The duo behind Twitter Crypto say NFT profile pics and crypto tipping are just the beginning.
YOU MIGHT HAVE heard of crypto Twitter, the corner of the social network where accounts have Bored Apes as profile pictures, posts are rife with talk of tokens, blockchains, and buying the Bitcoin dip, and Elon Musk is venerated.
Then again, you might have heard of Twitter Crypto, the business unit devoted to developing the social network’s strategy for cryptocurrency, blockchains, and that grab-bag of decentralized technologies falling under the rubric of Web3.The team’s unveiling came in November 2021 via a tweet from the newly hired project lead, Tess Rinearson, a Berlin-based American computer scientist whose career includes stints at blockchain companies such as Tendermint and Interchain.
Rinearson joined Twitter at a crucial moment. Jack Dorsey, the vociferously pro-Bitcoin company CEO, would leave a few weeks later, to be replaced by CTO Parag Agrawal. Agrawal had played an instrumental role in Bluesky, a Twitter-backed project to create a protocol—possibly with blockchain components—to build decentralized social networks.
As crypto went mainstream globally and crypto Twitter burgeoned, the company tried to dominate the space. Under the stewardship of product manager Esther Crawford, in September 2021 Twitter introduced a “tipping” feature that helps creators on Twitter to receive Bitcoin contributions through Lightning—a network for fast Bitcoin payments. In January, Twitter allowed subscribers of Twitter’s premium service, Twitter Blue, to flaunt their NFTs as hexagonal profile pictures, through a partnership with NFT marketplace OpenSea.
By Gian M. Volpicelli