Twitter will now allow people to tip their favorite content creators with bitcoin and will also launch a fund to pay some users who host audio chat rooms on its Spaces feature, the company said on Thursday.
The company also said it will test new ways to help users have a safer experience on Twitter, such as warning when people are entering a “heated” conversation, or letting them leave tweet threads they no longer want to be part of.
The product announcements are the latest in Twitter’s effort to compete with rival platforms like Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s YouTube for popular content creators with large followings, and turn around its image as a site where polarized discussions can fester online.
Twitter users globally on iOS devices can now send and receive digital payments, which was previously limited to a small group of testers.
“We believe we can continue to incentivize the types of conversations that people want to see,” said Esther Crawford, product lead for creator monetization at Twitter, in a briefing with reporters.
The San Francisco-based company added it is exploring how to allow users to filter out certain words they do not want to see in the replies to their tweets, which could be used to stop name-calling or abusive speech.
Created following the 2008 global financial crisis, bitcoin initially promoted a libertarian ideal and aspired to overthrow traditional monetary and financial institutions such as central banks.
The founding white paper, published on October 31, 2008, was penned by Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonym whose identity remains unknown.
The eight-page document included the key goal of processing online payments between two parties without passing via a financial institution.
A first block of 50 bitcoins was created in January 2009, which has risen to 18.8 million units currently in circulation.
No more than 21 million can be created, helping bitcoin’s price to trade way above its rivals.
Thousands of other cryptocurrencies have meanwhile since been created, led by the likes of ethereum, ripple and tether.
There are two ways to get hold of bitcoin. Historically, individuals have “mined” for it by using computers to solve complex mathematical puzzles.
But as bitcoin’s price soared, so did the number of miners, reducing the chances of accessing units this way.
Mining also requires huge amounts of energy, meaning the cost of accessing a bitcoin can exceed the gain, not withstanding the environmental impact amid global efforts to tackle climate change.
The alternative way is to buy a whole or fractions of bitcoin on an exchange platform using traditional currencies.
Purchased funds are held in protected virtual wallets, but with hacks still possible, some investors have decided to hold portfolios offline.