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The Dogefather Takes On The Speech Cartel
Elon Musk is solving humanity’s greatest problems.
From Artificial Intelligence to space travel to renewable energy, when Elon wants to improve life on earth, he goes big.
Now, he’s stepping up to restore the American tradition of free speech, and taking on some powerful enemies in the process.
Let’s take a look at Elon’s bid to buy Twitter, and why Dogecoin could be his secret weapon.
Elon's bid for Twitter started two weeks ago, when an SEC filing revealed that he had bought 9.2% of Twitter shares, making him its largest public owner. The next day, CEO Parag Agrawal announced that Elon had agreed to join the board.
In the week that followed, Elon tweeted out numerous ideas and polls about how to improve Twitter.
Then, last Monday, Parag abruptly tweeted that Elon would no longer be joining the board, acknowledging that "There will be distractions ahead" and urging Twitter employees to "tune out the noise."
Observers noted that the original agreement capped Elon's ownership of Twitter at 14.9% and, by not joining the board, he was free to buy as much of the company as he could afford—perhaps even the whole thing. There were also hints from Elon himself that he was told to "play nice" and "not speak freely" as a condition of board membership.
Journalists pointed out that, immediately before the announcement about not joining the board, Elon deleted several tweets about Twitter, most notably an instantly classic meme about being in "Goblin Mode," a proposal to turn Twitter's SF headquarters into a homeless shelter, and a poll to change the company's name to Titter.
In the wake of Parag's announcement, reports surfaced of Twitter workers feeling "super stressed" and “working together to help each other get through the week” as they contemplated Elon's next move. Several employees told the New York Post that the company's internal environment was a "shit-show."
Meanwhile legacy media started bugging out about the prospect of a free-speech-promoting billionaire using his wealth to uphold the First Amendment.
As tension built throughout the week, Elon stayed quiet, while the Internet waited with bated breath for his response to Parag.
Last Thursday morning, he broke the silence by tweeting out an SEC filing that proposed to buy Twitter and take it private for $42 billion dollars.
The SEC filing included a letter to Bret Taylor, the Chairman of Twitter's board. In the letter, Elon said his offer represented "a 54% premium over the day before I began investing in Twitter and a 38% premium over the day before my investment was publicly announced."
Twitter's stock has been flat for nine years. Elon's generous offer means the Twitter board, which has a fiduciary responsibility to shareholders, could expose itself to legal liability if it says no.
It's clear the Twitter board doesn't want to sell the company to Elon, no matter how much he would improve the platform.
On Friday, the board voted to adopt a poison pill "shareholder rights plan" that would allow it to dilute the value of Twitter's shares in order to preserve control of the company.
It's noteworthy that, excluding founder Jack Dorsey, the board collectively owns 0.12% of Twitter stock, so any decision they make that hurts Twitter's stock would mainly impact shareholders.
Big money is also girding itself for a hostile takeover.
Global asset manager Vanguard increased its share holdings of Twitter to 10%, once again making it the largest shareholder, and private equity firm Thoma Bravo contemplated its own Twitter bid to thwart Elon.
Meanwhile, Saudi Prince Al Waleed bin Talal, a representative of Kingdom Holding Company, said he would reject Elon's offer because it was too low.
The combined opposition of the Speech Cartel—mainstream outlets, financial elites, and foreign countries with investments in American media—to Elon's First-Amendment plans is a sign of how desperate they are to keep their grip on the American conversation.
It also raises important questions about who controls discourse in the land of the free.
How much influence should these shadowy, elite entities have on what Americans get to talk about?
How long has this been going on?
Who do they represent?
While the establishment melts down over the possibility of a First-Amendment social media platform, Elon is thinking several moves ahead.
In a TED interview on Thursday, he told Chris Anderson "I don't like to lose" and that he had a Plan B if the acquisition failed, leading to speculation that he could start his own platform.
Could Plan B be Plan Ð?
Whether Elon buys Twitter or starts his own company, he will likely expand the role of blockchain.
Blockchain has the power to make speech uncensorable and transform social media into a more accurate reflection of what the public thinks.
One big move would be to rid his platform of crypto scams and bot armies, something he has talked about often.
Crypto as a whole suffers immensely from scammers. Because of them, many people associate the entire crypto space with dishonesty, when in reality blockchain-powered currencies like Bitcoin and Dogecoin have the potential to be the most honest forms of money ever created.
During the same TED interview, Elon said, "If I had a Dogecoin for every crypto scam I saw...", drawing an important distinction between honest and dishonest cryptocurrencies.
Similarly, bot armies warp public opinion by creating the perception that more people hold a particular belief than actually do.
One solution to scammers and bots would be to require a small fee to get verified, making it prohibitively expensive for bad actors to disseminate scams and fake opinions.
It's possible the fee could even be paid for in Doge!
A broader integration between social media and Dogecoin could be transformative for the Internet. The DogeArmy has been clamoring for a Doge tip jar for months.
A tip jar could go well with adding a place for people to display their creative work. During a discussion about why many top Twitter accounts use the platform sparingly, Elon took note of how TikTok allows users to feature their content on their profiles.
This sort of arrangement could allow Dogecoin tipping to replace "likes" as a way for people to support content in a meaningful, financially significant way.
The idea of Dogecoin-powered social media is starting to catch on with the broader crypto bloc.
While Elon battled the Twitter board, Thursday saw two crypto billionaires play the role of Caporegime to Elon's Dogefather by going to bat for Doge.
First, Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of FTX crypto exchange, posted a thread on how to decentralize Twitter with blockchain, saying "We could do it. And if there was sufficient demand, we *would* do it, fast."
In the thread, he conceded that Doge could form an integral part of a blockchain-based Twitter.
A few hours later, Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev tweeted a thread about what it would take for Doge could become "the future currency of the Internet."
Echoing earlier tweets from Elon, Vlad said that Doge's fees were already low enough and its fixed issuance schedule gives it a leg up on the dollar, but block speed and size should improve.
As Elon squares off against the Speech Cartel, power-players from the cryptoverse are stepping up to align themselves with his cause.
The showdown is shaping up to be a turf war for the First Amendment, with tech titans of the new world teaming up to take on the corrupt powers of the old establishment.
No matter how the Twitter fiasco shakes out, the Dogefather will set the truth free, and Dogecoin could be his secret weapon to do so.
69 moves ahead
On Friday, signs emerged that Elon has been methodically working the Twitter board into checkmate.
In a thread with Cameron Winklevoss, another crypto billionaire sympathetic to the first amendment, Elon pointed out that Twitter's board will assume "titanic" liability if they don't accept his offer and the share price collapses.
Elon continues to wield popular opinion as a weapon against the establishment. On Thursday, he polled Twitter users if the sale should be put to shareholder vote, and the overwhelming majority of nearly three million voters said "Yes."
Late Friday afternoon, the New York Post reported that Elon is considering bringing partners in on his bid.
The move could circumvent the poison pill provision by limiting any single owner's stake to below 15%, the level required to trigger share dilution.
On Saturday, the Post decoded an Elon tweet that simply said "Love Me Tender," interpreting it to mean that he might bypass the board and make a tender offer directly to shareholders.
No matter what he does, one thing is clear: Elon isn't backing down.
Elon plays to win. Betting against him has never been wise.
For now, he appears to have the upper hand, though his opponents are formidable and there are still moves left to be played.
The stakes are nothing less than the future of democracy and free speech itself.
Keep your eyes open and stay tuned.
Dogey Treats: News Bites
Here is the full conversation between Elon and TED's Chris Anderson. During the conversation, Elon explained how the SEC threatened to bankrupt Tesla in order to get him to admit wrongdoing with this "funding secured" tweet. He also encouraged people to be excited about the future. Elon also gave a separate, private interview with Anderson, posted on YouTube on Sunday.
In the midst of last week's chaos, Elon tweeted out "i[love]u" with a heart emoji, a reminder of his belief in the transcendent power of love. On Easter Sunday, he tweeted a picture of a Doge dressed as an easter bunny surrounded by golden eggs with Dogecoin stickers on them.
Elon hasn't fully consolidated power among the crypto block yet. While Vlad and Sam spoke positively about Doge, two of Elon's Bitcoin-boosting friends—Jack Dorsey and Michael Saylor—dodged the opportunity to praise dog money, an indicator that the larger Bitcoin community is still dragging its feet when it comes to the power of the meme.
Pomp published a newsletter about Elon's bid for Twitter titled, "Free Speech Is For Sale."
Coinbase is producing a movie trilogy based on the Bored Ape Yacht Club. The first film will premiere at NFT.NYC in June.
28% of millennials expect cryptocurrency to help fund their retirement, and 38% own some form of crypto, according to a recent survey.
The Human Rights Foundation released a short film called "Check Your Financial Privilege" about Bitcoin, based on Alex Gladstein's book of the same name.
Tesla has expanded its recruitment for development of its Optimus Tesla Bot.
Elon liked a tweet that showed US Auto sales down 18% comparing Q1 in 2019 to 2022, while Tesla sales are up 256% in the same time period.
Robinhood listed Shib.
A jaw-dropping clip of Janet Yellen talking about Satoshi went viral across Twitter.
The Dogecoin Foundation released a blog post about RadioDoge, an effort to integrate radio technology with Starlink to allow people who lack internet access to transact with Doge.
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