YouTube is exploring adding nonfungible token features for its video creators, Chief Executive Officer Susan Wojcicki wrote to the site’s broadcasters on Tuesday.
Although Wojcicki didn’t say exactly what her team is planning, or when, it marks the first time Alphabet Inc.’s Google, YouTube’s owner, is becoming involved with the cryptocurrency collectibles. Several of YouTube’s rivals have already jumped on the trend.
Twitter Inc. began letting users post NFTs as profile photos and Instagram is reportedly working on a similar offering, according to the Financial Times.
NFTs are digital assets that represent ownership of digital assets, like art, that people can buy or sell. YouTube, home to the largest creator economy, has spent several years building ways for its video stars to earn money beyond advertising, adding tools like fan payments and e-commerce.
Wojcicki told creators her company was looking to web3, an umbrella term for internet models built around crypto, as a “source for inspiration.”
“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,” she wrote in her annual letter to creators this week. A YouTube spokeswoman declined to share more about the site’s NFT plans.
Several YouTube creators have built active, lucrative careers posting videos about crypto and related tech. The site, like other social media, has also been plagued by scams promising crypto riches.
Web3 backers often hold up NFTs and other crypto-fueled projects as better alternatives for creators to make money than ad platforms like YouTube and Instagram, which control distribution of their content and how they’re paid. But the market is still nascent and volatile. In the past week, the main cryptocurrency used for purchasing and trading NFTs has plunged in value.
In her letter, Wojcicki also mentioned YouTube’s priorities on gaming, shopping, music and Shorts, its TikTok copycat feature. Shorts, the CEO wrote, has claimed over 5 trillion video views since its debut in late 2020.
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