As Elon Musk celebrates one year of owning Twitter/X, he’s outlining plans for its future to staffers, including aspirations to be the epicenter of people’s financial world.
In a call with workers Thursday, which The Verge obtained a recording of, Musk outlined his vision for the site’s financial integration, saying he expected the feature to launch by the end of 2024.
“When I say payments, I actually mean someone’s entire financial life,” Musk reportedly said. “If it involves money. It’ll be on our platform. Money or securities or whatever. So, it’s not just like send $20 to my friend. I’m talking about, like, you won’t need a bank account.”
It’s familiar territory, in a sense, for Musk, who cofounded PayPal and has been disappointed with Ebay’s handling of the company since its sale. He never gave up the dream of building a global payments platform and has been vocal about his aspirations for Twitter/X. Musk’s run-ins with the “PayPal Mafia” were reported by Fortune all the way back in 2007.
“I think there’s potential to create a more efficient financial system,” Musk said in a CNBC interview earlier this year, adding it would be “poetic to fulfill ultimately the vision that I had for X over 23 years ago, and actually see that come to fruition.”
The company has applied for federal and state regulatory licenses and has been granted them from Michigan, Missouri, and New Hampshire.
Those licenses, which allow companies to receive and transfer funds, are an important first step for Twitter/X’s financial ambitions. To operate across the United States, and between states, however, Twitter will need to receive an individual license from each state, although there is a system that allows companies to apply across multiple states at once.
Twitter will reportedly focus on fiat payment tools initially, although crypto could become a later priority. Musk has been a longtime cheerleader of memecoins, including Dogecoin. Some detractors, however, have argued that he has intentionally driven up that coin’s price. And in June 2022, a lawsuit was filed alleging he was engaged in a “crypto pyramid scheme.”
There are plenty of hurdles, though. Chief among those is whether Twitter has sufficient staff to build out the platform, especially in his accelerated time frame. (It’s hardly the first time Musk has pushed his workers to the breaking point for an arbitrary date.)
Any financial platform from the company would also face competition from PayPal and Venmo, which hold sizable positions in the market. And Musk’s own reputation could drive away some potential customers, much as his decisions at Twitter have reduced its user base.
Former employees have expressed skepticism about Musk’s plans for a financial platform in the past.
“There is a difference between having ambitions and a vision of the future you would like to see and a solid plan for how to achieve those things,” a former Twitter staffer with knowledge of the payments plan told Fortune in July. “My guess is Elon has traditionally relied on others to figure out the plan and execution. That’s not unusual for people who are futurists or visionaries.”
Despite the doubters, Musk expressed optimism about the project Thursday, telling workers, “It would blow my mind if we don’t have that rolled out by the end of next year.”
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