Over the past few months, Musk has floated many ideas about how crypto tokens and ideologies could be useful on Twitter, leading enthusiasts to believe he would help them embrace their mainstream way of thinking.
But what can Musk actually do with cryptocurrency on the platform? The Post reviewed his many statements on the subject, 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 speaking at a TED Talk in Vancouver this year, he saw stopping crypto scams as extremely important.
“A top priority I would have is to weed out the spam and scam bots and bot armies that are on Twitter,” he said of the site. “If I had one dogecoin for every crypto scam I saw, we would have 100 billion dogecoin.” (Twitter and Tesla spokespersons did not respond to asks Musk for comment.)
Over a billion dollars lost to crypto scams since the beginning of last year, the watchdogs say much of it was lost via Twitter scams – some of them bizarrely involving impersonations of Musk himself.
Musk has yet to announce the tools he will use to achieve his goal. But the regulators who tried to solve this problem doesn’t think he can deliver on his promise, saying no technology can stop scammers from tweeting.
“I’m understandably skeptical,” Joe Rotunda, chief enforcement officer at the Texas Securities Board, said in a text message to The Post. “If Mr. Musk is able to significantly reduce crypto scams on Twitter, he will have accomplished something that many tech professionals consider impossible.”
He thinks dogecoin can be used for transactions on Twitter.
Although dogecoin was conceived in 2013 as a sarcastic commentary on cryptography, Musk has worked with doge developers and believes the token is “pretty cool.” When the news first surfaced that he could buy Twitter, he even suggested that a Blue premium subscription could be purchased in Doge.
Tech experts noted that the idea of bringing Doge to Twitter is plausible given that his transactions can happen much faster than bitcoin, whose slow transaction rate has inhibited adoption. But it’s unclear exactly what Musk’s Twitter would be selling. (The site currently does allow “tips” in bitcoin.) And although dogecoin can process transactions faster than bitcoin, traditional forms of payment like Visa can process them hundreds of times faster than doge.
He wants looser content moderation, which could increase crypto votes.
Crypto Twitter users — the parts of the site where large numbers of people share tips and, often, troll each other — have long expressed a belief that the system can punish them. This is especially true with phantom bans, which is when the algorithm limits the amount of posts other users see.
Musk and other leaders of the new Twitter say they will take a more flexible approach to content moderation. Musk tell advertisers last week that his Twitter would be a place “where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy way”. On Tuesday, Binance CEO and Musk ally Changpeng Zhao say that promise extended to cryptography.
“Twitter is a public place for crypto and most of the world’s hot topics, so it’s a great place to support free speech,” he told Yahoo Finance Live.
While crypto Twitter users noted that Musk had yet to change content moderation policies, some crypto influencers say they notice a difference. PlanB, a controversial bitcoin influencer, tweeted this week that his account appears to be gaining visibility since Musk’s takeover.
“Elon said they didn’t change the POLICIES, but surely removed some PROHIBITIONS,” PlanB said. “Read the hundreds of people commenting on my previous tweet who can see my tweets again after 9 months of nothing.”
In a message to The Post, PlanB said he thought Twitter “just stopped showing my tweets to my own followers.”
He wants to make Twitter work more like crypto.
A central tenet of the crypto world is that institutions can be run in a more decentralized way, with a large community making collective decisions instead of a top-down executive structure. Bitcoin and Ethereum work more or less this way.
In text messages to Twitter founder Jack Dorsey earlier this year, Musk noted that he would like to remake the platform into “something new that is decentralized”.
Could this actually happen?
Some in the crypto world believe it is possible. “There was talk of a governance group full of disparate thinkers. It’s a great first step,” said Alanna Roazzi-Laforet, founder of Decrypt Studios and publisher of Decrypt Media, in a message to The post office. “The next step is…a governance token and a blueprint to bring the power of governance to the community,” she said, citing Krishnan as the figure who could push for this.
But critics are not convinced.
“Twitter will never be meaningfully ruled” by a decentralized force, crypto-skeptic David Gerard said in his own post to The Post. “Musk is the owner. I would be surprised if he ever let anyone have effective control. It’s Elon Musk!
It could reverse Twitter’s pro-NFT stance.
You may have seen NFTs, the non-fungible tokens that watermark an image for a user, appear as Twitter profile pictures. Indeed, in January, Twitter makers authorized users to create a hyperlink between their NFTs and their wallets.
Musk has been a public critic of NFTs, insinuating in a meme that they’re all one psychiatric patient hallucination. And Musk really didn’t like Twitter’s policy. In January he tweeted: “Twitter is spending engineering resources on this…while crypto scammers throw a spambot block party in every thread!?”
Musk may soon have to act on his beliefs: As he prepares to take over Twitter, the company’s developer account announcement it would roll out a “tweet Tiles” feature that would facilitate off-site NFT sales.