Most of the world is focused on what Elon Musk’s victory in his attempt to buy Twitter means to free speech and how it will affect one of the world’s largest and most important social media sites.
Crypto fans of the world’s richest man, on the other hand, are focused on what it means for it for Musk’s favorite cryptocurrency, dogecoin, which is back in the top 10 after spiking 30% on Monday (April 25) after the news of the Twitter board’s agreement hit.
And in the payments business, it’s time to start thinking about dogecoin’s potential as a real currency. Particularly in light of Twitter’s recent partnership with payments processor Stripe, which announced last week that Twitter was using its service to allow payments to businesses and freelancers via the USD Coin stablecoin, with “support for other currencies and rails” coming soon, CEO John Collison tweeted on April 22.
The thing is, the three are not unrelated.
Elon’s Bully Pulpit
There are few places where the power of Musk’s Twitter influence has been clearer than with his influence on the memecoin known by its picture of a shiba inu dog saying “wow.” We’ve written in the past about his ability to move crypto markets — bitcoin jumped 20% in January 2021 when he added “#bitcoin” to his Twitter profile — but when it comes to dogecoin, the power of Musk’s patronage really becomes clear.
After he began tweeting about it last year, DOGE — which by design had no uses — literally jumped from a cryptocurrency that spent seven years at less than one one-hundredth of a penny to a top 10 cryptocurrency worth as much as $0.168 today, giving it a market capitalization of $20.7 billion at this writing.
If you want an indication of Musk’s success in using Twitter as a communications platform even before buying Twitter stock, note his 66-million-follower count in December of 2021 when his tweet had the ability to “moon” dogecoin.
The price of DOGE jumped 20% a month later after Musk, wearing his Tesla CEO hat, announced that the electric car company would accept dogecoin for accessories — not cars.
Nor is this influence something new or limited to crypto. Back in June 2018, Wired published an article titled “Elon Musk and the Unnerving Influence of Twitter’s Power Users” that looked at the platforms’ “power users’” ability to influence issues. At the time, the article said, Musk had 21 million Twitter followers.
He’s also moved other companies, as CNBC noted at the time of the 20% bitcoin bump. It cited the maker of the Cyberpunk 2077 computer game (up 12%), Etsy (9%) as well as the odd case of a small manufacturing firm Signal Advance, which saw its stock — briefly— jump more than 1,100% in January 2021 after a Musk tweet praising the completely unrelated Signal messaging app.
Musk now has 85 million Twitter followers.
And as for payments? Dogecoin’s newly reactivated foundation board includes both the creator of ethereum and a Musk representative. The DOGE token is having its code rewritten to make it usable as a smart-contract platform and, most notably, is on its way to becoming a real payments currency.
It’s supported by cryptocurrency payments processor BitPay, which saw its first DOGE customer — the Dallas Mavericks — a year ago. Now other customers including movie theater chain AMC accept it, and the CEO of crypto and stock exchange Robinhood said it has the potential to become “the future currency of the internet.”
Musk already suggested having dogecoin join bitcoin as a currency for tipping content creators, launching a Twitter poll shortly after acquiring 9.2% of the company earlier this month.
Once he’s done adding an edit feature and loosening its post-2020 election account censoring policies, it’s a fair bet that dogecoin will capture his attention once again.
Which is likely what inspired a fair chunk of people who drove DOGE up 30% yesterday.