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The Mystery of X.com Revealed
Read why Twitter Inc is no more, and how X.com is operating at the cutting edge of technology
Twitter Inc is no more.
Last week, a court filing revealed that the company had been merged into X Corp.
The original X.com was an online bank founded by Elon in 1999. A year later, it merged with Peter Thiel’s Confinity to form PayPal.
Since Elon bought Twitter last year, he has talked about using it to revive X as an all-purpose financial services tool, with added functionality so it becomes an “everything app.”
But in the year 2023, with technology evolving at breakneck speed, what does “everything” even mean?
Let’s take a look at how X is branching out into three areas—finance, news media, and Artificial Intelligence—to become the most powerful web service on the planet.
I. Financial Services Company
On Thursday, the news broke that Twitter is partnering with the online brokerage eToro.
The partnership will allow people to buy and sell crypto, stocks, and other financial assets directly on Twitter.
The eToro news is part of a larger plan to turn Twitter into an online bank.
In November, Elon told Twitter staff he planned to allow users to maintain a cash balance on the platform and hoped to build “the people’s financial institution.”
The quote may have been a reference to Dogecoin. Back in 2021, he coined the phrase “the people’s crypto” to describe Doge.
Since Elon took over, he has fueled the speculation that Doge will be integral to X, including changing Twitter’s bird to a Doge and naming his Shiba Inu Floki CEO.
On Friday, he kept the rumor mill churning by responding to a tweet about X becoming a bank for digital dog money.
Is X code for the Bank of Doge?
II. Citizen-Run News Network
For the last decade, Twitter’s core product has been a social media site that doubles as a citizen-run news network.
Twitter is a novel invention because it gives regular folks the power to decide what counts as news.
The difference between citizen-run and institutional journalism came into the spotlight last week when Twitter labeled some mainstream news accounts “government-funded media.”
After receiving the designation, NPR and PBS quit Twitter, claiming the label called into question their “editorial independence.”
Around the same time, three million listeners tuned in to a late-night Twitter Spaces interview between BBC tech reporter James Clayton and Elon.
The interview covered a lot of ground, but its defining moment came when Clayton said hate speech had increased since Twitter changed ownership—one of institutional media’s favorite narratives to attack post-Elon Twitter.
Clayton said he’d seen more content that was “slightly racist” and “slightly sexist.”
When Elon pressed him, Clayton was unable to name a single instance of hateful content he’d seen on the site.
The clip went mega-viral the next day.
It’s an example of how mainstream media narratives can gain traction with the public despite an absence of evidence…except when they’re promoted Twitter, where people can respond with the facts.
In recent months, Twitter has formalized this arrangement through feature called Community Notes, which delegates fact-checking to regular users.
The reality is that regular folks are often more trustworthy than the pros.
Corporate media pushes an agenda designed to maximize profits of advertisers, not pursue truth wherever it leads.
This is true even of “publicly funded” news outlets like PBS and NPR.
Early signs are that X will make it easier for independent journalists to share and fund their work, further empowering the little guy.
Just in the last few days, Twitter has beefed up its subscription services for content creators.
If you’re a journalist, all you need is a few thousand supporters out of hundreds of millions of Twitter users to compete with mass media.
Between Subscriptions, Community Notes, and the end of censorship, X may already be the best source of truth in the world.
III. AI Lab
Elon is moving quickly to build an AI company under the X umbrella.
Last week, news broke that Twiter acquired 10,000 Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), the hardware used to train Artificial Intelligence. In an interview, he explained, “everyone and their dog is buying GPUs.”
On Friday, another report said he is officially launching a company called X.AI to compete with OpenAI.
The backstory here is that Elon founded OpenAI (the company behind ChatGPT) but left the board of directors in 2018.
Lately, he’s expressed dismay at how the organization shifted from a non-profit to for-profit model, and is using AI to expand censorship.
After buying Twitter, Elon cut off OpenAI’s access to Twitter’s data—an important and unappreciated decision.
Data is the fuel for training AI, and Twitter has some of the best data in the world.
At any given moment, Twitter is the world’s best source for the thoughts and memes of hundreds of millions of people across the globe, including many of the most talented writers, artists, engineers, and entrepreneurs on Earth.
For AI to respond to users’ requests with accurate and timely information, it’s hard to imagine a better source of data than Twitter.
No one knows exactly how X will integrate Artificial Intelligence, but the possibilities are intriguing.
On idea that’s been tossed around for AI to train itself based on a user’s data and then suggest tweets to make based on their interests and writing style.
Users could also interact with AI chatbot help design online businesses—some folks are already doing this with ChatGPT. If this functionality is built directly into X, it could become a launchpad for entrepreneurs to create, iterate, and market their products.
Then there are memes. Twitter is already the world’s best repository of Internet humor and culture
Will AI tap into Twitter’s hive mind to make the world’s best memes?
At the end of the BBC interview, Elon said of X Corp, “There is something more to it [...] stay tuned to find out.”
From what we know today, X is already on the vanguard of finance, internet culture, and AI. Dogecoin sits at the intersection of all three.
Is dog money the final secret of the mystery of X?
I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Dogey Treats: News Bites
Apple announced a high-yield savings account with 4.15% interest rates.
Justin Trudeau expressed dismay at CBC being listed as state funded media in Twitter.
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