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Musk Is Engineering a Return to Payments Via Twitter, Reports Say

Digital Transactions

Elon Musk helped found what became PayPal back at the turn of the century, and now it appears he is moving on an ambition he outlined months ago to add a payments feature to Twitter, the social-media platform he paid $44 billion to acquire in October.

The San Francisco-based company has begun working on software and applying for licenses across the United States to support the service, according to a story posted late Monday by The Financial Times, which cited two sources familiar with the initiative. Twitter could not be reached for comment.

The new platform would process familiar fiat transactions but would also be capable of handling cryptocurrency, according to the FT story, which cited two sources. Esther Crawford, director of product management at Twitter, is heading up the initiative, according to reports. Crawford came to the company in December 2020 when Twitter bought Squad, of which she was chief executive. Squad specialized in arranging screen sharing and group viewing of videos, according to Crawford’s LinkedIn profile.

Twitter expects the payments service to generate significant revenue, though not immediately and despite competition with established payments apps such as Apple Pay that have been in the market for years. While he was planning last spring to acquire the company, Musk presented estimates to investors indicating that a payments service intertwined with a social-media platform could take in roughly $1.3 billion in revenue annually by 2028, according to earlier reporting by The New York Times, though it isn’t clear what the fees would be and who would pay them.