According to sources, Twitter has quietly started to apply for regulatory licences across the US and is working on the necessary software architecture to deploy payments on the platform.
Twitter’s $5 billion-a-year advertising business has fallen heavily since he bought the platform for $44 billion in October, with marketers citing concerns over its management and content moderation.
Musk has been on record saying he wants Twitter to offer FinTech services such as P2P payments, savings accounts and debit cards, as part of a master plan to launch a super app that incorporates messaging, payments and commerce – these super apps are predominantly found only in Asia currently.
The payments team is forging ahead, including devising a vault for storing and protecting the user data that would be collected by the system. Twitter is also pushing forward with the regulatory checks needed before launching a payment service.
In November, Twitter registered with the US Treasury as a payments processor, according to a regulatory filing. It has now also begun to apply for some of the state licences it would need in order to launch.
The remainder will be filed shortly, in the hope that US licensing was completed within a year. Then the company will seek to expand to gain regulatory approvals internationally.
Twitter has also set up a subsidiary, Twitter Payments LLC, in August last year before Musk took over the company, but delivering the vision will require taking on new technological challenges, significant compliance burdens and winning consumer trust.
Prior to the takeover, Twitter had been exploring some payments features around tipping creators and e-commerce, Musk’s vision goes far beyond that, including exploring more ways for users to reward creators directly, for users to buy items directly through the platform and for users to pay one another.
Musk has said he wants the system to be fiat, first and foremost, but built so that crypto functionality could potentially be added at a later point.
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