YouTube launches NFTs so fans can ‘own’ videos

YouTube says it is also ‘thinking big’ about the metaverse to bring ‘more interactions to games’

Adam Smith
Thursday 14 April 2022 18:00
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YouTube has announced that it will be expanding into NFTs so that fans can “own” creators’ videos.

Neal Mohan, the streaming site’s chief product officer, wrote in a blog post that Web3 - the controversial next stage of the internet - “opens up new opportunities for creators”.

That technologies like the “blockchain and NFTs blockchain and NFTs can allow creators to build deeper relationships with their fans.”

The technology will give “a verifiable way for fans to own unique videos, photos, art, and even experiences from their favorite creators could be a compelling prospect for creators and their audience.” Mr Mohan added that there was “a lot to consider” for YouTube to “approach these new technologies responsibly”.

It is unclear exactly what YouTube means when it says that creators can own creators’ videos, since NFTs do not inherently transfer copyright to owners.

NFTs are alsodamaging for the environment because the amount of energy required to mint an item on the blockchain is so huge.

It has been estimated that the average NFT has a carbon footprint equivalent to the monthly footprint of someone living in the EU, while the cost of Bitcoin’s environmental impact has been well documented - with analysis from the University of Cambridge suggesting that its network currently consumes more energy than the whole of the Netherlands.

YouTube has said that “sustainability has been a core value for Google since it was founded” and says that “by 2030, Google aims to be the first major company to operate carbon free.” It is unclear how its integration of NFTs meets this claim.

What are NFTs?

YouTube did not respond to a request for comment from The Independent before time of publication.

As well as NFTs, YouTube is rolling out new editing tools and effects for its TikTok clone Shorts, as well as replying to individual comments by creating a Short.

Collaborative live streaming is also being introduced to “open up streams to more casual conversation and interactions with other creators”, and creators will also be able to set channel guidelines to better monitor comments on their videos.

Finally, YouTube has said that it is “thinking big” about the metaverse – the digital world that companies like Meta, formerly Facebook, believe is the future of the internet but which many have criticised for being dystopian.

YouTube says it will “work to bring more interactions to games and make them feel more alive” by turning “virtual worlds into a reality for viewers.”

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