Experts weigh in on Elon Musk’s “super app” idea for Twitter

Credit: Yuri Samoilov [CC BY 2.0]

It is no secret that Elon Musk has pondered the idea of creating a “super app” of sorts in the United States. A super app or “everything app” is a multi-use application that includes numerous features, from money transfers to social media to online shopping, food deliveries, video games, and more.  

Musk has noted in a previous podcast appearance that it would be great to copy and paste what China has done with WeChat, which the CEO noted has become a runaway success in the country. As per several experts, however, such an idea is easier said than done. 

In a comment to Insider, Christopher Miller, an emerging payments analyst at Javelin, noted that a super app would need to incentivize users to sign up for its services, similar to how a user downloads Venmo since their network of friends likely use it. But while Twitter already has a robust network of users, it might be challenging to encourage those on the platform to use it for other services 

“Why are people on a given network in the first place? If they’re there for the social effects, sure, they might use the financial products, but they’re not going to come for the financial products,” Miller said. 

Jason Mikula, a fintech analyst and author of Fintech Business Weekly, also argued that Elon Musk’s divisive online persona might bog down Twitter’s super app potential. “I really have to wonder what rational, responsible business executive would want to depend on or partner with Elon and with Twitter just given the reputation,” the analyst said. 

Another fintech and payments analyst told the publication that he does not expect any incumbents to immediately jump the gun and commit to work with Elon Musk’s Twitter. “I don’t see a world where any incumbent player is like, ‘Oh yeah, partnering with Twitter is really gonna help us. It will predominantly be the newer, younger players that are looking for the potential customers that Twitter could bring,” the analyst said. 

That being said, Richard Turrin, a fintech consultant and author of the book “Cashless,” is optimistic about the idea. This is Elon Musk, after all, and divisive online persona or not, the CEO is known for making difficult things work. Musk is known as a hard worker, and he is well experienced in the online payments industry thanks to his work with, which eventually became PayPal. Turrin noted that if there is anyone who could build a super app in the US, it would be Musk. 

“I think the strategy’s wonderful. I just think that the implementation will be longer and harder than most make it out to be because suddenly you’re entering the payment and finance world, and that has a whole lot of issues, including the fact that KYC has to be more than the blue check mark,” Musk said.

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Experts weigh in on Elon Musk’s “super app” idea for Twitter
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