YouTube is launching new creator tools to expand monetization, including allowing creators to sell content as NFTs so fans can "own" videos.
Weeks after suggesting that the platform would branch out into NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, YouTube announced plans to integrate the burgeoning technology into its creator tools. In a blog post Thursday, YouTube's chief product officer, Neal Mohan, wrote that the expanded creator monetization tools would include selling NFTs.
Mohan’s blog post said Web3, an umbrella term for the third phase of the internet based on transparency ledgers like blockchains, “opens up new opportunities for creators.”
"We believe new technologies like blockchain and NFTs can allow creators to build deeper relationships with their fans," Mohan said. "Together, they'll be able to collaborate on new projects and make money in ways not previously possible."
The expanded tools will give a "verifiable way" for fans to "own unique videos, photos, art and even experiences" from their favorite creators, he wrote.
The company didn't make it clear whether NFT ownership would conflict with copyright law. Buying an NFT establishes ownership of a specific digital asset and provides a public record of each transaction involving the asset. It doesn't transfer copyright from the original owner to the buyer.
YouTube is also adding features that mirror competing platforms.
It will monetize Shorts, the short-form video platform similar to TikTok and Instagram Reels. Creators will be able to reply to comments with short videos, a feature widely used on TikTok to directly engage with viewers.
YouTube is adding livestreaming features, further competing with Twitch. The company will launch collaborative livestreaming so creators can go live together. The platform is also testing giving paid memberships as gifts.
YouTube isn't the first social media giant to integrate NFTs. Twitter users can now display their NFTs with a special profile picture feature.
And creators from YouTube's early days have been selling their viral videos as NFTs. An NFT of the 2007 video "Charlie Bit My Finger" sold for $760,999.
"There’s a lot to consider in making sure we approach these new technologies responsibly," Mohan said. "But we think there’s incredible potential as well."