(LifeSiteNews) — Billionaire tech mogul, SpaceX founder, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is reportedly moving forward with plans to make his recent acquisition, social media platform Twitter, a payments processor like Paypal, Cash App, and Venmo. The move may be connected to Musk’s previously stated interest in a so-called “everything app” that would comprehensively incorporate shopping, payments, and social media.
According to a Monday report by The Financial Times, Musk’s Twitter has already started the process of developing software and applying for regulatory licenses to add the payments component to the platform.
Elon Musk has said he wants Twitter to offer fintech services such as peer-to-peer transactions, savings accounts and debit cards, as part of a master plan to launch an ‘everything app’ that incorporates messaging, payments and commerce https://t.co/P8fue5g7oQ pic.twitter.com/Tvh5YpV6uf
— Financial Times (@FinancialTimes) January 31, 2023
The outlet cited “two people familiar with the company’s plans,” who said that Twitter has starting applying for state licenses after filing to be a payments processor with the U.S. Treasury in November.
Musk could be making the move in a bid to restore lost revenue as marketers pull away from Twitter over concerns regarding its new “management and content moderation,” the Financial Times suggested.
However, the report also suggested another reason for the change, a “grand vision” for a more comprehensive digital application.
According to the outlet, “Musk has said he wants Twitter to offer fintech [financial technology] services such as peer-to-peer transactions, savings accounts and debit cards, as part of a master plan to launch an ‘everything app’ that incorporates messaging, payments and commerce.”
While Twitter before Musk had already been exploring a limited range of payments elements, Musk’s version would far exceed Twitter’s earlier ideas. Users could “buy items directly through the platform” as well as “pay one another,” the report noted, citing “three people familiar with the plans.”
The app would use traditional currency, though the sources cited by the Financial Times said functionality to accommodate cryptocurrency might be added in the future.
Musk has previously suggested that his purchase of Twitter would “accelerate” the creation of a so-called “everything app” that would be known as “X.”
Last year, the world’s richest man spoke about his plans to leverage his Twitter acquisition to speed up his “everything app” ambitions amid buyout negotiations.
Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 4, 2022
“It’s a pretty, pretty grand vision,” Musk said during an annual meeting in August for his electric car company Tesla. “Now obviously, that could be started from scratch, but I think Twitter would help accelerate that by three to five years. So it’s kind of like something I thought would be useful for a long time.”
“I know what to do,” he said. “I don’t have to have Twitter for that but it would, like I said, it’s probably at least a three-year accelerant and I think it’s something that will be very useful to the world.”
Musk’s dreams of an “X” entity that would service digital payments far precede 2022.
In 1999, the entrepreneur co-founded an online bank called X.com, which later merged with software company Confinity, Fox News pointed out. A year later, Confinity would change its name to the now-familiar PayPal, which was purchased by eBay in 2002 and became independent in 2015.
Two years later, in 2017, Musk started up X.com again after purchasing the domain name, Fox noted.
Musk’s moves to enter Twitter into the online payment space could make it a direct competitor to PayPal and the other successful cash apps currently available in the digital marketplace.
The Financial Times noted that, were Twitter to become a payments processor, it would face “stiff competition” from existing apps within that sphere. The corporation could also expect to contend with “high levels of regulatory scrutiny,” potentially presenting another level of difficulty for a drastically trimmed-down company that saw more than 50% of its employee population cut following Musk’s takeover.
RELATED: Elon Musk officially takes over Twitter, reportedly wastes no time firing top executives
The limited number of employees left at Twitter’s San Francisco campus may not be sufficient to keep up with the government’s compliance regulations for companies that are “involved in money transfers, currency exchange or cashing cheques,” according to the Financial Times.
Lisa Ellis, payments expert and senior equity analyst at research company MoffettNathanson, told the outlet that tech companies interested in entering the payments processing space often “experiment and then give up” due to the unwieldy compliance requirements.
“They find it to be a burden to ultimately bear the long-term investment and risk — where you can get fined if there’s an issue and you have to have a whole compliance infrastructure that has to be constantly licensed,” she said.
Meanwhile, there are more than just regulatory concerns at play within the notion of an all-encompassing app that links personal social media presence with online payments.
Last year, prominent mRNA pioneer Dr. Robert Malone warned that “[h]aving a super app for commerce and social media means that the risk of getting kicked off Twitter becomes not just a question of free speech and censorship, but of financial risk to each and every person who relies [on] Twitter as a complete, one-stop e-commerce app.”
READ: Dr. Robert Malone: Elon Musk’s big plans for Twitter throw his free speech credentials into question
“All it would take is the tiniest pressure or threat of removing someone’s ability to pay a bill or collect a debt and the need to censor would go away as self-censorship would become de rigueur,” he said. “The amount of power such a corporation would hold over individuals, industries, even whole nations, would be enormous.”
According to Malone, Musk’s “grand vision” would be “a very bad idea.”