The last time Elon Musk refused the bird to his users, it is the transfer of the logo of Twitter to a grinning Shiba Inu—a hilarious inside joke that pumped the value of the dogecoin cryptocurrency, in which Musk is an investor, by 30 percent. A class action is pending.
Over the weekend, the former richest man in the world crowdsourced a logo for the platform, which this morning has been rebranded to X. Twitter—sorry, X—CEO Linda Yaccarino Tweet—sorry, x’ed—that the company was radically reimagined, creating a platform “focused on audio, video, messaging, payments/banking—creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities. Powered by AI. “
The new brand—referred to by users as the unicode X standard—is the latest iteration of a concept Musk has been pushing since the late 1990s. First, he tried to build an online bank at x.com until he was fired from the company, which renamed itself PayPal after its successful service. Since buying the x.com domain back in 2017, Musk has added to the vision: messaging, ecommerce, video, and now AI, all on one platform.
“There is absolutely no limit to this change,” Yaccarino said. “X is the platform that can deliver, well…everything.”
It won’t happen. To create a super app, X must build a new financial technology infrastructure, win over regulators by openly and diligently following the rules, and win the trust of users and advertisers who have left Twitter since Musk took over.
“If you have reduced brand equity and reduced user experience, you’re already three laps behind in the race,” said David Shrier, professor of AI practice and innovation at Imperial College Business School. “It’s a 23-year-old business plan that didn’t work before, and is now being implemented in a worse market position,” he said of Twitter’s transformation of X.
The basic foundation of any super app is payments—allowing people to pay each other, pay businesses for goods and services, and receive money for the same. In January, Twitter began applying for licenses to process transactions in the US, in an initiative reportedly led by Esther Crawford, whose startup Squad was bought by Twitter in 2020. Crawford, who famously posted a photo of herself lying on the floor of the Twitter office in the early days of Musk’s management, was fired in February.
On Sunday, Crawford Tweet what a veiled dig at the rebrand. “Corporate seppuku: destroying your own product or brand,” he wrote. “Usually made by the new management in search of cost-savings due to lack of understanding about the core business or neglecting the customer experience.”
Tech companies are constantly trying to enter fintech as a way to increase revenue from their users and turn the platforms into a wider ecosystem of products and services. Ride-hailing companies, such as Uber, and Grab and Go-Jek in Southeast Asia, have launched financial products, which they can use to pay drivers and pay users. Meta has made several attempts to make payments into successful markets, with limited impact. In April, Meta launched WhatsApp payments in Brazil. Apple started building Apple Pay with Apple Card and Apple Savings.