X will be what PayPal has not been, a bank

Not just transactions, passing money between accounts, but a true financial hub. That is Elon Musk’s achievable (and soon to be achievable) wish shared by CEO Linda Yaccarino for X, the former Twitter and also former social, in some time. There is no indiscretion behind the news, but the South African tycoon’s thoughts, words and promises during a meeting with employees. 

Musk’s idea goes back a long way, to the days when, in the late 2000s, he found himself working on the PayPal project of which he is one of the founders. The founder was Musk, and above all,, one of the first online banks founded in 1999 and closed in 2000 following the merger with Confinity that gave birth to PayPal itself. Then, the project took a different direction to the disappointment of Musk, who, shortly after that, decided to go his own way. Now Musk wants to take back that idea, his idea, and bring it to fruition with Twitter, which, not surprisingly, has been renamed X by the new owner.

Musk’s original plan

“The X/PayPal product roadmap – said Musk during an employee meeting – was put together by me and David Sacks in July 2000. For some reason, PayPal, once it passed into the hands of eBay, only left the path laid out in the roadmap but actually eliminated some of the key features it already had, which is crazy. So today’s PayPal is a less complete product than the one we created in July 2000, 23 years ago”. Here, Musk wants X to become that complete product that PayPal, another of his creations, did not become as he had imagined more than twenty years ago. And with Yaccarino’s support, he is convinced that at least part of the plan, the one we know, will be realized by the end of 2024: “I would be amazed – said Musk – if we didn’t implement the project by the end of next year”. What is the project?

The company is currently working on locking down money transmission licenses across the US so that it can offer financial services. Musk told employees Thursday that he hopes to get the others X needs in “the next few months.”

At X headquarters, work is underway to obtain the necessary licenses in the United States to offer financial services.
At X headquarters, work is underway to obtain the necessary licenses in the United States to offer financial services.

X: From social to everything

The concept was also taken up by the CEO of X, Linda Yaccarino, who, in a post on the social network’s blog, wrote: “We want money on. We have already obtained the first money transfer licenses in several states and are moving to launch a global payment system”. “When I say payments – explained the number one of X – I mean the entire financial life of an individual. Anything to do with money will be on our platform, even stocks. So it’s not just about sending $20 to a friend – I’m talking about no longer needing a traditional checking account”.

At X headquarters, work is underway to obtain the necessary licenses in the United States to offer financial services. Musk is confident that he will get the passes in the next few months. Still, he will have to convince people that the best solution for managing their finances, from money to deposit accounts through securities and shares, is to give everything into the hands of X. This will be a little less simple.

Musk’s vision: the everything app

The Everything app in which Musk would like to transform X is a platform similar to the Chinese WeChat, born in 2011 as a messaging app and then expanded to the payments sector in 2013. Today, through WeChat, you can shop and buy services, such as transport tickets. There is one thing that always comes back in the management of Elon Musk’s companies: deadlines.

The wealthiest man in the world has always been used to setting deadlines that border on the absurd. The rockets were built in a couple of months. Structural problems were solved in one night. Plans torn up in a matter of seconds. The case of Autopilot is now historic for Tesla investors: Elon Musk has been announcing the arrival of a fully self-driving Tesla since around 2016. However, the latest goal set for X seems even more risky than usual.

Antonino Caffo has been involved in journalism, particularly technology, for fifteen years. He is interested in topics related to the world of IT security but also consumer electronics. Antonino writes for the most important Italian generalist and trade publications. You can see him, sometimes, on television explaining how technology works, which is not as trivial for everyone as it seems.