Payment features have long been part of Elon Musk’s vision for X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, that he acquired in October 2022. However, according to Musk, bureaucracy and licensing requirements have delayed the rollout.
In a X “spaces” discussion on December 21 with investor Cathie Wood, Musk indicated he now expects X’s payments services to launch around mid-2024.
In a December 21 conversation with Cathie Wood of ARK Invest on X space, Elon Musk said he anticipates launching payment services on what was only recently called Twitter, although any developments are pending approval for several money transmitter licenses.
Integrating payments into the platform could significantly expand X’s capabilities and revenue streams. A welcome boost for a platform that has very publicly been struggling with advertisers.
As Musk attempts to transform X into an “everything app” along the lines of China’s WeChat, handling financial transactions seems a logical next step. Musk co-founded online bank and payments company X.com in 1999, a precursor to PayPal.
However, crypto enthusiasts hoping X payments would integrate Dogecoin (DOGE) or other cryptocurrencies Musk favors may be disappointed. When asked about digital assets, Musk said he “I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about cryptocurrency. Hardly any at all.”
This apparent shift in attitude dims the prospects for crypto becoming part of X’s initial payments rollout. Still, Tesla continues holding Bitcoin (BTC), and customers can purchase company merchandise with DOGE. Although, according to Tesla’s official website , customers are not as protected or promised the same refund policy as those who use fiat currency.
X has steadily acquired state money transmitter licenses throughout 2022 and 2023 needed to operate legal payment services. Though originally expected earlier, Musk now believes the remaining bureaucratic hurdles will clear to permit a full launch by mid-2024. He sees users eventually relying on X for “their entire financial life” beyond just payments.
Ambitious visions aside, formidable obstacles remain. X must complete licensing across all states, build a system secure enough for sensitive financial transactions, convince users to trust the platform with money management, and deliver an intuitive user experience. With Musk targeting a rollout in just 12-18 months, much work lies ahead for X engineers.
And users may not warm quickly to entrusting a recently unstable social media company with comprehensive financial powers. Continuing controversies around content moderation and account verifications could stoke doubts about X’s reliability and security among the masses Musk hopes will someday rely on it.
Still, Musk has repeatedly proven skeptics wrong. If any billionaire entrepreneur can will a payments transformation at a social media giant into existence on a short timeline, it may well be him.
Perhaps it should be no surprise that Musk wants to distance himself from cryptocurrency, given his numerous legal challenges. The South African billionaire is facing a proposed class action lawsuit by investors who say he manipulated the price of Dogecoin with his tweets and “publicity stunts”.
Musk’s semi-regular pronouncements on the memecoin were well-known to provoke significant price movements. Musk has previously called DOGE the “future of cryptocurrency” and his endorsement helped the cryptocurrency soar on his purchase of Twitter in 2022. Investors claim he deliberately used these price changes to profit from his Dogecoin investments, a claim he denies.