A game changer for crypto adoption?
Amid all the recent price volatility seen by Bitcoin (BTC) and the rest of the crypto market, news of social media behemoth Twitter reportedly getting ready to enable Bitcoin tipping for content creators went relatively unnoticed.
Reports suggest that the latest Twitter iOS beta is being devised in a way that will help BTC become part of the company’s upcoming Tip Jar module. If implemented, the move could have a substantial impact on the global crypto landscape, as it might instill the confidence necessary for other companies operating within the social media space to follow suit.
Merrick Theobald, vice president of marketing at crypto payments firm BitPay, told Hedgewane that as more major mainstream business entities like Twitter embrace crypto and openly support Bitcoin and blockchain tech, it will help to push the industry forward since “Blockchain payments are the best way to transact online,” adding: “Twitter’s desire to add Bitcoin to the Twitter Tipping Jar embraces this new and different approach to financial technology and will help accelerate adoption.”
Additionally, Theobald is intrigued by the prospect of the convergence of two great digital technologies — i.e., blockchain payments and tweets — especially as an increasing number of crypto holders seem to be looking for avenues to spend their digital assets. “The crypto market is huge with a total market cap exceeding $2+ trillion now,” he emphasized.
Crypto education and ease of use will drive Twitter’s BTC experiment
Despite growing awareness, the crypto industry is still in the early stages of widespread adoption, with most casual Twitter users as yet unaware of the technical ins and outs of this relatively nascent technology. For example, even many tech-savvy social media users may not be educated enough on how to buy, store and manage their digital assets and could overlook Twitter’s Bitcoin tipping payment option altogether.
Wes Levitt, head of strategy at Theta Labs — a decentralized peer-to-peer data streaming and delivery platform — seems to agree with this assessment but is also of the belief that if Twitter can make the entire crypto payment experience streamlined for its users, the company could be onto something, adding:
“This has a good chance of making it into production, given that Jack’s a major Bitcoin supporter and holder. If his goal is widespread crypto adoption, he knows that exposing Twitter’s 300m+ active users to Bitcoin is a great start.”
In his view, it is critical that users also have the option to fund their tips via linked PayPal accounts as well as other traditional services like Apple Pay and others so that they are not having crypto forced down their throats. “You need the feature to gain traction first before you hit users with the complexity of crypto transactions,” Levitt closed out by saying.
If the crypto tipping feature is, in fact, on its way, BTC will be added alongside traditional gateways like PayPal and Venmo as acceptable payment options on the Tip Jar. The rollout may also see Twitter providing its users with a succinct tutorial regarding Bitcoin and the Lightning Network. Finally, all Bitcoin-based tips will most likely be facilitated via the use of the aforementioned Lightning Network, driving down the costs surrounding making a transaction.
Not everyone is sold on the move
Though some believe that if Twitter were to adopt BTC it could have a major positive impact on the crypto ecosystem, not everyone seems to agree with this assessment. For example, Nimrod Lehavi, CEO of Simplex — a crypto payments infrastructure firm — told Hedgewane that the BTC tipping jar is not necessarily a “killer feature,” elaborating:
“Crypto Twitter is indeed a very lively neighborhood but I really doubt if tipping is something that connects with opinion broadcasting. In social networks, if your opinion is valuable, you gain influence. And there are ways to monetize it.”
Even though the creation of such a tipping mechanism is quite straightforward in Lehavi’s eyes, the challenge will emerge when it comes to establishing on- and off-ramps that can help fulfill such a global vision. “It’s a big question how users will load more credit to be able to tip and the influencers cashing out,” he added.
He suggested that even though Twitter may provide its users with an initial amount to tip others, it remains to be seen how things will proceed from there because if the move is successful, it could potentially lay the groundwork for many other companies to follow.
Twitter’s crypto foray already in the making?
It is worth highlighting that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had previously hinted that a Bitcoin tipping option was in the works — as early as May — when his social media firm revealed its “Tip Jar” concept was designed to enable platform users to reward content creators with the touch of a button.
That said, a Bitcoin tipping option seems to be just one of the many strings of BTC-focused adoption developments for the social media giant over the last few months, as earlier this year in August, Dorsey made his intentions clear when he announced his plans to build a decentralized exchange for Bitcoin.
Similarly, in July, Dorsey revealed that Square, an American financial services and digital payments company also owned by him, was also actively working on developing an “assisted custody” hardware wallet for Bitcoin.
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Lastly, as per several interviews conducted earlier this year, Dorsey stated that he sees Bitcoin as being the key to Twitter’s future while noting that Twitter has a comprehensive roadmap that includes the use of BTC in relation to many of the company’s envisioned commercial and subscription-based activities.
If Twitter’s Bitcoin tipping option comes to fruition soon, it could set in motion a domino effect that could see not only social media companies but also other financial entities from various domains begin to strongly consider the use of digital assets as one of the ways to facilitate payments.
Furthermore, the move could also serve as a tipping point for crypto as a legitimate payment medium, especially in the eyes of those individuals who may be sitting on the fence when it comes to investing in digital assets. Not only that, but it will also help BTC to fulfill one of the most important use cases for cryptocurrencies — i.e., of a payment medium — espoused by its proponents for more than a decade now.