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Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong says Elon Musk’s Twitter buy is ‘a great win for free speech’

April 27, 2022, 4:25 PM UTC

Since news broke that billionaire Elon Musk will be taking over Twitter, there’s been an outpouring of mixed reactions.

Some have said Musk’s approach to “free speech” on Twitter could make it more difficult for women to navigate the platform. Twitter employees have expressed worry, and one of its top executives even reportedly cried during a meeting. Others fear that Musk being in charge will ruin Twitter’s long-standing antiharassment efforts.

But among those in favor of Musk’s $44 billion buyout is Brian Armstrong, cofounder and CEO of Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges.

“Elon buying twitter is a great win for free speech, and probably changes the trajectory of the world more than most people realize,” Armstrong tweeted on Tuesday

Musk has repeatedly mentioned wanting to make Twitter a “platform for free speech.” Even before it was revealed that Musk took a 9.2% stake in Twitter in early April, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO asked his then 80 million followers: “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?”

While endorsing Musk’s Twitter takeover, Armstrong criticized the platform’s moderation policies, and complimented Musk on his acquisition.  

“Twitter is upstream of media and culture in many ways, and it was trending in a very dangerous direction on censorship,” Armstrong said on Tuesday. “Props to him for executing on it and taking on the challenge in a way most people could not even contemplate.” 

There are many ideas as to what Musk might change about Twitter once he’s in charge. In a press release announcing the acquisition, Musk outlined his vision:  

“I want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open-source to increase trust, defeating the spambots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential—I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”

The cryptocurrency community on Twitter has speculated that Musk might ultimately turn Twitter into a decentralized social media platform, or one not controlled by any one entity, like “Wall Street.”  Musk himself hasn’t mentioned this.

“Hopefully Twitter can be converted to a decentralized protocol over time, which would be the ultimate protection on it being co-opted again,” Armstrong said. “Freedom of all kinds is worth fighting for—economic, speech, due process, etc. We need more companies standing for freedom. The freedom stack.”

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