Jaime González Gasque
Twitter may one day look more like WeChat Pay, the digital payments service of Chinese messaging app
Ark Invest founder Cathie Wood thinks Elon Musk might be onto something with his vision for Twitter.
“He’s thinking about a super app like WeChat Pay,” Wood said at the Web Summit technology conference in Lisbon, Portugal, Wednesday.
Wood was referring to the digital payments service of Chinese messaging app WeChat. It is used often in China for things like instant messaging, social media and payments.
WeChat has been touted as the archetype of a phenomenon known as “super apps.” These apps act as all-in-one platforms that serve a range of user needs spanning instant messaging, banking and travel.
Tesla CEO Musk has already hinted at plans to make Twitter a super app. Last month, he tweeted that buying Twitter was an “accelerant to creating X, the everything app.” “Remember [Musk] started in the payments industry ... he sold his company to PayPal,” Wood said. “He and [Twitter co-founder] Jack Dorsey working together, I think, could turn this into a super app.”
What is a super app, and why haven’t they gone global?
Twitter could in future look more like a digital wallet, Wood said: “So you do all your banking there, maybe there’s something they’re doing with Cash App,” the online payments app developed by Dorsey’s fintech firm Square.
“You do all your shopping there, you get your loans there — it’s your bank branch in a pocket,” she added. “I think they can get this done.” Wood, a noted Tesla bull, said Ark has invested in Twitter as part of Musk’s $44 billion deal to take the company private.
″[Musk] truly believes in vertical integration,” she said, adding Twitter “would be a magnificent vertical integration.”
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“He already has designed and is manufacturing the ultimate mobile device, the internet on wheels — it’s called Tesla cars,” she added.
Still, Musk’s takeover of the firm is the subject of significant scrutiny by regulators and civil rights activists who fear he may allow harmful content to proliferate. Addressing these concerns, Wood said the “darkness” of Twitter was in its “opacity” around content moderation decisions. “We didn’t see the algorithms and how they were working,” she said.
She added she thinks Musk could turn Twitter into open-source software, where the code can be reviewed, modified and shared by the public.