Multiple reports today indicate that Elon Musk wants to incorporate payments as a service within Twitter.
The initial source of information was an article published in the FT today that indicated Musk would start with fiat currencies and perhaps add cryptocurrency in the future. Twitter is apparently seeking regulatory approval in various jurisdictions to pursue its ambition to become a social Fintech and digital wallet.
Actually, what Musk is attempting to create has already been completed in a big way. In China today, one of the largest payment providers is WeChat Pay.
WeChat is a huge messaging, calling, and social platform that serves hundreds of millions of users around the world every day. WeChat is one of the largest apps in the world, with over one billion monthly users. WeChat pay claims that it is accepted “almost everywhere” in China. It has emerged as a top digital wallet, accepting not just Chinese yuan but dollars and Euros as well as many other top fiat currencies. It also facilitates QR code payments, web based transactions as well as cross border transactions payed in CNY but settled in the local currency.
For Musk to add more utility for Twitter users, it needs to offer more and better services – beyond an instantaneous news fix accompanied by vitriol and occasional wit. Adding payments may be the correct path.
At the same time, providing payments is a first step into Fintech and the concept of Fintech everywhere (there when you need it). Users want fewer applications and providers, not more. Today, the top payment providers are Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo/PayPal, etc. Digital payments, along with digital wallets, have proved to be a popular service – so much so that the big banks scrambled to create Zelle unless they miss out on the future.
So while Twitter becoming a Fintech will not be easy, as it is late to the game – and struggling with a battalion of issues – it is not farfetched, and Musk may be the one person who can put it together.