The world’s largest video streaming platform, YouTube, home of viral videos, is looking to ride the NFT (non-fungible token) bubble, according to a 2022 roadmap shared by the company’s CEO Susan Wojcicki.
While the details of the plan are still sketchy, YouTube hinted at several ways it could be implementing blockchain technology, following in the footstep of its owner, Google, which has been diversifying away from advertisement revenue. Meta and Twitter have also explored NFTs.
“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,” Wojcicki said in a blog post published on Jan. 25.
NFTs or nonfungible tokens are cryptographically unique digital tokens that provide proof of ownership for a wide range of tangible items that can be stored digitally such as artwork, digital collectibles, music, and items in video games.
They’re also a speculative bubble, according to economist John Hawkins, an economist at the University of Canberra.
“Increasingly there are speculative bubbles in things with absolutely no fundamental value,” Hawkins said. “NFTs have joined Bitcoin and celebrity meme-based cryptocurrencies such as Dogecoin and Shiba Inu as examples of tokens with no intrinsic worth, which speculators just buy in the hope the price will keep rising.”
There are worries that the NFT market could have been built on fake and plagiarized content. OpenSea, the dominant NFT marketplace, has captured 97 percent of all NFT sales. More than 80 percent of the NFTs created using its free minting tool are either counterfeits or spam, according to OpenSea. OpenSea is a peer-to-peer marketplace, supposedly, for rare digital items and crypto collectibles.
There are five areas of scams or fraud that have increased along with the NFT bubble, according to research from Bolster, a fraud prevention platform. The scams include replica NFT stores, fake NFT stores, counterfeit or fraud NFTs, fake airdrops and NFT giveaways, and social media scams.
Despite the warnings, YouTube and others are working on features to help video creators make their own digital collectibles that they can sell as NFTs.
Here are three things you need to know about YouTube NFTs:
1. YouTube could dethrone OpenSea
YouTube’s 2 billion monthly active viewers are a force to reckon with. By comparison, OpenSea has less than 500,000 active users.
“YouTube is missing out on potential opportunities to profit from NFT sales,” wrote NFT entrepreneur Daniel Yurcho. “There is no company better suited to tackle (the issues), bring trust to NFTs, and monopolize video tokenization than YouTube.”
Other social media companies that have rolled out their own version of NFTs include Twitter, which now offers a way for users who own a special JPEG to “show off your prized possessions” via a hexagonal profile picture. Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, is said to be preparing something similar.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 74: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin returns for a new season of the GHOGH podcast to discuss Bitcoin, bubbles, and Biden. He talks about the risk factors for Bitcoin as an investment asset including origin risk, speculative market structure, regulatory, and environment. Are broader financial markets in a massive speculative bubble?
2. Some creators are against YouTube turning their content into NFTs
Some content creators have voiced opposition to YouTube’s plan to monetize their content via NFTs and take a bigger cut of the income they generate.
“So YouTube, without my permission, is now selling my content as an NFT? Surprisingly, this isn’t clarified, all it states is that ‘fans can own creators’ videos,” Youtube content creator @SubToOptimus wrote in a tweet.
“I don’t want people owning shit that I made as an NFT. It’s MY content. IF this is the case, YouTube can go fuck off.”
3. YouTube creators are already making their own NFTS
Some creators of viral YouTube videos have already turned them into NFTs and sold them. The Charlie Bit Me NFT, depicting a baby biting his brother’s finger, was auctioned off in 2021 for $761,000. David After Dentist, a video of a disoriented child post-anesthesia, was sold as an NFT for more than $11,000.