YouTube will explore NFT features for creators

Several YouTube creators have built active, lucrative careers posting videos about crypto and related tech. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (REUTERS, BLOOMBERG) - YouTube is exploring features for its video creators to capitalise on non-fungible tokens, its chief executive officer said on Tuesday (Jan 25), becoming the latest tech company to tap into a digital collectibles craze that has exploded in the past year.

"We're always focused on expanding the YouTube ecosystem to help creators capitalise on emerging technologies, including things like NFTs, while continuing to strengthen and enhance the experiences creators and fans have on YouTube," wrote YouTube chief executive officer Susan Wojcicki in a letter on the company's 2022 priorities.

They have seen a surge in popularity over the last year, with people buying artwork and video highlights from sports games as NFTs.

Sales of NFTs reached some US$25 billion (S$33.6 billion) in 2021, according to data from market tracker DappRadar, although there were signs of growth slowing toward the end of the year.

A spokesman for Alphabet's YouTube declined to share more details about the potential NFT features, which were first reported by Bloomberg News.

Last week, Twitter announced the launch of a tool through which users can showcase NFTs as hexagonal profile pictures.

The Financial Times reported this month that Meta Platforms was working on ways to let users create and sell NFTs on Facebook and Instagram. In December, Instagram head Adam Mosseri said the company was exploring NFTs.

The popular short video app TikTok in September ventured into the craze, announcing an NFT collection designed by some of its top creators.

Reddit has also been exploring the space: recent job listings from the company on LinkedIn advertised for several engineer roles for a "rapidly growing team that aims to build the largest creator economy on the Internet, powered by independent creators, digital goods, and NFTs".

Ms Wojcicki told creators her company was looking to Web3, an umbrella term for internet models built around crypto, as a "source for inspiration".

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-fuelled 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 are 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.

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