As one of the biggest drivers of Web3 adoption, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are becoming essential marketing tools sector-wide. The YouTube NFT announcement is the latest in leading media companies’ high-profile NFT integrations. Furthermore, as the demand for NFTs continues to soar, major platforms and technology companies are joining the Web3 revolution. The YouTube NFT integration has the potential to create new revenue opportunities for content creators. Also, it can provide fans and audiences with rare and exclusive features that the streaming giant cannot facilitate alone.

In this article, we explore the YouTube NFT offering and dive deep into the utility of NFTs. Plus, we discuss what the YouTube NFT initiative means for content creators, fans, and the Web3 industry.

What are Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)?

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are crypto assets that represent ownership of other assets on the blockchain. NFTs provide an immutable record of ownership and include unique data about the assets they represent. Fungible assets, such as fiat currencies, Bitcoin (BTC), or Ethereum (ETH), are interchangeable. As such, if you take out a loan from a bank or a decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol, you can repay that loan using any equivalent units of account; you don’t need to repay it using the exact same units borrowed. Accordingly, this makes fungible assets a typical medium of exchange.

With the YouTube NFT offering, many are asking, "what are NFTs?".

On the other hand, non-fungible assets such as NFTs are unsuitable as a medium of exchange. Why? Because no two NFTs are exactly alike. Instead, NFTs allow users to tokenize real-world assets on the blockchain. Furthermore, the two most prominent NFT standards are Ethereum ERC-721 and ERC-1155. The ERC-721 standard is ideal for tokenizing unique assets on the blockchain. Moreover, the ERC-1155 standard allows users to create batches of multiple NFTs for a single smart contract.

Additionally, NFTs possess many use cases. One of the most prominent use cases for NFTs is in Web3 gaming platforms and metaverse applications. Rare in-game items such as weapons, swords, and potions can all be tokenized on the blockchain using NFTs. This provides a transparent record of ownership and enables players to verify the scarcity of an item. Below, we dive a little deeper into the use cases for NFTs.

NFT Use Cases

NFTs are very well suited to digital collectibles and artwork. Projects such as Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks have become extremely popular mediums for NFT artwork. Some NFTs have sold for millions of dollars. Plus, many celebrities have jumped on the bandwagon to get a piece of the NFT hype. That said, NFTs serve the art and entertainment communities well beyond flipping JPEGs for profit.

Artists and musicians benefit from NFTs as they remove intermediaries and allow creators to connect with their audiences directly. Also, releasing music as an NFT creates new fan engagement opportunities. For example, an artist can release a limited number of tracks or albums as NFTs. Along with this, artists can include exclusive perks, such as rare artwork, experiences, and privileges for future releases.

Another interesting use case for NFTs is digital collectibles. Projects such as NBA Top Shot use NFTs as digital trading cards. This also allows fans to collect “moments” from classic NBA games, all verifiable on the blockchain. Furthermore, NFTs are becoming increasingly popular for virtual real estate in metaverse gaming applications. For example, projects such as Decentraland and The Sandbox allow players to buy virtual real estate and monetize their land by creating unique experiences.

In addition, NFTs play an essential role in identity management, digital ticketing, domain names, and social media. Ex-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tokenized a tweet that sold for almost $3 million. What’s more, decentralized social media platforms use NFTs for profile pictures and avatars. The use cases for NFTs are extremely broad and varied. Accordingly, NFTs are proving to be one of the biggest drivers of blockchain adoption in recent years.

Why are NFTs Important?

With the YouTube NFT offering, it seems like NFTs are quite influential. But are NFTs that important to creators? NFTs allow us to create digital representations of any type of asset class. Also, NFTs can help us to verify ownership histories and create a transparent, immutable, and tamper-resistant provenance timeline on the blockchain. Although we generally associate NFT sales with art and collectibles, one of the biggest benefits of NFTs is that they can make existing markets more efficient and remove intermediaries. This can apply to practically any asset class. Plus, NFTs can lower the barrier to entry for many different markets that were previously inaccessible.

Furthermore, NFTs allow artists and creators to earn higher incomes from royalty payments. By removing unnecessary intermediaries, musicians utilizing NFTs can retain a larger share of their earnings. What’s more, NFTs allow creators to manage with their fans in new ways and create hype around their content like never before.

Moreover, NFTs could replace several outdated practices in all walks of life. From passports to identity management to fractional ownership and supply chain management, the practical use cases for NFTs are growing in number every year.

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The YouTube NFT Offering

In a February 2022 blog post, YouTube’s chief product officer, Neal Mohan, announced that the streaming giant would include non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as one of several new monetization tools for creators. According to Mohan, the introduction of NFTs will enable content creators to build more meaningful relationships with fans and “collaborate on new projects and make money in ways not previously possible“. Also, creators will be able to sell content as NFTs to give fans verifiable ownership of rare or limited edition videos, art, and experiences. 

Blog - YouTube NFT

YouTube came from somewhat humble beginnings as a medium for uploading and sharing videos. However, the platform has gone on to shape the video streaming landscape. Furthermore, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced in a letter to its community that the YouTube NFT offering could coincide with further Web3 integrations. For example, the platform could also introduce a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) model along with crypto payments for premium content.

Moreover, YouTube is the latest in a string of prominent social media platforms to announce NFT integrations. For example, Twitter enables users to create NFT profile pictures. Also, Meta (formerly Facebook) is rumored to develop an NFT offering along with an NFT marketplace for the Facebook and Instagram platforms.

Benefits of a Youtube NFT

The introduction of enabling a YouTube NFT for innovators could bring many advantages for both content creators and their audiences. For example, creators can use NFTs to bundle several types of content. Also, they could include rare artwork or fan engagement experiences. Additionally, it could help create new tier systems for content and encourage mainstream crypto adoption. If this were to happen, it would likely be a green flag for other platforms to adopt Web3.

Furthermore, if this YouTube NFT initiative is successful, it may encourage the development of application-specific NFT standards for social media and content streaming services. In the future, we may see new token standards, NFT marketplaces, and decentralized applications (dapps) created specifically for YouTube content.

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Problems with NFTs

Despite the many benefits of NFTs, there are some potential issues to consider and hurdles to overcome that could hinder NFT adoption. For example, while NFTs facilitate verifiable digital ownership records, they do not address copyright, piracy, theft, or the legal ownership of any underlying assets. Also, NFTs are not always stored on decentralized databases. Some NFT creators only store the web address of an NFT’s location on-chain, while the actual file itself is stored on a centralized server. When this happens, NFTs are susceptible to manipulation. Plus, the database owner can delete the NFT regardless of how much it costs.

Furthermore, decentralization is by any means not a guarantee, even when using an NFT marketplace such as OpenSea. Just like a centralized crypto exchange, OpenSea holds the private keys for NFTs on the platform. Even though OpenSea uses decentralized file storage, it could freeze or censor NFTs and the underlying assets they represent.

Moreover, the laws around NFTs and copyright issues are unclear. In the future, NFTs could present copyright infringement issues that put users, creators, and marketplaces at risk. Additionally, NFTs present security and onboarding challenges for new users. Anyone who buys an NFT must learn how to use a blockchain wallet and interact with smart contracts to avoid losing their assets.

Though these challenges may seem daunting, NFTs are still in the very early stages of their development. As such, these issues may be easy to resolve once the correct framework is in place. As the industry continues to grow, we can expect to see many of these problems ironed out.

YouTube NFT – A Big Win for Web3

The YouTube NFT offering has the potential to revolutionize the number one streaming platform for fans and creators alike. However, the integration is also a huge positive for the Web3 industry. As one of the leading Web2 platforms of the last two decades, YouTube is uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between Web2 and Web3. Also, it has the potential to promote interoperability and streamline the NFT integration process for other technology platforms. Plus, it could expedite the development of new technologies and foster innovation on an unprecedented scale.

Furthermore, if the YouTube NFT integration is successful, it could help to legitimize blockchain technology and encourage other platforms to adopt it. A successful YouTube NFT integration could help to facilitate more collaboration between NFT artists, developers, and content creators. The coming together of entertainment and NFTs is already a multi-billion dollar industry. Many analysts and onlookers agree that YouTube is replacing the television in many homes. As such, this NFT integration could help NFTs to become an essential marketing tool for this generation’s biggest stars.

YouTube Integrates NFTs: What it Means for Content Creators – Summary 

As the number one video streaming platform, YouTube has the power to shape the future of the NFT-video market. Few other companies or platforms have the ability to speak to so many users. As such, YouTube is encouraging the widespread adoption of Web3 technologies by providing verifiable records of content ownership on the blockchain. Furthermore, the YouTube NFT initiative will provide content creators with new monetization opportunities. It will allow creators to bundle bonus perks and additional content with their videos. Also, the YouTube NFT tool will create new audience engagement opportunities and create new markets for video content.

Moreover, some of the most popular YouTube videos of all time are making their way into NFT auctions. The viral “Charlie Bit Me” has been tokenized as an NFT and sold at auction for $761,000. Also, the “David After Dentist” video sold for $11,000 as an NFT. However, these NFTs sales were not affiliated with YouTube. Nonetheless, now that YouTube is on board the NFT train, we can expect to see further adoption of blockchain and Web3 technologies.

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