Published: February 1st, 2023
Twitter’s long-mooted move into the payments space inched another step closer this week as CEO Elon Musk said his team of engineers was working on a payments product that will integrate crypto alongside fiat currencies.
After his comments appeared in the Wall Street Journal on Monday, 30th January, Musk’s favourite crypto Dogecoin saw a price spike from USD 0.08 to USD 0.09. Data from CoinGecko shows that DOGE has since settled back and was sitting at USD 0.085 at time of writing.
The meme-coin has been buoyed in the past by Musk and crypto-related announcements about his companies, posting gains whenever Musk’s star appears to be rising and losses when Musk (or his businesses) seem to be struggling.
Since acquiring the social media network after a long takeover battle last year, Musk has been looking at ways to re-design Twitter as a platform for social payments. He registered the company as a payments business in December 2022 and is a ‘Coins’ feature is now under development that could allow users to pay for added services with fiat currencies, then get virtual Coins in return.
The coins would allow users to send tips or awards to other users for their content, similar in theory to awards systems used by Reddit and OnlyFans. Users will be able to buy Twitter Coins using the Stripe online payment platform.
The Wall Street Journal said it's understood that crypto payments will come at a later date, once fiat payments have been successfully integrated.
Plans for crypto payments pre-date Musk’s interest in the social media network and have been in the dev pipeline for some time. Despite its crypto engineering lead departing when Musk arrived as CEO, Twitter now offers verification via NFT as one of the subscription benefits for its Twitter Blue programme.
Users can also use Bitcoin to tip creators they like using the Strike (not to be confused with Stripe) platform. Twitter users who enable the monetization feature can also share their BTC and ETH wallet addresses in order to receive tips.
Since Musk took over Twitter has done away with its PR team and appears to handle most non-financial communications mainly through tweets the platform.
With the Elon Musk’s latest crypto pronouncement, Dogecoin sees its fortunes tied to the Tesla billionaire’s business dealings again
DOGE has experienced a number of rallies since the social media network’s purchase by one of the world’s richest men, doubling in value for a brief period to nearly (USD) 15 cents on Monday 31st October. At time of writing the price had fallen back somewhat to USD 0.01418 cents, which according to CoinGecko still leaves it up 94% over the past seven days.
Musk’s outsized influence on DOGE’s price isn't a new phenomenon, but the coin burst out of the current crypto market doldrums to reach prices not seen since April of 2022. Musk hasn't spoken about Dogecoin since he completed his USD 44 billion purchase of Twitter, but he has been responding to tweets from Billy Markus, one of Dogecoins developers, regularly on the social network.
Since last week CoinGecko has tracked Dogecoin’s total value at around USD 15.8 billion, up from USD 8 billion and pushing it past the market cap of more ‘legitimate’ coins like Solana and Cardano. At time of writing it was the eighth largest crypto by market cap.
The coin has also seen heavy trading on the major cryptocurrency exchanges this week, with volumes of over USD 300 million conducted between Monday 31st October and Tuesday 1st November. On Coinbase DOGE is currently the third most traded coin, accounting for over 14 per cent of the exchange’s total trading volume.
Trades on Binance, trades between DOGE and stablecoin Tether amounted to USD 1.8 billion in the same period, totaling 10 per cent of the exchange’s total trading volume. Exchanges between DOGE and Binance’s own native token Binance USD, exceeded USD 900 million, or north of five per cent of the exchange’s total trading volume.
Despite the rapid price spike seen this week, Dogecoin is still down 83 per cent from the all-time high of 73 cents reached in April of 2021, coincidentally the very same day that Musk was guest host of Saturday Night Live, the hugely popular US comedy programme. After Musk’s appearance the coin plummeted by 35 per cent. During one of the show’s comedy segments, Musk referred to Dogecoin as ‘the future of currency,’ but in another he called it ‘a hustle.’
DOGE’s rise in popularity over the past 12-18 months is partly down to Musk’s multi-year attachment to the token. He’s referenced it many times on Twitter and even adopted it as a payment method for some Tesla products and services.
You can use DOGE to buy Tesla merchandise on the carmaker’s website, while Musk’s public transit firm The Boring Company will take the crypto as a form of payment on its Las Vegas Loop. In May, Musk also toyed with the idea of letting Twitter users pay in DOGE for its Twitter Blue premium subscription service.
DOGE’s price has moved in tandem with many of Musk’s crypto-related tweets over the past year or so. His frequent references to the coin have been credited with elevating DOGE to a top-ten ranking of cryptocurrencies by market cap.
The possibility of Musk taking control of the popular social media platform last year had crypto enthusiasts buzzing for months, with Dogecoin’s Marcus tweeting ‘Can Mr. Musk please purchase the SEC now?’ in a thinly-veiled criticism of the regulator’s foot dragging over approval for a Bitcoin spot exchange traded fund (ETF).
Musk’s purchase of the notoriously money-losing Twitter appears to be motivated by his convictions about free speech and censorship. In the aftermath of the Trump/Russia-gate political scandal, worries about COVID disinformation, and the banning or de-platforming of Russian ‘state affiliated media’ outlets following the invasion of Ukraine, there have been concerns that about abuse of Twitter as a medium for shaping US public opinion.