In a surprising move, Elon Musk is steering Twitter, now rebranded as X, towards becoming an all-encompassing “everything app” with a proprietary payments system. This development follows the recent acquisition of additional money transmitter licenses in the U.S., signaling Musk’s ambitions to reshape X into a comprehensive platform that includes financial services.
Expansion of X’s Money Transmitter Licenses
In a notable progression, X secured three more money transmitter licenses in late November, extending its operational reach to the U.S. states of South Dakota, Kansas, and Wyoming. This brings the total count of states allowing X to engage in money transfers to 12. The earlier licenses were granted in states such as Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, all obtained this year.
Elon Musk confirmed these additions via a post on X, emphasizing the significance of the progress with a simple remark: “Progress.”
X’s Evolution into a Payments Platform
Musk has previously outlined his vision of transforming X into a payments platform. Users on X would have the capability to send money to each other within the platform and withdraw funds to authenticated bank accounts. The long-term vision includes the possibility of integrating a high-yield money market account to incentivize users to maintain their funds within X. This strategic move positions X in direct competition with established players like PayPal, a company Musk credits with co-founding through its merger with X.com.
Implications for Crypto Integration
While Musk’s plans for cryptocurrency integration remain uncertain, the acquisition of money transmitter licenses suggests X is positioning itself to support cryptocurrencies if Musk decides to venture into the crypto space.
Payments and the Creator Economy
The shift towards becoming an “everything app” is part of X’s broader strategy to tap into the creator economy. X users with a minimum of 500 followers and 5 million organic impressions on their posts over the past three months become eligible for revenue sharing through ads. This move aims to empower content creators on the platform and drive engagement.
Challenges Amidst Advertiser Exodus
X’s recent challenges include a significant advertiser exodus following Musk’s endorsement of an antisemitic post, coupled with reports of brands’ campaigns appearing alongside hate speech. Notable departures include Apple, Disney, IBM, Paramount, Warner Bros., Lionsgate, Comcast/NBCU, Walmart, and others. Even a deal with Paris Hilton’s 11:11 Media fell through, impacting X’s monetization plans and casting a shadow over its creator economy and payment ambitions.
The company is now redirecting its focus to small business advertisers and exploring additional revenue streams. Musk’s new AI, Grok, is set to be offered to X’s paid subscribers, presenting another avenue for generating income.
As X undergoes a transformative phase under Elon Musk’s guidance, the platform’s evolution into an “everything app” with a proprietary payment system brings about both opportunities and challenges. The success of this ambitious endeavor will hinge on X’s ability to navigate the turbulent waters of the advertising landscape while fostering a thriving creator economy. South African users will undoubtedly be watching closely as Musk’s vision for X unfolds in the dynamic world of social media and fintech.