Elon Musk, the tech billionaire, sent shockwaves through the crypto community when he announced his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter on December 22, 2021. Musk has always been a vocal supporter of cryptocurrencies, particularly Bitcoin and Dogecoin, and has used Twitter to talk about them extensively. With his ownership of the platform, many are eagerly anticipating how he might integrate cryptocurrencies into Twitter.
So far, Twitter has already launched a "tipping" feature that allows creators on the platform to receive Bitcoin contributions through Lightning, a network for fast Bitcoin payments. In addition, Twitter Blue subscribers can flaunt their NFTs as hexagonal profile pictures.
But what will Elon do next?
One possibility is that Musk may introduce "Coins", according to a prominent reverse engineering expert, Jane Manchun Wong, which appears to be an extension of Twitter's existing tipping feature. The feature will allow transactions to be completed through Stripe, a payment platform that facilitates payments and other types of transactions globally. If implemented, this feature could increase the adoption of cryptocurrencies and make them more mainstream.
Tipping is a common practice on social media platforms, particularly on Twitter, where users often show their appreciation for a tweet by liking or retweeting it. By allowing users to tip each other with cryptocurrencies, Musk could potentially increase the adoption of cryptocurrencies and make them more mainstream.
Another possibility is that Musk may allow users to take part in digital asset trading directly on the platform. Currently, there are a few third-party services that allow Twitter users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, but they are not very widely used. By integrating digital asset trading directly into Twitter, Musk could make it much easier for people to buy and sell cryptocurrencies and could potentially attract a large number of new users to the platform.
Thirdly, there are rumours that Twitter is designing a payment system, which could later incorporate cryptocurrencies, although Elon wants it “first and foremost” to be for fiat currencies. In leaked text messages, Musk stated that he believes in a blockchain based social media app. In a text to his brother Kimbal on April 9, 2022: “I think a new social media company is needed that is based on a blockchain and includes payments".
Although it is unclear whether Musk's Twitter will prioritise crypto for payments, at least one of the Twitter deal's major backers is pushing for it. In an effort to assist Twitter in adopting Web3, crypto exchange Binance invested $500 million in the $44 billion acquisition. Changpeng "CZ" Zhao, CEO of Binance, has promoted his platform, Binance Pay, as an alternative for Twitter payments. Binance helped finance the buyout and the digital asset trading platform’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao, is moving forward as an advisor. That is in addition to Andreessen Horowitz general accomplice Sriram Krishnan, a known crypto lover.
If Twitter doesn't go down that route in the end—or doesn't do so soon—then perhaps Musk's supporters who are interested in crypto will switch to one of the many decentralised and crypto-friendly social media platforms that have been growing in popularity recently.
Given his love of Dogecoin, it seems almost certain that the most popular dog-meme coin will play a significant role in any upcoming Twitter crypto-payments integration.
Last week, Twitter changed its logo to a picture related to Dogecoin. The switch from Twitter bird to Dogecoin didn't come with much publicity or explanation, and it's starting to look less like a joke from late April Fool's Day and more like it might stick around. This on-site logo change comes at a time when Musk is being sued for $258 billion in a lawsuit that claims he ran a cryptocurrency-supporting pyramid scheme relating to Dogecoin.
What are the risks?
There are drawbacks to integrating cryptocurrencies into Twitter. For instance, permitting clients to tip each other with crypto could prompt spam and tricks, as certain clients might attempt to scam into sending them money. Additionally, if the value of cryptocurrencies fluctuates significantly, Twitter may be subject to legal and regulatory risks by allowing users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies directly on the platform. However, these dangers are not a bug but rather a feature of technological development and innovation.
To summarise, it is likely that Musk's ownership of Twitter will result in cryptocurrency-related platform modifications. However, it is unclear how exactly Musk will incorporate cryptocurrencies into Twitter and what the results will be for users and the cryptocurrency community as a whole. Tipping and payments involving Dogecoin seem to be the front runners, but Elon never fails to surprise us with his innovations…
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