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Twitter will let users tip with bitcoin, explores way to showcase NFTs

The social media company is rolling out its tipping feature globally today.

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Twitter has been testing new features as it tries to rope in more users.

James Martin/CNET

Twitter said Thursday that users worldwide will be able to tip others with bitcoin, the popular digital currency. The company is also exploring a way for users to track and showcase nonfungible tokens, a new form of crypto assets, on the platform.

NFTs can be used to represent the ownership of unique digital or physical items such as art, music and even a tweet. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, for example, sold his first tweet as a NFT for $2.9 million.

Dorsey, who also runs payment company Square, is a well-known fan of cryptocurrency so it isn't entirely surprising Twitter is examining how the social network fits into this space. Twitter product manager Esther Crawford said digital currencies make it easier for people around the world to get paid, noting that 2 billion people don't use traditional banking services.

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Twitter's tipping feature includes an option for bitcoin.

Twitter

"We want everyone to have access to pathways to get paid," she said during a press conference. "Digital currencies that encourage more people to participate in the economy and help people send each other money across borders and with as little friction as possible, help us get there." Twitter has been testing tipping but will roll it out globally first to iPhone users and then on Android. Twitter said users can provide their bitcoin address or use a payments app called Strike to send bitcoin tips. Users can also tip with other third-party payment services, including Bandcamp, Cash App, Patreon, PayPal and Venmo.

Crawford said Twitter is looking into NFT authentication. That could come in the form of a badge or the shape of an avatar that gives insight about the origin of a NFT.

The release of the new features underscores how quickly Twitter has been testing new products as it tries to entice more people to use its site. The company has also been doubling down on live audio and said it's putting together a fund for creators who use its live-audio product, Spaces. It's also planning to let people record and replay live audio chats.

Twitter is testing more safety features as well, including a tool that'll autoblock accounts that are similar to the ones users have already blocked, the ability to remove yourself from a conversation, and a way to filter out tweets with offensive words. It's also exploring a tool that'll give users a heads-up if they're about to enter a potentially heated discussion.

Kayvon Beykpour, Twitter's head of consumer product, said the company will be gathering feedback as it tests more features.

"We're trying to push the envelope to evolve the product [and] solve really important and tricky problems," he said.