YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has outlined the video streaming platforms “2022 Priorities” which, annoyingly, could include NFTs.

In an open letter to the YouTube Community, Wojcicki shared some interesting data on the health of the service, with the Tik-Tok style Shorts now surpassing the 5 trillion total views. The success of short-form video on the platform is likely a big play for YouTube to tackle the ongoing surge of Tik-Tok, which briefly surpassed Google as the world’s most popular domain in late 2021.

Wojcicki also confirmed that earnings on YouTube have jumped, with the volume of channels and creators now making $10,000 or higher up by “40 percent year over year.” As part of the ongoing tools enabling creators to earn money on YouTube, we could soon see nonfungible token (NFT) support arrive:

The past year in the world of crypto, nonfungible tokens (NFTs), and even decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) has highlighted a previously unimaginable opportunity to grow the connection between creators and their fans. 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.

Of course, some YouTube creators have already cashed in on the NFT craze with the immensely popular “Charlie Bit Me” video selling for around $750,000. The original video has since been set to private and is no longer viewable in its original form. However, there are numerous reposts of the content still live as of 2022.

It’s also unclear how NFTs would be offered on YouTube or what they would look like. However, the controversial dislike counter removal was explained in further detail — and sadly it does not look like the dislike button will return.

We also saw the dislike count harming parts of our ecosystem through dislike attacks as people actively worked to drive up the number of dislikes on a creator’s videos. These attacks often targeted smaller creators and those just getting started. We want every creator to feel they can express themselves without harassment. So we experimented with removing the dislike count across millions of videos over many months. Every way we looked at it, we did not see a meaningful difference in viewership, regardless of whether or not there was a public dislike count. And importantly, it reduced dislike attacks.

Third-party efforts to restore the dislike count have since been blocked off, which would have been a major source of frustration for creators and YouTube viewers alike. Dislike protests may not be directly visible, but creators can still see the metadata from within the Creator Studio. Aside from NFTs and the ongoing growth of YouTube Shorts, Wojcicki also confirmed that Shopping tools on the platform are set to expand further.

9to5Google’s take

YouTube NFTs

The hype surrounding NFTs is clearly causing many brands and platforms to attempt to find a way to shoehorn the almost universally derided blockchain-backed medium into their products. While there are opportunities for NFTs to become a powerful supplementary tool for creators and artists, it’s tough to see where the long-term value is in commoditizing digital art on a platform designed for sharing content. A major worry is that, like the “Charlie Bit Me” video, we could see popular content disappear or be made limited by those willing to effectively “buy up” YouTube content rights and take it offline.

Within the very same blog post, Wojcicki also claims that YouTube is committed to supporting “environmentally-focused creators to amplify positive climate content on our platform”. Given the potential environmental impact of NFTs and murky world of carbon offsetting, this potential decision seems at odds with any environmental pledges.

It is important to note that because crypto art such as NFTs are so new, it’s tough to accurately assess just the impact of non-fungible token creation, minting, and market causes. However, it’s true that the main cryptocurrency used and associated with NFT art is Ethereum. The mining of this cryptocurrency does have an impact but it’s still fairly tough to truly assess. If this does come to fruition, Google will need to convince people that NFTs are not just a fad and needs to also address just what the benefits will be to the creators — and the environment.

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Damien Wilde

Damien is a UK-based video producer for 9to5Google. Find him on Twitter: @iamdamienwilde. Email: damien@9to5mac.com

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