SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter on Thursday began allowing high-profile users to get tips in bitcoin as the network steps up its wooing of the content creators essential to drawing crowds online.
Platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube have built their popularity among young people in large part because of these social media stars.
Attracting and keeping creators and their audience has therefore become crucial for the tech companies battling to attract an audience — and advertising profits.
“We want Twitter to be the best place for creators to have conversations with their fans, and to monetize their audience, all in the way that works best for them,” product lead Esther Crawford told a reporter.
The platform says it does not take a cut of the bitcoin tips.
Twitter has been testing a tipping option that is being rolled out globally to versions of its app tailored for Apple mobile devices, with bitcoin as a currency option.
Some 2 billion people don’t use traditional banking services, so digital currency could help some make money from Twitter crowds, according to Crawford.
“Cryptocurrency, like Twitter, operates without global barriers,” she said.
Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey has endorsed digital currency, and his financial payments startup Square is working on a real-world wallet for safely pocketing bitcoin.
Dorsey has reasoned in tweets that bitcoin is a currency for the masses.
Twitter was also working on a system to offer verification of NFTs — non-fungible tokens — that are at the heart of a digital collecting boom.
Sales of NFTs, virtual images of anything from popular internet memes to original artwork, have swept the art world, with some fetching millions of dollars at major auction houses.
Twitter also said it is ramping up tools for users to keep exchanges on the platform civil or avoid wading into unexpectedly contentious online conversations.
“We all know you may start a conversation and things will get heated or off the rails at times you would not expect,” said conversation safety product lead Christine Su.
Tools being explored by Twitter include improving tools for filtering out comments considered offensive, and giving people a “heads up” prompt when they are joining a potentially heated conversation on the platform.