Twitter may let users receive payments from followers, may hold bitcoin

Twitter top boss Jack Dorsey, who is also the chief executive of payments firm Square Inc, is a known bitcoin enthusiast and has said he believes the internet will have its own native currency

February 11, 2021 01:16 pm | Updated 01:17 pm IST

In an interview with CNBC, Segal said Twitter had considered how it might pay vendors or employees using bitcoin, should they ask to transact using the virtual currency.

In an interview with CNBC, Segal said Twitter had considered how it might pay vendors or employees using bitcoin, should they ask to transact using the virtual currency.

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Twitter Inc Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said Wednesday the company is exploring allowing its users to receive tips, or digital payments, from their followers.

Dorsey said the feature would help the social media platform earn more money and engagement from its base of 192 million daily users.

"I think the first thing we want to focus on is that economic incentive to people who are contributing to Twitter," he said at the virtual Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference.

Introducing user tipping and new features like content subscriptions would help the company diversify its revenue, which it currently earns mainly from selling advertising on Twitter .

The company has also thought about whether to hold bitcoin on its balance sheet, but has not made any changes yet, the social media platform's chief financial officer, Ned Segal, told CNBC on Wednesday.

In an interview with CNBC, Segal said Twitter had considered how it might pay vendors or employees using bitcoin, should they ask to transact using the virtual currency.

Also Read | Facebook, Twitter outpaced by smaller platforms in fight against harmful content

"We might consider whether we would be transferring dollars to bitcoin at the time of the transaction or if we wanted bitcoin on our balance sheet ready to complete that transaction," Segal said.

Segal's comments come a couple of days after billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's Tesla Inc revealed the automaker had bought $1.5 billion of the cryptocurrency and would soon accept it as a form of payment for cars, sending the cryptocurrency shooting higher.

On General Motors Co's earnings call on Wednesday, Chief Executive Mary Barra, responding to a question about accepting bitcoin as payment for vehicles, said, "This is something we'll monitor and we'll evaluate. If there's strong customer demand for it in the future, there's nothing that precludes us from doing that."

But unlike Musk, Barra said "We don't have any plans to invest in bitcoin. Full stop there."

Shares of Twitter were up 11% on Tuesday after the company beat Wall Street targets for quarterly sales and profit and followed its social media peers to forecast a strong start to 2021 as ad spending rebounds from rock bottom.

Also Read | Elon Musk wants clean power, but Tesla's carrying bitcoin's dirty baggage

Twitter top boss Jack Dorsey, who is also the chief executive of payments firm Square Inc, is a known bitcoin enthusiast and has said he believes the internet will have its own native currency.

Square in October said it had purchased about 4,709 bitcoins at an aggregate purchase price of $50 million . The company said Tuesday during an earnings call with analysts that he did not expect subscriptions to be meaningful to the company's revenue until next year.

Last month, Twitter bought newsletter startup Revue, as it hopes to attract users wanting to create long-form content.

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