(TMU – Opinion) The media industry, which spends the most of its day on Twitter, has been fixated on Elon Musk’s intentions since he took over as CEO last week. Is he hoping to eventually rule the whole planet? (lol) The explanation is actually really mundane: it has everything to do with payments.
Of course, Musk is a member of the PayPal Gang, the group of people that created the massive payment network in the late ’90s and became billionaires as a result. Musk has always had a penchant for making payments. For a secret Twitter product he claims would have 104 million users by 2028, he revived the name of one of his early firms, X, a payments company, according to Fortune.
Prominent former Morgan Stanley banker turned stablecoin firm CEO Caitlin Long said she had no doubts that Musk is using Twitter to further his long-held aim to change the payments sector.
“He’s been trying to disintermediate ACH his whole career,” she said.
Musk’s Twitter move is seen by Long as the rebirth of Libra, an initiative that aimed to provide cryptocurrency wallets to Facebook’s more than 1 billion users. The proposal collapsed under the intense scrutiny of Congress, but according to Long, Twitter can thrive where Facebook failed since its payment foundation is the Bitcoin Lightning network, a largely decentralized system that doesn’t “have the same political baggage” as a project overseen by Mark Zuckerberg.
Looking at the individuals Musk has hired to assist him succeed with his Twitter acquisition provides more indication that this is a payments move. Changpeng Zhao, creator of Binance; David Sacks, another member of PayPal syndicate who is extensively interested in crypto; and Sriram Krishnan, an investor for a16z Crypto and the owner of an Ethereum address under his Twitter account, are all prominent figures in the cryptocurrency industry, according to Fortune.
Musk’s previous statements are more evidence that he intends to utilize his new acquisition as a means of settlement. Musk has forecast $1.2 billion in payment income for Twitter by 2028, according to an investment document acquired by the New York Times. This would allow him to fulfill his stated objective of making the company less reliant on advertisements.
In 1999, while Musk was at the helm of PayPal, the firm was poised to disrupt the payments industry thanks to a combination of technology innovation (the internet) and a risk-taking management team. As we examine the Twitter purchase a little closer, it is obvious that he has the same ambitions. Musk is a businessman after all.
Musk has already somewhat freed the Twitter algorithm as he promised to do, with people now reaching more of their own followers than they used to. It seems that as far as community standards go, that it is largely going to remain unchanged, but as Musk has already said, he seems committed to having the speech on Twitter be as free as possible within the confines of the law.
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