Elon Musk has big plans for the X app, formerly Twitter. In an all-hands call last week, Musk talked about new features aimed at making X your financial hub are expected to launch by the end of 2024. An audio recording of the meeting was obtained by The Verge.
“When I say payments, I actually mean someone’s entire financial life,” Musk said on the call. “If it involves money, it’ll be on our platform. Money or securities or whatever. So, it’s not just like send $20 to my friend. I’m talking about, like, you won’t need a bank account.”
Earlier this month, Musk tweeted that his purchase of Twitter is an “accelerant” to making X an “everything app.” In August, it was reported that X had acquired money or currency transmitter licenses in U.S. states like Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, and Maryland. The licenses allow X to offer money transfer and payment services for users like PayPal an Venmo.
Potentially revamping X with financial features would be a high-stakes operation, but Musk’s portfolio includes other massive endeavors like Tesla and SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service.
In 2022, The Verge obtained a transcript of another staff media where Musk described what giving the social media app a PayPal-style makeover would look like. Musk said ideally every verified Twitter user would have a monetary balance that they could “send anywhere in the system,” hence the need for money transfer licenses. If the balance stays positive, Musk aims for users to get a better interest rate than traditional banks. If the balance goes negative, the interest rate would be lower than at a bank.
“Then, in order to get money out of the system in parallel, we establish a high-yield money market account so that having a Twitter balance is the highest-yield thing that you can do,” Musk said on call last year. “So that if somebody has a checking account, a savings account, or some bank CDs and a money market account, and a credit card situation … This is very complex and expensive.”
Last year’s call also included talk about attaching debit cards to the social media account, a “small number of checks” for those who still use them, and potentially loaning.
It’s unclear how users will respond to the potential new features and how many people will use them over a bank account. It also remains to be seen what security measure would be put in place to protect users’ money, or if the funds will be insured in any capacity. For example, PayPal isn’t directly covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, FDIC, but the company places users funds in partner banks with FDIC insurance.