When I first got my Silver Play Button for
passing 100,000 subscribers, my first thought
was is this real silver?
Is the Gold Play Button real gold?
If only I knew someone who was willing to
destroy their Play Buttons.
[Dan] I can help you with that.
[Zack] So Dan is from the YouTube channel
And Dan, what in the world drove you to destroy
[Dan] It was a tough decision but that’s
what we do, we cut stuff open for our channel.
So when we got the Silver Play Button we thought
that would be a really funny thing if we cut
it in half and then hung it back up and it
actually signifies our channel pretty well.
But then after we did that and we marched
onto a million subscribers, I was a little
nervous to do it but we took it on our trip
around the world.
So it was a fun trip and we cut it open in
Casey Neistat’s office so it was worth it,
but honestly it was a little sad cutting it
[Zack] Where did you take this again?
[Dan] So we took this thing to China, Japan,
Guam, Australia, Dubai, the Netherlands, Ireland,
England, Paris, New York, Austin Texas…just
with this button, like 11 pounds in my backpack
the entire time.
[Zack] Well I know one place this button hasn’t
been and that’s inside of this electron
What do you say we toss it in here and see
what it’s actually made of.
[Dan] It’s funny cuz my thing’s been cut
in half so you’d think that I’d be okay
with it, but just as long as it doesn’t
turn it purple or like blue or something I’m
good with it!
[Zack] I can’t promise anything, but let’s
[Zack] So here’s the back of the Play Button.
This is the gold one and it looks like there’s
just a series of Phillips head screws all
along the back and the back is made of wood.
And then we got a wood panel right here and
then a metal plate on the outside.
This back panel comes off.
[Dan] That’s it.
Now you’ve got these 4 screws right there.
But you want to take…oh there’s even more…sorry!
There are more screws.
[Zack] Well, we got a screwdriver, let’s
[Dan] Okay lift it up and then hold onto the
back so it doesn’t fall out but because
right now we’ve just got the glass on this
side, but basically you just have to take
this panel off.
[Zack] Oh boy.
[Dan] There you go.
Now you got it.
Hold the frame.
[Zack] We’re getting closer.
[Dan] Gold Button right there.
It’s super dirty.
I don’t think I even washed it before I
put it back in.
Look at all the fingerprints on it.
[Zack] There it is.
This thing is so heavy.
[Dan] Look how dirty it is.
[Zack] Looks like you cut it right along that
screw line there.
Alright so here, this is the electron microscope…part
of this microscope.
You can see the electron beams come out of
that little silver thing right there.
And then what tells us the makeup of the actual
item inside is this part right here.
And this is the energy dispersive x-ray spectrometry
gizmo and that tells us what the Play Button
is actually made up of.
Let’s put it in here.
And we are good to go.
Alright Dan, your Play Button is now inside
of the machine.
How do you feel?
[Dan] There’s no turning back.
This is legit here.
I’m a little nervous.
[Zack] Inside of this machine there’s a
vacuum and it sucking all of the air out because
an electron microscope can’t work in normal
There needs to be zero air for it to function.
And this is a live feed of different cameras
inside of the machine.
So this is top down.
You can see kind of the arrow of the Play
This is a side profile.
And this is a zoomed in shot of the Play Button
And then on this screen we have a readout
of what actually the Play Button is made up
So we have this nickel right here and we also
have a little bit of gold.
There’s a huge chunk of nickel and then
we have the gold right below that at 15 percent
and then we have the zinc and the copper.
And the zinc and the copper is kind of making
up like a brass alloy, but on the surface
most of it is the nickel and the gold.
You can see here that it’s evenly dispersed
across the button.
All of the nickel and the gold are mixed together.
We’re done testing the top part of it.
We just barely pulled it out of the machine
and I’m a little bit surprised that it’s
not…I didn’t see as much gold as I thought
there would be because right here…show them
on the bottom there.
[Dan] It says 24 karat gold plated if you
can see it just right there.
And 24 karat gold is known as pure gold, 100
percent gold or 99.9 percent gold.
[Zack] So let’s flip it over, we’ll stick
the back in there and see if it’s “plated”
on the back.
[Dan] The back’s not as shiny.
You can see it on there, it’s just…I don’t
know, it’s just not as shiny.
Check the front out.
It’s shiny, it’s glossy.
The back just has these scratches on it and
it’s flat…so I think we might be onto
Oh and look at this.
You can see the shine comes around the edge
right here but then it’s not on this part…so…
Let’s find out.
So right now inside of the machine we have
the back of the Gold Play Button here and
this is the zoomed in portion of that button.
And if we go over here to the graph of the
composition we still see the nickel and here
we have the gold.
And it’s actually a larger percentage of
gold on the back of the button than we saw
on the front of the button which is very interesting.
The machine…we’re getting like a lot of
readings inside of it.
We’re getting nickel, we’re getting gold,
we’re getting copper, we’re getting one
other thing and we’re trying to decide like
whether it’s just on the exterior or the
The only problem with that is that the button
is too big for the machine.
So there’s no way to get a reading of this
cross section inside of that thing.
So I’m going to try to shave a little bit
of it off and see if we can get enough of
a sample to make it work.
So I just took a small fragment from that
little screw hole there and we’re putting
it on this tape right here so that it will
go on the machine.
That particular fragment is from the center
of the Gold Play Button right here so we’ll
be able to see what’s inside of the button
instead of just on the surface.
There’s that itty bitty sample inside of
the big machine and we are ready to go.
Here’s the side profile of it and we got
the beam coming down from the top, sample
is here, this is the super zoomed in electron
microscope image of it so you can see all
of the detail.
If we come over here to this monitor it’s
got the center, so the inside of the Gold
Play Button is copper and zinc and there’s
actually no gold on the inside so we know
that’s all part of the coating.
The two most common elements on the surface
of the Play Button, nickel and gold, are not
inside of the button.
So now we’re going to check and see what
the Silver Button is made of.
Inside of the machine it goes.
So with the Silver Play Button inside of the
machine you can see right here is the top
down view…here we have the side cross section,
and this is the magnified image of the Play
And over here we have this reading which is
actually 100 percent nickel on the surface
of that Play Button.
So it might be something a little bit different
underneath the surface, but the surface is
100 percent nickel.
So we zoomed in a little bit on a scratch
on the Silver Play Button and if we look over
here it actually has some copper inside of
it as well.
So if we jump down here the copper is 6.3
percent and the nickel is 93.
So the nickel is definitely 100 percent the
surface of the Silver Play Button, but it
looks like it’s alloy underneath with a
little bit of copper added to it.
So I was a little bit surprised that there
wasn’t as much gold as I thought there was
going to be.
[Dan] I mean to YouTube’s credit, 24 karat
does rub off easily and we traveled to probably
6 different continents with it.
So some of it could have rubbed off.
[Zack] That’s true cuz it was in like your
pocket and your backpack and everything like
And also on the front of the button where
it’s all smooth and glossy there was 15
percent gold and like 85 percent nickel.
But on the back of the button where there
was those ridges it was actually more gold.
And I think that’s because it wouldn’t
rub off as easily.
I mean we did do the part, which I liked,
where we took off that small spec that shouldn’t
have been 24 karat gold plated.
And you got to give YouTube credit because
they could easily send these things out because
the metal that they send looks like gold already,
but they actually plated these Gold Play Buttons
because we saw it on the front, the back and
we didn’t see it in the middle.
So it’s on there.
[Zack] It’s real gold.
The Gold Play Button is gold, which is cool.
One other variable that we haven’t really
thought about as well is that the electron
microscope, when it looks at the surface of
something it’s actually penetrating the
surface just a little bit.
So that also might be why there’s some variance
between the gold and the nickel on the Gold
So I think it would be really interesting
to see actually how these things are made
and what the process is for getting the gold
Can you imagine like going into a building
where they make these things and you just
have like a pile of like hundreds of Gold
[Zack] That would be so cool!
[Dan] That would be pretty fun to see.
[Zack] I would just grab one before I hit
a million subscribers.
[Dan] I would just try to find the Diamond
Play Buttons and take that home so I could
cut it open.
[Zack] We’ll get it early.
[Dan] And if you take a look back here, we
have both the Gold Play Button and the Silver
Zack just stuffed the Silver Play Button here.
He has no respect for it.
In fact take a look at it.
He put it in backwards!
You see that?!
It’s a rewind button now!
[Zack] That’s what happens.
And speaking of the Silver Play Button, it’s
not actually silver.
And there was no silver inside of it.
Which, you know, it’s fine.
It’s not plated in silver or anything.
The exterior was pure nickel and the inside
was a nickel – copper blend.
[Dan] We got this in May of 2016 before we
took our trip around the world with it.
And what I’ve seen is that the buttons that
are coming out now are a little bit different.
So they’ve changed the Gold Play Button
a little so Zack’s going to get it soon.
You guys are helping him.
He is on the way.
You’ve gained like 300,000 subscribers in
the last couple of months.
[Zack] It’s been a lot.
[Dan] It’s going to come soon enough and
as soon as you get yours I want to test that
one out and see if it’s the same 24 karat
YouTube’s probably watching this right now
and they’re like uh oh, when we send Zack
his let’s put a little bit more gold on
[Zack] I’m fine with that.
Give me as much gold as you want!
If you want to see how well traveled this
Gold Play Button is and where some of the
gold might have rubbed off, go ahead and click
this video right here and it will take you
to Dan’s channel where he actually cut it
open with Casey Neistat.
[Dan] It was a once in a lifetime experience.
[Zack] Pretty cool.
[Dan] It was great.
And so I’m excited, as soon as you get yours
let us know if you want us to cut it open.
[Zack] I think I’m going to keep mine in
the frame and I’m going to keep it facing
the right direction.
[Dan] Alright if you change your mind…
[Zack] We’ll see.
Okay, thanks a ton for watching.
I’ll see you around!
[Dan] See you guys!