Strip away the names, and see if it makes sense: The CEO of an electric car company buys a social media platform, and the price of a popular meme-coin jumps 25 percent. 

Depending on your Twitter intake, that either sounds like nonsense, or it makes perfect sense. 

Either way, it’s exactly what happened on Monday after Tesla CEO Elon Musk purchased Twitter for $44 billion. The price of Dogecoin popped, and the crypto community rejoiced. 

What do all these things have to do with each other? Quite a bit, actually. 

Musk has long been a champion of cryptocurrencies — pumping up the price of Dogecoin multiple times with tweets sent out to his 80 million followers — while Twitter in recent years has taken tentative steps to build bridges between its platform and the crypto universe. 

Musk’s publicly-stated plans for Twitter have so far mostly focused on reducing content moderation and getting rid of bots, but he’s also hinted (perhaps jokingly because you never know with Musk) that the Twitter Blue subscription service might accept Dogecoin as payment.  

Potential Crypto Crossovers

Now that the two have come together, should Twitter users expect more crypto crossovers? 

Crypto bulls certainly think so. Dan Roberts, editor-in-chief of pro-crypto news outlet Decrypt, told Cheddar that Twitter’s past attempts at crypto integration were “half-hearted” and limited by the fact that former CEO Jack Dorsey is a Bitcoin maximalist, which in crypto-jargon means he’s critical of non-Bitcoin cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Solana, and Cardano. 

Roberts noted Twitter launched crypto tipping last September but only allowed payments to be made in Bitcoin. The platform also allowed non-fungible token (NFT) profile pictures, but limited access to Twitter Blue subscribers and only allowed NFTs listed on OpenSea. 

“Musk is not a Bitcoin maximalist,” Roberts said. “I think Musk is crypto agnostic, and anything is on the table when it comes to features on Twitter that implement cryptocurrencies.” 

That is by no means a sure bet, however. Musk famously reversed his decision to allow Bitcoin as a form of payment at Tesla after learning more about Bitcoin’s environmental impact. Tesla also hasn’t bought or sold any additional crypto assets since the first quarter of 2021. 

Yet momentum was building for crypto adoption on the platform even before the Musk takeover. Earlier this month, Twitter announced a partnership with Stripe, an online payments company, that would allow select creators to get paid in USDC stablecoins. 

Stripe notably stopped supporting Bitcoin back in 2018 after its price crashed, but the adoption of USDC, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar, marks a cautious return to the space. The company said it will support additional currencies and payment rails in the future. 

As for how Musk’s purchase will impact the deal, at least one partner is optimistic. 

“Although it’s in the early stages, we hope through Circle’s partnership with Stripe and Polygon, USDC can become the trusted native currency that powers economics and commerce on the next iteration of the Twitter platform,” said Dante Disparte, the chief strategy officer and head of global policy at Circle, which is behind USDC, in a statement. 

Billionaire’s ‘Play Toy’

Musk’s potential impact on the company is bigger than any one project, though. Some see the takeover as the first step in making the platform more decentralized. 

Jack Dorsey, now CEO of Block, said as much in a recent tweet thread. “In principle, I don’t believe anyone should own or run Twitter,” he wrote. “It wants to be a public good at a protocol level, not a company. Solving for the problem of it being a company however, Elon is the singular solution I trust. I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness.” 

Along these lines, Musk has already said that he plans to make Twitter’s source code available on GitHub, an open source hosting platform for developers, which would provide a behind-the-curtain look at the algorithms that generate users’ feeds. 

“The code should be on GitHub so it can be examined,” Musk said. “I just think it’s important to the function of democracy in the United States and other countries. The civilizational risk is decreased if we can increase the trust in Twitter as a public platform.”

Crypto supporters have lauded this move. “I think Elon will approach Twitter more as a protocol than an app,” Roberts said. “That’s what crypto people want to see.” 

This may sound counter-intuitive, however, given that Twitter is set to become even more centralized than before as it leaves behind the public market. 

Critics of Musk argue it’s really anyone’s guess what exactly the billionaire does next. Rohan Gray, a professor at Willamette University College of Law and the president of the Modern Monetary Network, said much depends on whether and how Musk monetizes Twitter. 

“The fact that Musk has said explicitly that he’s not buying Twitter to make a profit is going to be very interesting because it’s going to allow him to experiment with things he finds interesting, which might not have actually happened with a board,” he said. “That doesn’t mean they’re going to be good things, of course. We’re going to see what it looks like when a billionaire decides to use one of the most important political platforms on the planet as his own personal play toy.” 

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