Twitter is turning on the ability to ask for tips in Bitcoin through its app, making it the first major social network to encourage use of the cryptocurrency as a method of payment. The company also plans to let users connect their crypto wallets and authenticate the ownership of NFTs they tweet with a special badge.
Twitter has been testing tipping for a few months now, but the company hasn’t made tips widely available until Thursday, when the feature is rolling out globally on iOS with Android to follow. Besides Bitcoin, Twitter will let users connect nine traditional payment providers, including Venmo and Cash App, to their profiles to accept tips. Twitter isn’t processing the payments itself.
The Bitcoin tips are facilitated by Strike, a Bitcoin wallet app that runs on the Lightning Network protocol. Lightning is designed to enable faster and cheaper transactions using Bitcoin. The company behind it has received funding from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, a staunch Bitcoin advocate who tweeted in June that it was “only a matter of time” before Twitter supported payments via the protocol.
Strike works in all US states except New York and Hawaii, and the country of El Salvador. In addition to their Strike usernames, Twitter users will also be able to add their Bitcoin addresses to their profile, which people can then copy and paste into their crypto wallet of choice to send tips.
Twitter’s app will notify someone when they receive a Bitcoin tip via Strike, letting them quickly reply to the tipper to say thanks or send an emoji reaction. Twitter will also generate invoices for creators to track the tips they receive. “Bitcoin represents one of the best solutions” for enabling people to transact in underbanked regions of the world, Esther Crawford, Twitter’s product lead for creator monetization, said Thursday during a call with reporters.
Bitcoin isn't the extent of Twitter’s crypto plans: the company said it is also planning to support authentication for NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, by letting people connect their crypto wallets. “NFT authentication will come in the form of a badge, shown on profile pictures, marking the owner’s NFT as authentic,” a company spokesperson said.
NFTs have recently boomed in popularity as a way to buy and trade digital art on the Ethereum blockchain. A few months ago, the main Twitter account did a giveaway of NFTs that were minted on a marketplace called Rarible.