Twitter owner Elon Musk is pushing ahead with plans to integrate a payment system into the platform, but encryption, while on the vision board, is not an immediate priority. The tech mogul asked the company’s developers to design the payments architecture “so that cryptographic functionality can potentially be added at a later date,” according to the Financial Times.
The news is bittersweet for cryptocurrency fans who were hoping that Musk, their most visible cryptocurrency champion, would make a final decision on a crypto role on the social media platform soon after taking it over.
Musk has long played with all sorts of crypto integration ideas in the platform, from a blockchain-based Twitter to blue Twitter subscriptions based on Dogecoin. The self-described impulsive CEO admitted that “Twitter blockchain is not possible,” while Dogecoin-based subscriptions seem shelved for now.
Twitter to embed payments
Musk’s move to incorporate payments into Twitter is just part of his big idea to make Twitter an “all” app called X. The head of Twitter, SpaceX and Tesla first outlined this vision in November, not long after acquiring the platform.
In a Twitter Spaces livestream to appease uncomfortable advertisers, Musk described, among other proposals, how users would have their bank accounts and debit cards linked to the site. “The next step would be to offer an extremely convincing money market account to get an extremely high return on your balance,” he said enthusiastically.
As Twitter employees informed in June, the (sometimes) richest man in the world envisions Twitter as a one-stop shop app similar to WeChat, an ultra-popular China-based company used by hundreds of millions of people as social media, news, ride-hailing, food delivery, and payment apps all at once.
Now, Twitter is hitting the ground by running with what seemed like Musk’s off-the-cuff ideas. At least with payments.
The Financial Times writes that staff are already creating a vault to store and protect user data. They are also filing state licenses, after which the company will try to go international.
In early November, Twitter submitted documents to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) as a first step in offering payment services.
What about cryptocurrencies?
While all is well and dandy with this development, cryptocurrency enthusiasts want to see their favorite form of currency take on a major role on Twitter.
crypto community was among the most euphoric when it became apparent that Tesla’s boss was going to buy the social media site. “You have the richest man in the world, somehow, who legitimizes some of our concepts and ideas, and it’s going to be a fantastic onboarding platform,” Crypto 101 podcast host Bryce Paul told The New York Times.
Cryptocurrency exchange Binance contributed $500 million to Musk’s Twitter acquisition. Its CEO Changpeng Zhao, aka CZ, told CNBC that the goal was to “make sure cryptocurrencies have a seat at the table when it comes to free speech.”
In short, many have high hopes for crypto payments on Twitter. And following Musk’s well-known enthusiasm for technology and recent development, it’s not far-fetched to believe they’ll get their desire.
But that doesn’t mean it will be easy.
US regulators are usually keen to eliminate anything they perceive as shady activity in crypto operations. Twitter would have to jump through many regulatory hoops to integrate cryptocurrencies, and even after doing so, it would constantly live under the microscope of the SEC, FINCEN, the Justice Department, and other oversight agencies.
Therefore, while cryptocurrency fans want to see Twitter’s crypto integration, it’s helpful to recognize that it may not be that simple.
But if Twitter’s crypto payments become a thing, it would be a significant boost in digital assets’ march toward widespread recognition. The community welcomes Musk’s signaled support for the move.
Twitter’s long relationship with Crypto
That said, even though Twitter is now under new guard, it seems negligent not to mention the social media company’s long-standing lovable nature towards cryptocurrencies. The platform’s co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey – himself an avowed supporter of Bitcoin – used the platform to highlight the pioneering cryptocurrency.
One such move was to enable a Bitcoin emoji on the social media site. All a user has to do is type #bitcoin or #btc and the Bitcoin symbol will appear next to it.
This may seem insignificant, but it’s huge. For example, it created such excitement that user engagement for “Bitcoin” went off the charts at that time.
Twitter’s Bitcoin emoji move may have been spurred by Bitcoin podcaster Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano, who tweeted in 2019: “Twitter needs a Bitcoin emoji” and urged followers to retweet the message. He must have understood that emojis were more of a lighthearted way to chat on, say, WhatsApp.
Other pro-crypto moves by Twitter were:
- The ability to receive tips in BTC or ETH
- The ability to search for Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) prices by simply entering their names or tickers on the Twitter search bar and pressing the search (Musk retweeted the announcement)
- The ability for NFT owners to show their picture on Twitter profiles with a verification mechanism (read anti-right click) for starting. A recent update for this feature is the NFT Tweet Tiles
Following Musk’s affinity for encryption, it’s safe to think that Twitter will continue to deliver revolutionary financial technology with him at the helm.
The latest news from Twitter about crypto integration isn’t exactly what the cryptoverse wanted to hear, but it’s better than nothing.
With the current environment of crypto supervision far from friendly, it would take a lot of work before crypto payments launch on Twitter. But if Elon Musk is behind the wheel of this ship, crypto believers can be sure that it is a matter of when, and not if, that will happen. Let’s hope it’s not too far from the horizon.