By now, you’ve probably heard that Twitter is rebranding itself simply to ‘X’.
Yup, Elon Musk — having bought the domain rights to ‘x.com’ long ago — has finally found a use for it. And according to his new plans for the social media site, he wants to make a new tech phenomenon.
But before I get into what Musk says we should look forward to, let’s first think about what he is losing.
After all, as troubled as Twitter’s story has been (even before Musk), it is a huge brand.
The fact that the term ‘tweet’ as a verb is recognised as an official word, for instance, is telling. Few companies are lucky enough to enjoy that kind of recognition.
Don’t forget the little blue bird either. Most people in the world could probably identify Twitter by that simple logo alone.
And yet, Musk is planning to throw all of this away.
All the years of brand building is, seemingly, going to go down the drain.
That’s a lot of goodwill and free publicity to give up for what looks like a simple name change. Most of the time, you’d expect this kind of rebranding following a crisis or major scandal.
So, why is Musk doing this?
The everything app
The reason we’re all going to be ‘xeeting’ instead of tweeting is because Musk wants Twitter to be about more than just words. In his grand vision, X should become an ‘everything app’:
‘The Twitter name made sense when it was just 140 character messages going back and forth — like birds tweeting — but now you can post almost anything, including several hours of video.
‘In the months to come, we will add comprehensive communications and the ability to conduct your entire financial world. The Twitter name does not make sense in that context, so we must bid adieu to the bird,’
As Musk clearly sees it, Twitter was about sharing short thoughts.
X is about sharing ideas, images, videos, audio, and soon even money…
This certainly isn’t the first time that payments have been flagged for use with Twitter. Jack Dorsey, the previous CEO and founder, was also keen to integrate money into the Twitter marketplace.
But saying it is one thing, doing it is another.
You can’t just add the ability for people to transact on a website and expect them to do it. There needs to be incentives, trust, and, of course, regulation.
This gets even tricker when you consider the fact that Musk wants to offer banking services. His ideal vision for X would include the ability to run savings accounts and offer credit or debit cards.
It’s wild to consider, but it could also be a huge push toward the web 3.0 dream that many have.
A digital future that could facilitate and encourage frequent transactions for all kinds of content.
Just imagine being able to make money by sharing a piece of art or commentary on Twitter. That is what may be in store for us if Musk’s plans come to fruition.
And if you’re looking for the conduit to make it happen, it has to be cryptocurrency…
The blockchain difference
The fact of the matter is that cryptocurrencies would be the perfect way to enable micropayments on X.
Let’s say, for example, it costs you 1 cent to view a specific video on X, perhaps a short update from a news source you know and love.
In our current digital economy, this sort of pricing isn’t really feasible. The fees charged by major payment processors make any pricing below around 5 cents extremely prohibitive.
It just doesn’t make sense to use this kind of pricing model even if you wanted to.
Crypto, though, thanks to the blockchain, makes it possible.
The way the technology works allows for relative fee pricing down to literal fractions of a cent. It could genuinely facilitate a payments platform that caters for these micropayments.
And if Musk does decide to go down this route, it would put crypto in front of millions of new users. An opportunity that would bring crypto into the mainstream limelight in a big way.
After all, we already know he is interested in crypto.
Dogecoin, the meme currency, became something of a plaything for him back in 2021 pandemic boom. Perhaps Musk can make it into something more than a meme with X. Or maybe he’ll turn to the more well-known cryptos like Bitcoin [BTC] or Ethereum [ETH].
Whatever token or coin he chooses isn’t all that important.
What matters is whether he chooses crypto at all…
For investors like yourself, it’s the kind of development that is worth watching too. Because if you’re looking for the catalyst that could propel crypto into a mainstream payment solution, this could be it.
Only time will tell if Musk’s gambit is a genius move or not.
But if you’re even remotely interested in cryptocurrency, it should have you at least a little excited.
Editor, Money Morning