September 24, 2023

A dedicated crypto team is being established at Twitter, which is the latest push by Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of the social media company, of embracing decentralized apps and digital assets, along with the communities ballooning around them. Tess Rinearson is the latest hire of the social network who will be leading the newly established Twitter Crypto team and the company said that she will develop the strategy for the future of cryptocurrencies on and at Twitter. A well-known bitcoin enthusiast, Dorsey has long stated that he wants digital assets to be part of the company’s future, after he successfully integrated the option of bitcoin support two years ago at Square, a payments company that he runs. 

Twitter announced in September that they were introducing a new tool that would allow the users of the social platform to use Bitcoin for sending tips to others for the content. It had also added that it was developing a feature that would help in verifying non-fungible tokens (NFTs). These are digital collectibles that have become highly popular this year and they are even being used as profile pictures by some of the Twitter users out there. Rinearson will work under Parag Agarwal, the chief technology officer at Twitter. 

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She will have the responsibility of building on and overseeing these efforts and also work on an initiative of a broader decentralization of social media. Previously, she has worked at crypto groups like Interchain, which is a group that’s dedicated to developing open-source decentralized technologies and also. She has also worked at Interstellar, which is a decentralized exchange and crypto wallet. Regardless, there are some experts who believe that these efforts could end up cannibalizing the company’s existing business model that’s driven by advertisements. Likewise, there are also investors who believe that Dorsey’s fixation with bitcoin is nothing less than a distraction. 

Dorsey had been forced last year to cancel a months-long planned trip to Africa for exploring opportunities relating to cryptocurrencies because Elliot Management, New York activist investor, agitated that he be replaced as CEO due to corporate governance concerns. Twitter and Elliot later struck a deal that allowed Dorsey to remain at the helm if he would meet tougher performance targets. However, Silicon Valley is abuzz with the web3 movement that seeks to disrupt big tech companies that use central servers for storing user data and aim to monetize that data. 

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By contrast, this new ecosystem uses decentralized apps that run on public blockchains, which means that any one party will not collect the data and token-based rewards can be given to users for their participation. A number of social platforms, including Twitter, Discord and Reddit have hinted that they may also integrate decentralized apps and some of the concepts of the new ecosystem. Moreover, Rinearson will also be a part of Bluesky, which is an independent project that’s funded by Twitter and is designed for coming up with ways of decentralized social media. A single protocol is being developed that can allow social platforms and others to come up with more customized offerings. 

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