Elon Musk’s latest venture, X, has now embarked on a new journey in the financial domain by launching a novel payments account. This intriguing move marks another bold stride in the diverse and dynamic landscape of Musk’s business ventures. Spotted on social media platforms on January 19th, this development comes as X continues to secure money transmitter licenses across various states in the United States.
With the world watching, X’s foray into the financial sector is not just another business maneuver but a strategic step towards realizing Musk’s vision of making X a central hub for global financial activities. This vision has been a focal point since his remarkable $44 billion acquisition in 2022.
A New Era of Digital Transactions
This launch aligns well with the anticipated direction of X under Musk’s leadership. Despite speculation about incorporating digital assets, Musk has clarified that the focus will predominantly be on fiat transactions. Nevertheless, crypto analysts and enthusiasts continue to speculate on the role of digital currencies in X’s future plans.
The platform has not only been proactive in filing for money-transmitter licenses but has also seen approvals in states such as Utah. This is indicative of its serious intent to establish a robust financial framework. Further bolstering its financial capabilities, X has collaborated with the trading platform eToro, facilitating users to trade cryptocurrencies and stocks directly from the app.
However, not all ventures into the digital world have been met with success. X has recently rolled back some of its web3 features. The earlier excitement over NFT profile photos and the ability to upload blockchain-based digital collectibles has been dampened, with these features no longer operational.
Pioneering Peer-to-Peer Payments and AI Integration
The recent announcement of launching peer-to-peer payments and integrating artificial intelligence into its platform heralds a new chapter for X. Described in a blog post as a move towards becoming ‘The Everything app’, this initiative is expected to enhance user experience by offering more utility and opening new avenues for commerce.
This isn’t Musk’s first rodeo in the peer-to-peer payment arena. His past venture, an online payment company founded in 1999 which eventually merged with the startup that became PayPal, shows his long-standing interest and expertise in this field. Considering PayPal’s current status as the leading peer-to-peer payment app, X’s foray into this space is particularly noteworthy.
The peer-to-peer payment market globally is not just significant but growing at an impressive rate. Currently valued at $2.21 trillion, it’s expected to balloon to $11.62 trillion by 2032. X’s venture into this booming market is both ambitious and timely. The blog post from the company paints a grand vision of X as more than just an app, but as a comprehensive platform that unites various experiences under one interface.
Since Musk’s acquisition, X has been on a transformative journey, from renaming the company to introducing numerous, sometimes controversial, changes. The focus has shifted from news headlines to promoting video-first citizen journalism and mulling over a small monthly fee to counteract bots. The addition of audio and video calling features, along with a new AI search assistant named Grok, are part of this transformation.
Looking ahead, 2024 for X is all about key areas like enhanced AI usage, a feature to expose users to diverse content, and partnerships aimed at boosting advertising. However, challenges remain, as seen with the withdrawal of major advertisers like Apple, Coca-Cola, and Disney following Musk’s controversial endorsements. Currently valued at about $19 billion, X has witnessed a 15% user decline and a 60% drop in advertising revenue since Musk’s takeover.