It’s been a tough year for crypto-enthusiasts, who saw their net worth plummet during the spring and summer sell off. But Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has them smiling once again.
In a recent tweet, Mr Musk said he didn’t buy the firm “to make more money. I did it to try to help humanity, whom I love”.
In Elon Musk and his promises to bring “free speech” to Twitter, crypto’s libertarian-leaning leaders see a kindred spirit. And in Musk’s on-again-off-again enthusiasm for crypto (including his love of Bitcoin and meme token, Dogecoin), some see glimmers of hope that Twitter will build crypto payments features or incorporate other ‘Web3’ elements.
“I think Elon is awesome and we are so lucky to have him on our planet,” venture capitalist and Bitcoin investor Tim Draper wrote to Forbes in an email. (Draper fell out of the billionaire ranks earlier this year as Bitcoin prices tumbled). “I believe he wants to save the planet with Tesla, make sure we can get off it with SpaceX, and now allow everyone free speech with Twitter, and he does it all profitably, so he can do it successfully. I hope he lives forever.”
Another one of Musk’s other biggest cheerleaders is Changpeng Zhao, founder and CEO of Binance. The crypto exchange invested $500 million this month to help Musk take Twitter private, at a wildly high $44 billion valuation (which Musk agreed to, in part, because he saw an opportunity to make a we*d joke).
“Twitter is a free speech platform, which is global [and] very important,” CZ, as he’s known, told CNBC earlier this week. “We want to support strong entrepreneurs; Elon Musk is a very strong entrepreneur.”
CZ, who Forbes estimates is worth $17.4 billion, has other reasons for supporting Musk’s takeover of Twitter. “We want to make sure crypto has a seat at the table for free speech,” CZ told CNBC. “We want to help bring Twitter into Web3 when they’re ready.”
Big Checks – Big Wins
According to Owen Lau, an equity analyst at Oppenheimer & Co., Binance’s investment gives CZ a headstart on influencing Twitter’s future crypto forays. “CZ definitely has an advantage here,” says Lau. “Who [else] can write a $500 million check?”
CZ did not get into the specifics of how Binance (who faces numerous probes from various U.S. authorities over allegations of enabling money laundering and other financial crimes), plans to work with Twitter. CZ and Binance could not be reached for comment.
Brian Armstrong, the billionaire co-founder and CEO of Coinbase, is another fan of Musk’s vision.
“Elon buying twitter is a great win for free speech, and probably changes the trajectory of the world more than most people realize,” Armstrong tweeted in April, when the deal was first announced.
“Twitter is upstream of media and culture in many ways, and it was trending in a very dangerous direction on censorship,” added Armstrong (who famously banned political discussion at his company in 2020).
It doesn’t appear Armstrong has changed his mind in recent months. “Nothing to add beyond Brian’s tweets,” a Coinbase spokesperson wrote to Forbes when asked for an update on Armstrong’s opinion. Armstrong has not issued any statements since Musk took over Twitter.
More emboldened are Bitcoin billionaires Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.
Cameron slammed those companies that have already pulled advertising dollars from Twitter due to Musk’s takeover, and said that Musk “plans to cure” the platform’s ills, such as its “politically-motivated censorship”.
His brother also took a swipe at those complaining about Musk’s plans to charge $8 per month for a blue check, saying that the previous cost of getting a blue check was by becoming “drinking buddies with someone who went on to work at Twitter and who you could call on for a favor.”
Michael Saylor, Bitcoin investor and founder of MicroStrategy, a software company that also holds 130,000 Bitcoins on its balance sheet, also endorsed Musk’s blue check fee, tweeting, “If you don’t pay for the product, you are the product.” Saylor also tweeted an image of Musk freeing the blue Twitter bird from a cage, which has been reshared over 7,000 times.
Big Twitter Changes
When Elon Musk announced his plans to buy Twitter earlier in the year, many regarded the decision with some amusement. Despite being one of the wealthiest people on the planet and something of a futurist (his long talk of space travel is well-known), Musk has cultivated an online reputation for being both sardonic, offbeat and ingrained in popular culture, reviewing memes during the COVID-19 lockdown period and being a fan of Dogecoin.
However, his purchase of Twitter, while possibly not what he wanted to do after all, has been a major change for the company as Musk has hit the ground running. Some of his big decisions include terminating half the board, wiping out half of the staff the company employs, discussing reversing permanent bans for controversial figures, and finally suggesting a paid verification service for users.
Crypto Wallet Plan On Hold
As interesting as it has been watching Elon make such radical changes, the one thing that has yet to emerge is a serious update on the proposed crypto wallet that was teased to be implemented. Recent reports have simply suggested that it is “on hold”.
It’s difficult to tell exactly what that means with Musk. He is known for being something of an enigma – either a genius well ahead of his time or a man simply in search of a laugh and a spaceship – but the fact remains that his plans to implement a proper crypto wallet remain in dry dock for the time being.
Understandably, this isn’t the best news for the cryptocurrency community but at the same time, it is not entirely unexpected. There was always going to be a degree of confusion and misunderstanding when it came to shifting an entity like Twitter from one party to the other. Considering the massive changes already made by Musk as simply part of getting a new operational standard going, it’s fair to say that anything is fair game.
We at Bitcoin Bible would welcome the addition of a proper cryptocurrency across the platform as a means of tipping accounts or simply paying for services. This kind of extra functionality would be good for the community, and it would be nice to see it come off. Naturally, we realise that this could take some time and as an idea, is probably lower down on the list of priorities for what Musk intends to do with his new platform, but we also can’t wait to see what happens.