There’s a growing appetite for digital ownership, and leading the charge in this movement are NFTs or non-fungible tokens. NFTs have experienced exponential growth in the past year, receiving mainstream attention and adoption worldwide. The next frontier for these digital assets is YouTube. Keep reading to understand NFTs better and explore how YouTube plans to integrate NFT features.
First introduced in 2014, non-fungible tokens are digital records that verify the ownership of a unique item in the digital or physical realm (i.e., digital content, artwork, media, deeds). The digital proof of ownership is built into the blockchain, the same technology for cryptocurrencies. This technology tracks metadata of each transaction involving the asset, like when an item was purchased and the price paid. Moreover, blockchain technology gives each NFT a unique digital signature, ensuring the investment is one of a kind and imposing barriers to creating counterfeit NFTs.
Fungible vs. Non Fungible
A fungible token or item can be exchanged for something of equal value as its price is not linked to a unique property. For example, a quarter can be swapped with another quarter since they’re worth the same amount, and their value is not impacted.
In contrast, a token or item that is non-fungible places all value on a unique property, preventing it from being interchangeable with anything else. Such is the case with an original piece of artwork because it is valued for its individual quality and does not readily have a counterpart of equivalent value. The same logic applies to NFTs, making it impossible to be equal to or exchanged for another NFT.
The Role of NFTs
Most commonly, NFTs are used to buy and sell digital content. These digital assets have gained notoriety because they give creators more control over their content and maximize their earnings. As explained by Ethereum, a decentralized blockchain-based platform, “NFTs power a new creator economy where creators don’t hand ownership of their content over to the platforms they use to publicise it. Ownership is baked into the content itself.”
Furthermore, NFTs grant creators the ability to show proof of ownership, scarcity, and authenticity of their property. They also give creators access to a global market where they can generate sales to crypto-audiences, with some auctions being so competitive that NFTs sell in the millions.
Particular emphasis has been placed on digital art, such as GIFs, music, and videos, ushering in a new era of art collecting. NFTs will next expand their territory to YouTube.
NFT Features on YouTube
As other social media and content-adjacent platforms like Twitter have incorporated NFTs, YouTube also plans to integrate NFT features. In a blog post from YouTube’s chief product officer, Neal Mohan, on February 10, 2022, the video platform addressed the incredible potential blockchain and NFTs offer creators. For instance, Mohan noted that NFTs function as a means to “build deeper relationships with their fans” and “make money in ways not previously possible.”
Mohan further explained that NFTs provide “a verifiable way for fans to own unique videos, photos, art, and even experiences from their favorite creators.” In this way, YouTube views NFTs as a compelling prospect for creators and audiences alike.
The Future of NFTs
Finding novel uses across various industries, NFTs are expected to remain a core part of the digital world. Whether these digital assets prove to be a bridging force or method of disruption, NFTs are undeniably integral to the future of digital ownership.