I read that Elon Musk plans to develop a payments system on Twitter, which would take the social media platform into new territory. People have been saying he's in over his head already with Twitter, so a foray into payments could be risky. Assuming he can pull this off, despite his unrelated SpaceX and Tesla experience, how will it work, and do you think there will be opportunity for existing companies in the payments and fintech space?
Ruth Hobbs, Fintech Research Intern
We, at The Green Sheet, have read about Musk presenting his vision for a Twitter payments system during a recent live-streamed meeting with the company's advertisers. And The New York Times recently confirmed that Twitter also filed paperwork with the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which is a prerequisite for being able to facilitate money transfers, cash checks or exchange currency. Musk stated in the meeting that Twitter's revamped Twitter Blue subscription as well as planned support for a "creator ecosystem" are what could set the stage for a payment system on Twitter. Musk also mentioned the possibility of offering high-yield money market accounts that could encourage users to move cash to Twitter.
Musk does have experience in the payments space, having helped start the online bank X.com, which merged with online payment startup Confinity in 2000. Musk and his co-owners named the combined company PayPal and subsequently sold it to EBay, which spun it off as a separate enterprise in 2014.
We have no inside information on how a possible Twitter payments system would work, but based on what we've read about Musk, he keeps his eye out for investment and partnership opportunities. We wouldn't rule out his partnering with an innovative payments or fintech enterprise, whether established or startup, to help turn his vision into reality.
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