Seven months ago, current Twitter owner Elon Musk said, prior to acquiring the social media giant, he would integrate cryptocurrency payments. According to sources, a team is working on the infrastructure for a payment platform, and Twitter is proceeding with regulatory approvals and registrations.
Elon Musk’s Plan for Twitter Payment System Advances, Adding Cryptocurrency Later
Elon Musk appears to be proceeding with plans to integrate a payment system into Twitter. According to sources cited by the Financial Times (FT), Elon’s lieutenant, Esther Crawford, is working on logistics and has formed a small team. Musk has previously stated his intention to create a payment system, and in mid-June 2022, the current Twitter owner mentioned the integration of cryptocurrencies.
“I think it would make sense to integrate payments into Twitter so that it’s easy to send money back and forth, and fiat currency as well as crypto — essentially, whatever somebody would find useful,” Musk detailed during the first all-hands meeting with Twitter’s staff.
Sources quoted by the FT on Jan. 30, 2023, say Twitter is also seeking regulatory registrations and state licenses. Those familiar with the subject said Twitter has started applying for financial licenses in several states. The FT publication also reports that Musk appointed Crawford to the position of CEO of Twitter Payments. According to the FT sources, the payment system will initially handle fiat currencies, with plans to add cryptocurrencies later.
Before Musk took over Twitter, former CEO Jack Dorsey introduced a beta crypto tipping service and NFT features in 2021. In April 2022, Twitter worked with payments giant Stripe on piloting crypto payments. In November 2022, Bitcoin.com News reported that Twitter registered with the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to legally process funds. During a Twitter Spaces audio podcast, Musk said he could see Twitter offering money market accounts and debit cards.
However, senior equity analyst and payments expert Lisa Ellis from Moffettnathanson LLC told the FT that firms face many regulatory hurdles when becoming a payment company, causing many to quit after initial attempts. “Many [tech companies] experiment and then give up,” Ellis said. “They find the long-term investment and risk, with potential fines for issues and the need for constantly licensed compliance infrastructure, to be a burden.”
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