Elon Musk told his brother he wanted to build a blockchain-based social media platform, texts reveal.
Twitter expressed concern in the past that Musk could use its internal data to build a competitor.
The texts were made public in the discovery process during Musk’s court battle with Twitter.
Elon Musk shared an idea for a potential Twitter competitor with his brother Kimbal Musk ahead of offering to purchase the company, according to a series of private texts that were released amid Musk’s court battle with Twitter.
“I think a new social media company is needed that is based on a blockchain and includes payments,” Musk texted Kimbal Musk on April 10, the same day he announced he would no longer be joining Twitter’s board of directors.
The billionaire had outlined his idea for the social media company the day before.
“I have an idea for a blockchain social media system that does both payments and short text messages/links like Twitter,” Musk texted Kimbal Musk on April 9. “You have to pay a tiny amount to register your message on the chain, which will cut out the vest majority of spam and bots. There is no throat to choke, so free speech is guaranteed.”
Musk said the site would have a “massive real-time database” that would keep permanent copies of messages and followers and a “Twitter-like app on your phone” that can access the database in the cloud.
“This could be massive,” Musk texted his younger brother.
A few days after sending the messages, Musk offered to buy Twitter for $44 billion.
Kimbal Musk appeared to support the idea, telling his brother it could be a social media company that cuts back on ads by allowing users to “pay for use” and could allow users to vote off scam accounts.
“I’d love to learn more,” Kimbal Musk responded at the time. “I’ve dug deep on Web3 (not crypto as much) and the voting powers are amazing and verified. Lots you could do here for this as well.”
“It drives me crazy when I see people promoting the scam that you’re giving away Bitcoin,” Kimbal Musk wrote. “Lots of bad people out there.”
The two brothers appeared to meet up to discuss the idea, according to a text from Kimbal Musk on April 11. Musk’s righthand man Jared Birchall later presented Musk with recommendations for a software engineer “to speak with about the blockchain idea” on April 21.
“Great to hang yesterday,” Kimbal Musk said. “I’d love to help think through the structure of the Doge social media idea. Let me know how I can help.”
But, the conversation around a “Doge” social media platform does not appear again in the publicly available text messages.
Twitter has expressed concern in its lawsuit against Musk that the billionaire would use internal data from the company to build a competitor. In August, the Tesla CEO teased his blank website “X.com” as a potential Twitter competitor.
The text messages were revealed as a part of a trove of unredacted messages between Musk and several of Silicon Valley’s most powerful players, including Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison, and former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. The messages are part of the pretrial discovery process in the court battle between Twitter and Musk.
The five-day trial that will determine whether Musk will be forced to buy Twitter is set to start on October 17.
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