Elon Musk shares plans to turn Twitter into a bank, warns of grim financial situation

"I think there’s this transformative opportunity in payments"

Elon Musk has detailed plans to turn Twitter into a bank, while also warning the social network’s employees of the business’s apparently dire financial state.

According to The VergeMusk addressed Twitter’s employees directly yesterday, for the first time since his takeover of the company was completed on October 27. In a Q&A session that lasted just under an hour, he revealed an ambition to bring payment features to Twitter, arguing that sending a direct message and sending a payment are “basically the same thing.”

“I think there’s this transformative opportunity in payments. And payments really are just the exchange of information,” the businessman, who is also the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, said. “From an information standpoint, [there’s] not a huge difference between, say, just sending a direct message and sending a payment. They are basically the same thing. In principle, you can use a direct messaging stack for payments.”

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“And so that’s definitely a direction we’re going to go in, enabling people on Twitter to be able to send money anywhere in the world instantly and in real time. We just want to make it as useful as possible.”

Elon Musk
Elon Musk CREDIT: Scott Olson

If Twitter users are able to send money “anywhere in the system”, this could enable them to “tip” other users, which was trialled as far back as last year. It could also allow users to pay for paywalled content, an idea which has also been floated at the company recently, and content creators may be able to earn money from posting content on Twitter as they would on platforms like YouTube or TikTok.

According to The New York Times, Musk also warned employees that “the economic picture ahead is dire”, adding that the company was running a negative cash flow of several billion dollars. “Bankruptcy is not out of the question,” he reportedly added.

Last week, Twitter made nearly half of its employees redundant in a bid to drastically reduce costs. Taking to his Twitter account to defend the layoffs, Musk said that it was a necessary move when the network is losing $4 million a day. 

Many film and TV stars have announced their decisions to quit the site following Musk’s controversial takeover, which has led to a rapid increase in hateful posts on the platform. The use of the N-word, for example, increased by 500 per cent in a 12-hour period following Musk’s $44billion (£38billion) acquisition.

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