Categories: Workspace

Twitter Works With Stripe On Crypto Payments Trial

Online payments giant Stripe is to work with Twitter to pilot cryptocurrency payments to creators, amidst a broader wave of large financial companies seeking to experiment with digital assets.

Stripe said it would begin offering merchants the ability to make payments using the stablecoin USDC, which is pegged to the US dollar, beginning with Twitter.

The $95 billion (£72.9bn) payments firm said it hopes to support additional currencies going forward.

Twitter said that starting immediately it would allow a limited number of creators receive their earnings from its paid Ticketed Spaces and Super Follows features in the USDC coin.

Crypto monetisation

The social media platform has been the subject of much discussion recently due to a potential takeover bid by Tesla and SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk – who became Twitter’s largest shareholder, with a 9 percent stake, earlier this month.

Twitter added the two monetisation features last year to integrate more into the “creator” economy and boost its revenues.

The payments are to be routed through the Polygon network, a crypto infrastructure on the Ethereum blockchain that’s designed to handle transactions faster and at a lower cost. Bitcoin, Ether and other digital currencies have in the past faced criticism over sluggish transaction times and high fees.

The USDC coins, which are issued by cryptocurrency firm Circle, can be held in wallets and exchanged into other currencies.

The payments are to be routed through Stripe Connect, Stripe’s online marketplace payments offering, which will also handle know-your-customer requirements, Stripe said.

Cryptocurrencies have received great attention in recent years due to their massive spike in value, but Stripe said it is also investigating their use as an open system for financial transactions.

Mainstream interest

“While the ‘store of value’ aspects of cryptocurrencies typically receive the most attention, we view the prospect of ‘open-access global financial rails’ as being at least equally compelling,” the firm said.

“As a result, we’ve been exploring ways to use cryptocurrency-based platforms to unlock broader access.”

Stripe added that it intends to “add support for additional rails and payout currencies over time”.

The company has experimented with cryptocurrencies in the past, supporting Bitcoin payments starting in 2014, but stopped the initial Bitcoin scheme in January 2018, citing the currency’s notorious price swings and lack of transaction efficiency.

More recently the firm last year formed a team dedicaed to exploring crypto and in November co-founder John Collinson suggested the company could soon begin supporting digital currencies again.

Visa, MasterCard and PayPal are amongst the large payments processors that have already announced their own moves into the market, at a time when Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were again seeing large price increases.

More recently, most major cryptocurrencies have experienced a slump that’s seen them drop sharply from record highs, with Bitcoin more than 40 percent down from a November peak of nearly $69,000.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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