YouTube considers jumping on the NFT bandwagon

Susan Wojicki said Web3 has been a ‘source of inspiration.’

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Karissa Bell
January 25th, 2022
In this article: news, gear, youtube, NFT, Web3, creators, google
POLAND - 2021/12/21: In this photo illustration a Youtube logo seen displayed on a smartphone and illuminated 2022 New year in the background. (Photo Illustration by Filip Radwanski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
SOPA Images via Getty Images

YouTube is the latest platform eyeing a move into NFTs. In a new letter to creators about YouTube’s 2022 priorities, CEO Susan Wojicki said the company is exploring how its creators could benefit from the digital collectibles.

In the letter, Wojicki said that Web3 — a term used by crypto enthusiasts to refer to the collection of blockchain based technologies they believe will usher in a new era of the internet — has been a “source of inspiration” for the company. She didn’t say exactly how YouTube may integrate NFTs into its platform, but suggested the technology could be a new source of revenue for creators.

“The past year in the world of crypto, nonfungible tokens (NFTs), and even decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) has highlighted a previously unimaginable opportunity to grow the connection between creators and their fans,” she wrote. “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.”

If YouTube allowed creators to sell NFTs directly to their fans, it would be a major boon for the technology, which has grown in popularity over the last year, but hasn’t been widely adopted by major social platforms. But there are already signs that could change in 2022.

Twitter just introduced its first experiment with NFTs, with NFT profile pictures. Instagram’s top executive has also expressed an interest in the technology, and The Financial Times reported last week that Facebook and Instagram are working on an NFT marketplace and other features,

NFT aren’t the only new monetization opportunities YouTube is looking at in the coming year, though. Wojicki also said the company is “excited” about podcasts and that “we expect it to be an integral part of the creator economy.” She also confirmed that YouTube would expand its shopping features to more creators, and test “how shopping can be integrated into Shorts.”

The CEO also touched on the controversy surrounding YouTube’s decision to remove public dislike counts from its platform. She noted that the dislikes was often used to target smaller creators for harassment, and that the feature could still be used to inform individuals' recommendations. “Every way we looked at it, we did not see a meaningful difference in viewership, regardless of whether or not there was a public dislike count,” she said. “And importantly, it reduced dislike attacks.”

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