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Elon Musk Wants to Challenge Apple

Elon Musk is a man in a hurry. 

He wants to move fast. 

The new boss and owner of the social network Twitter  (TWTR) – Get Free Report wants to imprint his mark on the platform, which cost him $44 billion. 

He had to go into debt of $13 billion with the banks to finance this acquisition, which was eventful at best. But now, the billionaire wants to find new sources of income to revive the microblogging website.

He launched a new version of the Twitter Blue subscription service, adding the blue authentication badge for the identity of the account owner, and almost doubling the price to $7.99. 

But that’s not all. 

Musk has never hidden that his ambition is to use Twitter to create a Mega app or an everything platform. An app where you can socialize, buy a plane ticket, go shopping or do your grocery shopping.

He has just taken a new step in this strategy. He wants Twitter to offer payment services, as a platform where users can shop, buy goods and be offered money market accounts.

Payment Services

This is what he told advertisers during a live-streaming meeting, which took place on Twitter Spaces on November 9. He was trying to reassure and seduce these advertisers, some of which like GM  (GM) – Get Free Report , Stellantis,  (STLA) – Get Free Report, Audi  (VLKAF) , General Mills  (GIS) – Get Free Report and Pfizer  (PFE) – Get Free Report, have currently suspended the promotion of their products and services on the social network in anticipation of what content management policy he will put in place.

In the broadcast, Musk explained that Twitter was counting on two pillars for this diversification into financial services. The firm will allow creators/influencers to monetize their content. These creators will, for example, be able to charge for certain videos.

Twitter’s plans for creators need to be “competitive with the alternatives” to entice them, the billionaire said, referring to other social media networks such as TikTok, Youtube Shorts and Instagram Reels.

“So there’s a kind of no-brainer move,” Musk said.

Twitter is working on a “Paywall Video” feature, the concept of which would be to allow creators/influencers to charge users who want to see a tweet accompanied by a video. Creators could, consequently, end up with cash balances by monetizing their contents.

The billionaire also believes that his new Twitter Blue subscription service, which integrates the paid option of account verification, is another opportunity which will allow him to become a kind of fintech, as the company will know that they have been verified by the “conventional payment system”, based on the fact that in order to subscribe, they have to pay with their credit or debit card.

Money Transfer + Savings Accounts

He said users could then send money to each other on the platform, by linking their account with their bank account, once they had a cash balance. Twitter could even entice users to move money around, by offering them a small cash award directly into their accounts to get them started.

“Now we can say like, OK, you’ve got a balance on your account, do you want to send money to someone else within Twitter?” Musk said. “And maybe we pre-populate their account with and say, OK, we’re gonna give you 10 bucks, and you can send it anywhere within Twitter.”

Users will also have the ability to transfer their money from Twitter to authenticated regular bank accounts.

These projects seem to be in an advanced stage, since the New York Times revealed on the same day that Musk and Twitter filed paperwork last week with the authorities to qualify to process payments. 

The request was filed with the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network or FinCEN. Companies that conduct money transfers, exchange currency or cash checks are required to register with FinCEN, and to report suspicious transactions to the agency. 

In the long term, Musk plans to offer the possibility to Twitter users to open bank accounts on the platform, and more particularly savings accounts. To achieve this, he wants Twitter to offer high interest rates to attract users and become a direct competitor of Apple  (AAPL) – Get Free Report, which recently launched the Savings Account for Apple credit card holders, in partnership with Goldman Sachs. He also wants to compete with PayPal  (PYPL) – Get Free Report and Venmo.

“The next step would be this offer for an extremely compelling money market account where you get an extremely high yield on your balance,” the billionaire said. 

This could then lead to Twitter offering “debit cards, checks and whatnot,” he said.

Musk has a wealth of experience in financial services. He co-founded X, a financial services company in 1999 in Palo Alto, Calif. X merged in 2000 with software company The merged company became PayPal.

“Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app,” the billionaire posted on Twitter on October 4.

He has hinted that his vision for Twitter was comparable to what he envisioned for X. His model is WeChat, the Chinese super app that offers multiple services. It mixes social media with payments, games, messaging, booking a flight ticket, ordering food, shopping etc.

“There’s no WeChat equivalent outside of China,” Musk told Twitter employees during an internal all-hands call on June 16. “You basically live on WeChat in China. If we can recreate that with Twitter, we’ll be a great success.”

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