NFT Entrepreneurs: Concerned About Meta? I’d Be More Worried About YouTube!
An NFT Entrepreneur Newsletter by Clyde F. Smith
Why Meta’s Metaverse Doesn’t Worry Me
I mentioned in passing in the last NFT Entrepreneur newsletter that I’m less concerned about what Meta ends up doing with NFTs than I used to be. And, to be clear, I do look at everything that a big company does from the perspective of how it affects indie artists and creators, startups and SMBs.
From that perspective, we’ve all seen FAANG’s roll over and squash startups. We’ve also seen Facebook become such a crucial marketing tool that many artists use it regularly despite some of them hating every minute of it.
The obvious play for Meta is to bring NFTs into Instagram so that they’re entering the space via an established and popular art and media platform. That move would initiate a learning process that would be invaluable because it would quickly be based on the experience of seeing how real people respond.
But Meta seems to want to build its own walled garden version of the Metaverse. If that’s where it’s heading, then it is working in opposition to where the metaverse trend is going. Every month that passes, their attempt at forking the metaverse concept will take them down the road that’s less traveled for a good reason.
Sorry about mixing those metaphors but it’s true!
Meta’s already put a huge amount into claiming as much of the metaverse as possible without actually owning any of it. Having those VR headsets is an incredibly strong piece of the puzzle but Meta is not Apple.
Whatever form Meta’s metaverse takes, its launch will be based on lots of lab testing and will come into the world as a complete product, without the benefit of the learning out in the real world that all other launched and soon-to-launch metaverse projects are now gaining.
The company has already spent $10 billion on metaverse-related expenses. It’s going to spend a lot more before its version of Second Life appears.
At that point, the clock starts ticking and Meta has a window of time in which its metaverse must be more successful than any then-current metaverse at a scale much greater than all other attempts combined.
No pressure there!
I’ll call it now: FAIL
YouTube and NFTs
Alphabet could become a serious contender in NFT Land via YouTube. But, for the moment, YouTube is showing interest more than action.
YouTube is clearly considering a lot of things involving the intersection of creators and Web3 so it’s possible NFTs won’t be a big part of the mix. However, given the growing interest from both creators and the film industry, I’d be very surprised if it didn’t find some way to integrate NFTs into its platform.
Also, right now, YouTube is moving from what I describe in writing about NFT stocks as the “We’ve Heard of NFTs!” stage to the “We’ve Got Big Plans” stage. And they’ve mostly done it off a handful of sentences.
In late January, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki discussed plans to support creators using Web3 tools “including things like NFTs.” This week, Neal Mohan, YouTube’s Chief Product Officer, stated:
“We believe new technologies like blockchain and NFTs can allow creators to build deeper relationships with their fans.”
At this point, YouTube’s committed to nothing specific. But, out of everything Web3 that it could apply to the creator paradigm, NFTs are the most likely addition. There are now so many ways to add NFT capabilities to platforms that it can get in pretty quickly if it chooses to make a move in that direction.
YouTube vs Meta
There’s a lot getting sorted out right now. Even which metaphor will rule. Will it all come under the umbrella of the Metaverse? Can it best be approached via Web3?
And what about Creators?
YouTube has consistently been at the heart of the web’s creator movements. It’s not always a friend but, given that the current concept of creator seems to default to videos and streams of charismatic talking heads, funny stunts and silly dances, YouTube is a natural fit.
And many of the creators that predated the creator movement, including musicians and artists in general, are also on there.
NFTs can fit right in. YouTube could cut a deal with a number of companies that could provide such a service and basically offer NFT sales to video creators. That would also allow them to move faster at a time when speed is of the essence.
Which brings us to another reason I’d be less concerned about Facebook and more concerned about YouTube. Meta, despite making huge acquisitions that enabled them to continue to dominate so much of the landscape, is full of people that believe everything they build in-house is better than anything they can acquire.
And it looks like Meta has chosen to take the in-house approach. This is another reason I think it’s likely they’ll create a metaverse that does not connect to the real network of worlds that will ultimately form a blockchain-enabled Metaverse.
YouTube is unlikely to take such an all-or-nothing, our way or the highway approach. They have a variety of options for integrating NFTs into their current platform. Given we’re already seeing ways to play videos in metaverse projects like Decentraland, YouTube could further support video streaming.
Note: In the bigger picture, I’m talking about Alphabet vs Meta. But YouTube seems the most likely public point of entry for NFTs with Google Cloud already active on the back end. Just as YouTube has a huge presence on the Web, so too can it have a huge presence across the Metaverse.
The NFT Creator
NFTs are a natural fit for the creator movement. They can be used by anybody from social media blowhards to artisans furthering their craft in locations around the world. That’s why I launched The NFT Creator column on NFTS.WTF.
This column shares ideas and insights for both beginning and experienced creators making NFTs. The two are such an obvious fit that I wanted to claim a place in that particular space.