Elon Musk to make X an Everything App

Elon Musk is set on transforming X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, into an “everything app,” integrating private messaging, news, shopping, and banking into a single service. This concept mirrors China’s WeChat, and Musk has openly discussed replicating its multifaceted functionality in other regions.

Central to this transformation is the integration of a payments system within X. Without the ability to send or spend money, the vision of an all-encompassing app cannot be realised. Musk’s strategy includes developing a payments product for X, with recent insights published by Bloomberg highlighting the company’s progress. Using public records requests, Bloomberg obtained documents detailing X’s applications for money transmitter licenses across all 50 US states.

These documents reveal plans for a Venmo-like feature that allows users to store money on their X accounts for purchases and peer-to-peer transfers. Musk has also suggested offering a high yield on account balances to incentivise users to keep their funds within the app.

Currently, X has secured payments licenses in 28 states, with ambitions to expand internationally after establishing a foothold in the US. However, the technical and regulatory challenges may be easier to overcome than convincing the public to adopt X as a financial service. Historically, X has been associated with news, celebrity updates, and political commentary, not financial transactions or savings.

Previous attempts to create a “WeChat of the West” by companies like Meta Platforms Inc., which operates Messenger and WhatsApp, have struggled. Many Americans prefer using specialised apps for different needs, and established competitors like Venmo, Zelle, Cash App, and PayPal already dominate the market.

According to Harshita Rawat, a senior payments analyst with Bernstein, shifting users to a new banking or payments service is extremely challenging due to the entrenched nature of existing relationships. Despite this, Musk is known for tackling formidable challenges, and changing user behavior on a global scale is the next step in his ambitious plan.

The journey to make X an “everything app” is just beginning, and its success will depend on Musk’s ability to persuade users to embrace this new integrated platform.

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