize NFTs, fans will have the opportunity to own unique “videos, photos, art, and even experiences” from their favorite content creators. Fans and creators will also be able to “collaborate on new projects” and earn income in ways that were previously not thought possible.
While the statement was bullish on Web 3.0 technologies, Mohan didn’t mention any timeline for when creators will be able to mint content as NFTs and for their fans to be able to own them.
The YouTube announcement is not necessarily a surprise, as earlier this year, the company wrote in an open letter to creators that Web 3.0 implementations in 2022 were likely. How YouTube creators will monetize the new technology is still unknown, though it could come in the form of minted videos and pictures and memberships to exclusive content.
Social Media Platforms Raise the Bar for NFTs
YouTube is certainly not the first platform to announce the integration of NFTs and other Web 3.0 technologies, and it won’t be the last. This year, Twitter created a way to verify NFT profile pictures. Meta has flirted with adding an NFT marketplace, and Reddit has openly suggested that it was thinking about implementing NFT verification into its platform.
The most analogous example of NFT implementation to YouTube’s proposal is the social media platform OnlyFans’ NFT aims. The company is currently seeking NFT verification through a similar method as Twitter Blue but has stated that it has broader purposes for the technology.
Its goal to allow OnlyFans’ creators to connect better with fans is similar to YouTube’s, and it sees NFTs as vehicles to do that.
Outside of major platforms, some projects have already used NFTs to connect creators with fanbases better. Tom Brady’s NFT platform Autograph seeks to capitalize on the cult of celebrity, with ultra-famous athletes and celebrities creating their own NFTs for fanbases.
Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) have sprouted up on OpenSea to give collectors of the NFTs membership rights and access to exclusive content.
YouTube’s use of the newer technology might give the fans a different way to support their favorite creators — and own a piece of media at the same time. A lingering question is how this would be implemented given copyright laws, but it does pose an opportunity for creators and fans alike and gives creators an extra means of collecting money from YouTube.