It seems Elon Musk’s Twitter is working on a new scheme to make money from the platform. The service appears to be experimenting with an in-app currency called “coins” meant to help creators earn money from the platform, according to screenshots shared by two app researchers.
The feature has been spotted in recent days by Jane Manchun Wong and Nima Owji, app researchers who often publish images of unreleased features. According to their posts, coins appear to be an extension of Twitter’s existing tipping feature. “Coins allow you to support creators who Tweet great content,” reads a screenshot shared by Wong and Owji. An image shared by Owji back in December showed a new “Coins” tab in the same section where users can keep track of their tips.
For now, it’s unclear exactly what Twitter’s plans are for coins or when the feature could launch. The company, which no longer employs communications staff, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. But the screenshots suggest Twitter is at least considering featuring coins prominently in its app as both Wong and Owji spotted it in the main sidebar.
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) January 5, 2023
But coins may not be just for tipping. Wong also spotted an “Awards” feature, which allows people to use coins to buy in-app gifts for others. According to the image shared by Wong, users would be able to buy gifts for as little as one coin (called “Mind Blown”) or as much as 5000 (called “Gold”). It’s not clear how much coins will cost, though Twitter would presumably get a cut of revenue generated from coin purchases.
So far, Elon Musk doesn’t seem to have publicly weighed in on coins or awards, but he has spoken broadly about wanting more ways for creators to be rewarded. He’s said that Twitter Blue revenue would potentially “give Twitter a revenue stream to reward content creators” and that “creator monetization for all forms of content” is also in the works.
It’s also worth noting that despite the “coins’ moniker, the feature doesn’t seem to have any cryptocurrency tie-ins, at least for now. “Twitter Coin is still under development and we don't even have any evidence that it's something related to crypto,” Owji noted. “Don’t let the scammers fool you.”