Elon Musk has become Twitter’s largest shareholder, a twist that likely portends more questionable ‘crypto’ shilling by the Tesla boss.
On Monday, word broke that Musk had taken a 9.2% stake in Twitter worth nearly $3 billion. While the investment represents only around 1% of Musk’s overall net worth, it does make him Twitter’s largest shareholder. On Tuesday, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal revealed that Musk would also be given a seat on the company’s board of directors.
Musk appeared to have been building his Twitter stake on the sly, although Agrawal said he’d been having “conversations with Elon in recent weeks.” Barely one week ago, Musk had declared that Twitter’s “failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy” and (rhetorically, it seems) asked “Is a new platform needed?”
Musk’s board seat will prevent him from increasing his Twitter stake beyond 14.9%, which for the moment alleviates any concerns that Musk was looking for a complete takeover of the social media giant. Indeed, Musk’s reply to Paraga’s tweet stated that he was “looking forward to working with Parag & Twitter to make significant improvements in couple months!”
It’s unclear whether Musk sincerely desires to improve Twitter to preserve ‘democracy’ or whether he simply believes that buying a major stake will allow him to tweet whatever he likes—like calling someone ‘pedo guy’—without fear that he’ll be struck off the platform.
Typically, Musk immediately conducted yet another of his infamous polls on whether Twitter users would welcome the ability to edit tweets after they’re posted. The response was nearly three-quarters in favor of an edit button, notwithstanding widespread concerns of the nefarious possibilities a bad actor could enjoy with the ability to revise a message after it’s gone viral. This new edit feature will certainly come in handy for some of the popular BTC maxis trying to remain credible once they come to the realization they have been shilling the wrong Bitcoin for years.
Begone, crypto spam bots! Welcome, Doge spam bots!
Musk may have tipped his hand as to his personal Twitter revamp priorities by agreeing with someone who urged him to “do something about these Crypto spam bots,” something Musk called the “single most annoying problem on twitter imo.” Musk is a supporter of verified accounts, which he believes would do a lot to reduce Twitter’s “troll/bot networks” problems.
Musk himself hasn’t been shy about promoting certain digital assets online, particularly Dogecoin, which he has called “my fav cryptocurrency” and “the people’s crypto”. Musk has made it possible to buy Tesla merch with Dogecoin and once offered to “eat a happy meal on tv if @mcDonalds accepts Dogecoin.” Musk’s reveal of his Twitter stake was enough to send Dogecoin up nearly 10% on Monday and the gains continued on Tuesday.
Given Musk’s quirky/mercurial makeup, it’s never really been clear how much of this pro-Doge view is sincere and how much is trolling supporters of other digital assets. Musk has publicly admitted owning BTC and ETH along with Doge, all of which he generally lumped into the category of “ascii hash strings” while advising the masses not to “bet the farm on crypto!”
Early last year, Musk revealed that Tesla had acquired $1.5 billion worth of BTC with the idea of eventually allowing purchases of vehicles via the token. This idea was soon scrapped but in the interim Tesla unloaded 10% of its BTC stake, realizing a tidy profit off Musk’s ability to manipulate public perception to his own end.
Although not everyone was buying it, Musk cited BTC’s heavy carbon footprint as the primary reason to halt BTC-based sales. (You know you’re dealing with someone possessing absolutely obscene wealth when you watch him try to justify spending $1.5 billion to acquire something he allegedly understood so poorly.)
Despite Musk’s public concern over the environment, he has so far yet to accept invitations to learn more about the Bitcoin SV blockchain, which leads all other blockchains in energy efficiency due to its ability to process vastly more transactions per block than the woefully inefficient BTC. (More on this later.)
BTC must be good for… something?
Musk may have previously voiced countless criticisms of Twitter but he has been far more charitable toward the platform’s founder Jack Dorsey. The former Twitter CEO is a diehard backer of BTC, which he claims will ultimately become the “native currency” of the internet and will also replace the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency, despite Dorsey copping to the fact that BTC “does not have the capabilities right now to become an effective currency.” (Nor will it. Ever.)
Last July, Dorsey, Musk and ARK Invest CEO Cathie Wood discussed all things BTC at a virtual conference. When the subject of carbon footprint came up, Musk claimed that if BTC’s percentage of renewable energy usage was ever “at or above 50%” and continuing an upward trend, Tesla would reconsider accepting BTC as payment again. (Although that won’t resolve the token’s incoherent volatility, which will still require customers to navigate the dreaded BTC ‘Price Window’.)
Musk also pushed back on Dorsey’s predictions of BTC vanquishing the U.S. dollar anytime soon, noting that “transaction volume is low, transaction cost is high, and usability for the average person is not yet good.” Musk added that BTC “simply cannot scale to replace the monetary system of the world at the base layer.”
Musk again displayed the limits of his grasp of the digital asset space by claiming that he ‘understood’ that the BTC layer-2 solution Lightning Network “is doing well in some small countries.” This was an apparent reference to the ongoing experiment in El Salvador, which continues to be exposed as great for the wealthy BTC Maxi tourists who hang around ‘Bitcoin Beach’ but of utterly no use for local residents.
Musk said it was worth looking beyond BTC for a technology that offered “higher max transaction rates and lower transaction costs and seeing how far you could take a single-layer network.” Again, Musk acted as if he’d never heard of BSV, which continues to set new records for transactions-per-block with transaction fees measured in thousands of a cent.
As if that wasn’t enough, Musk went on to state that “the average person’s not going to run a Bitcoin node,” essentially agreeing with Bitcoin creator Dr. Craig Wright, author of the original Bitcoin white paper. Since Musk appears to support Wright’s vision, and Wright is a firm BSV blockchain supporter, it begs the question: why on earth isn’t Musk on Team BSV?
The answer to Musk’s knowledge gap and/or anti-BSV prejudice may stem from his dealings with Dorsey, who is bankrolling the cabal known as COPA that is out to undermine Dr. Wright by challenging his authorship of the white paper. COPA, which was formed while Dorsey was still running Twitter, recently welcomed Mark Zuckerberg and Meta/Facebook—another Web2 titan—as a paid-up member seeking to contain Wright’s growing influence.
Not surprisingly, Dorsey is also solidly against the evolution of the internet into the more decentralized Web3, which would rely on blockchain technology to handle a heretofore unimaginable number of daily transactions. Suffice it to say, BTC’s woeful transaction capacity isn’t up to the task. BSV is.
Last December, Dorsey and Musk did a straight-man-set-up-funny-man-punchline routine seemingly intent on strangling Web3 in its digital womb. The irony here is high, as a blockchain-based social network would impose far greater limits on those ‘troll/bot networks’ that Musk despises than the Web2 holdover in which Musk just invested $3b.
Musk is often described as a visionary for helping to spur advancement in electric-powered vehicles, space travel and numerous other tech sectors. Sad then, that he remains such a Luddite in his support of blockchain technology that cannot meet the demands of the here and now, let alone the future.
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