If you are the richest person on the planet, you are building a private planetary Internet, you have got your hands on a digital communication network that reaches 300 million people, and you know how to create a new economy that is protected from governments… what are you doing?
Elon Musk is a serial builder. He is the archetype of the techno entrepreneur modeled on Silicon Valley, where money flows enough to allow all dreams to come true. It is not for nothing that the enormous suburbs of San Francisco saw the birth of other libertarians like him. Take Peter Thiel, otherwise one of the most prominent transhumanists.
Transhumanism is this school of thought according to which technologies that will extend human life indefinitely will soon see the light of day. A combination of genetics, artificial intelligence and biology. The first to benefit from this are obviously the richest people. If that happens, we’ll call it a “singularity.” A technological event of such importance that it exceeds human ability to control its effects.
What Thiel wants to do for biological life, Elon Musk has all the tools at hand to do it on the communication side. He runs SpaceX, a company that has already caused a small revolution in the space industry by lowering the price of launching all kinds of satellites into orbit.
On the lot are several thousand satellites that SpaceX is deploying in low Earth orbit and gradually bringing its Starlink Internet network to life. A network that, promised Elon Musk, will only serve regions of the world neglected by current regional providers. It’s a promise that’s too easy to overturn the day when the entire planet will be covered and when Musk will impose his global Internet service by slashing prices. Wanting to be alone, he cannot be controlled by any government.
Starlink is now available in Quebec, and not just in the most remote regions.
Musk officially got his hands on Twitter at the end of October. He has, in the past, expressed his desire to create an application that will compete with the Chinese platform WeChat. WeChat is a public and private messenger, a mobile payment method and an e-commerce platform. Facebook, WhatsApp and Amazon all in one.
The US$44 billion that Musk advanced to take Twitter private actually comes from institutions that are likely to help the billionaire make the application more attractive to increase its value. The WeChat strategy seems appropriate.
Twitter, currently, is the smallest of the big social networks. At least 15% of the population consult it at least once. It has just over 300 million users worldwide, and among them, only half visit it regularly. Facebook has 3 billion subscribers. TikTok reached the billion mark a year ago.
More “light” than its two rivals, Twitter can be seen as a project that still has interesting potential and growth is still to come. Some already have very good ideas of what Musk should do to revive the app.
An intriguing idea: make Twitter the leader of Web3. That’s what Changpeng Zhao, the founder of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, offers. Binance took a $500 million stake in Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter.
Musk, an ardent fan of the dogecoin cryptocurrency, could add a digital wallet feature to Twitter and use the cryptocurrency to facilitate all kinds of transactions right on his platform, without going to the bank. This would be a good example of “decentralized finance”, or “DeFi”, if it is called a cross between finance and techno.
Elon Musk has already hinted that he could also use blockchain to verify the authenticity of users and their messages, the best way he believes to eliminate fake accounts and relentless spam.
This digital wallet can serve as a vault for its users’ data created on third-party apps or websites. Twitter is in a way the digital identification key of a decentralized Internet that already has a name: the Web3. This new type of Web is designed to escape government control and the hegemony of platforms like Google, Apple and Facebook.
Like cryptocurrencies, Web3 is developing these days in the blind spot of the authorities, and is obviously very popular with a part of the population that has lost faith in the current “system”.
Musk, we know, wants to talk to these people. He also hates being responsible to the authorities, financial, political or otherwise. Unsurprisingly, he was in the process of freeing himself from all that. And by combining Starlink, Twitter and Web3, not only will this be achieved, but it will also engage hundreds of millions of people around the world.