In recent months, Musk has thrown out many ideas about how crypto tokens and ideologies could be useful on Twitter, leading enthusiasts to believe he will help take their way of thinking mainstream.
But what can Musk actually do with cryptocurrency on the platform? The Post examined his many statements on the subject and then spoke with crypto regulators, watchdogs and content creators to assess both their feasibility and potential impact.
He wants to defeat crypto scams.
Musk said during a TED talk in Vancouver this year that he sees stopping crypto scams as extremely important.
“A top priority I would have is to eliminate the spam and scam bots and the bot armies that are on Twitter,” he said of the site. “If I had a dogecoin for every crypto scam I’ve seen, we’d have 100 billion dogecoin.” (Words for Twitter and Tesla did not respond request for comment from Musk.)
Of the more than $1 billion lost to crypto scams since the start of last year, watchdogs say a large portion has been lost through Twitter scams — some of which curiously involved impersonating Musk himself.
Musk has not yet announced what tools he will use to achieve his goal. But regulators who have tried hard to fix this problem don’t believe he can keep his promise, saying no technology can stop scammers from tweeting.
“I’m obviously skeptical,” Joe Rotunda, director of enforcement at the Texas Securities Board, told The Post in a text message. “If Mr. Musk is able to significantly curb crypto scams on Twitter, he will have accomplished something that many tech professionals consider impossible.”
He thinks dogecoin can be used for Twitter transactions.
Although dogecoin was designed in 2013 as a sarcastic comment on crypto, Musk worked with doge developers and thinks the token is “pretty cool.” When news first appeared that he might buy Twitter, he even suggested that a Blue premium subscription can be purchased in doge.
Dogecoin’s value has doubled since Musk began formalizing his purchase of Twitter, and after he tweeted a photo of the doge mascot breed Shiba Inu in a Twitter shirt.
Tech experts noted that the idea of bringing doge to Twitter is plausible, as its transactions can happen much faster than bitcoin, whose slow rate of transaction has hindered adoption. But it’s unclear what exactly Musk’s Twitter would sell. (The site currently allows “tips” in bitcoin.) And while dogecoin can process transactions faster than bitcoin, traditional forms of payment like Visa can process it hundreds of times faster than doge.
He wants looser content moderation, which could strengthen crypto voices.
Users on crypto-Twitter — the sections of the site where large numbers of people share tips and often troll each other — have long expressed the belief that the system could punish them. This is especially true with shadow bans, which is when the algorithm limits how many other users see their posts.
Musk and other leaders of the new Twitter say they will take a looser approach to content moderation. Musk told advertisers last week that his Twitter would be a place “where a wide variety of beliefs can be debated in a healthy way.” On Tuesday, Binance CEO and Musk ally Changpeng Zhao said that this promise has been extended to crypto.
“Twitter is a town square for crypto, and most of the world’s hot topics, so it’s a good place to support free speech,” he told Yahoo Finance Live.
While users on crypto Twitter noted that Musk has still to change content moderation policies, some crypto influencers say they see a difference. PlanB, a controversial bitcoin influencer, tweeted this week that his account seems to be gaining more visibility since Musk’s takeover.
“Elon said they didn’t change POLICY, but they sure did remove some MORTGAGES,” PlanB posted. “Read the hundreds of people commenting on my earlier tweet and who can see my tweets again after 9 months of nothing.”
In a message to The Post, PlanB said he thinks Twitter “just stopped showing my tweets to my own followers.”
He wants to run Twitter more like crypto.
A central tenet of the crypto world is that institutions can be run in a more decentralized manner, with a large community making collective decisions instead of a top-down executive structure. Both bitcoin and ethereum function more or less this way.
In text messages to Twitter founder Jack Dorsey earlier this year, Musk noted that he wanted to remake the platform into “something new that’s decentralized.”
Can it really happen?
Some in the crypto world believe it can. “There was mention of a management group full of diverse thinkers. This is a good first step,” Alanna Roazzi-Laforet, founder of Decrypt Studios and publisher of Decrypt Media, said in a message to The comments. “Next is … a government token and a plan to bring governance to the community,” she said, citing Krishnan as the figure who could push for it.
But critics are not convinced.
“Twitter is never going to be meaningfully governed” by a decentralized power, crypto-skeptic David Gerard told The Post in his own message. “Musk is the owner. I would be surprised if he ever allows anyone to have effective control. He’s Elon Musk!”
He could reverse Twitter’s pro-NFT stance.
You may have seen NFTs, the non-flippable tokens that watermark an image to one user, appear as Twitter profile pictures. That’s because Twitter policymakers allowed users to link their NFTs to their wallets in January.
Musk has been a public critic of NFTs, suggesting in a meme that they are all just a psychiatric patient’s hallucination. And Musk really don’t like the twitter policy. In January he tweeted: “Twitter is devoting engineering resources to this…while crypto scammers throw a spambot block party in every thread!?”
Musk may soon have to act on his beliefs: As he prepared to take over Twitter, the company’s developer account announced it will roll out a “tweet Tiles” feature that will facilitate NFT sales from the site.