New YouTube CEO open to NFT, metaverse technology

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YouTube has appointed Neal Mohan as its new CEO, replacing Susan Wojcicki, who resigned on February 16. Mohan is a well-known Web3 technology advocate, and his arrival opens up new possibilities for Web3 integration on the platform.

Mohan has worked as chief product officer (CPO) at Youtube for more than seven years. He played an important part in launching some of YouTube’s most popular features, including Shorts, YouTube Music and YouTube Premium.

In 2022, Mohan wrote a YouTube blog post expressing the company’s interest in Web3 technology. He explained that Web3 technology, like blockchain and NFTs, gives “new opportunities for creators.”

His post gave examples of possible implementations, such as allowing creators to give fans NFTs of “verifiable” content like videos, art, photos, or experiences.

“We believe new technologies like blockchain and NFTs can allow creators to build deeper relationships with their fans. Together, they’ll be able to collaborate on new projects and make money in ways not previously possible,” Mohan wrote.

Mohan also briefly discussed the metaverse, seeing it as an opportunity to “make viewing more immersive.” While the technology is still in early development, he noted that the video game industry would likely see metaverse implementation sooner than other categories.

With Mohan at the helm of YouTube operations, many Web3 enthusiasts can expect the technology’s integration onto the platform very soon.

Google, Youtube’s parent company, has also shown keen interest in Web3. The search engine released a cloud-based node engine last year, designed for Ethereum developers and their projects. It has since expanded the engine to other blockchains like Solana.

Mohan’s experiences in tech

Mohan is an Indian-American Stanford University graduate with nearly two decades worth of experience in the tech industry. He worked for advertising company DoubleClick Inc. in various executive roles from 2001 to 2008 and helped set up the ground for the company’s Google acquisition.

Google later hired him as senior vice president of display and video ads, where he began expanding on his skillset in video platforms and advertising.

While he only started working at Youtube as CPO in 2015, he had worked with Wojcicki on many occasions.

At the time of Wojcicki’s resignation, she praised Mohan’s understanding of the platform, highlighting his “wonderful sense” for all the communities on YouTube, including its product, creators, businesses, employees and users.

“With all we’re doing across Shorts, streaming, and subscriptions, together with the promises of AI, YouTube’s most exciting opportunities are ahead, and Neal is the right person to lead us,” Wojcicki said.

YouTube’s struggles

Even though Mohan’s arrival opens up new doors for Web3 technology, he will also face many challenges.

From 2021 to 2022, the depreciating advertising business has led to YouTube’s revenue increasing by only 1.39 percent, despite their 46 percent year-on-year increase in 2021.

Google also laid off over 12,000 employees at the beginning of 2023, hinting at crucial restructuring that will inevitably affect its subsidiaries, including YouTube. Former head of kids and family content Craig Hunter was among those who were let go in the recent mass layoffs.

All of this cumulates to YouTube rebuilding its platform’s revenue for the new era while suffering from less workforce to pick up the pace. Wojcicki noted that she would remain an advisor in the short-term future, assisting Mohan as he settles into his new role.