Tips is a new integrated tipping service on Twitter that allows users to add links to third-party payment services, including bitcoin wallets and Lightning Network services, on their profiles. The new tool is designed to be more seamless than sharing third-party payment usernames via tweets and involves embedding links directly into your Twitter profile.
The tipping tool was first introduced in May 2021 as an exclusive feature for selected users and was later rolled out to more users on Sept. 23, 2021.
How does Tips work?
The first thing you need to have at the back of your mind is that Tips is currently available to iOS users only. This means web and Android users may have to wait a while before they can start enjoying this feature.
For those interested in tipping other users, the first thing you need to check is the recipient’s eligibility to receive tips. Users that can accept tips or have activated this feature have a Tips icon, which resembles a fiat bill, next to the Follow button on their Twitter profile. By clicking this icon, you get to see all of the payment services accepted by the user. Twitter will automatically direct you to the third-party payment service where the transactions can be executed. The supported payment services are:
- Bitcoin wallet
- Strike (Bitcoin Lightning Network)
- Cash App
- Wealthsimple Cash
Note that the availability of these services is dependent on where users are located. The only payment networks available globally are Bitcoin and the Lightning options.
How to tip with bitcoin on Twitter
Although there is a wide range of payment methods supported by Tips, we will be focusing more on those options enabling bitcoin transactions. To send bitcoin-denominated tips, you can either use a bitcoin wallet or execute the transaction via Strike, which is a bitcoin Lightning Network service.
Send tips via bitcoin wallets
The bitcoin wallet payment feature is as simple as they come. Follow the steps below to send tips denominated in bitcoin to Twitter users.
- Click the Tips icon on the recipient’s Twitter profile to confirm that a bitcoin wallet transfer is supported. If bitcoin payment is supported, there will be a bitcoin wallet address attached to the profile.
- You can copy this address and paste it in the recipient address field on your bitcoin wallet to send bitcoin directly to the Twitter user.
Sending bitcoin tips via Lightning Network
Alternatively, you can tip Twitter users with bitcoin via Light Network-enabled Strike. It is important to explain how Lightning Network and Strike work before discussing the steps involved.
- What is Lightning Network? Lightning Network is a secondary payment layer built on the Bitcoin network to initiate cheap and fast transactions. Note that it takes up to an hour for a bitcoin transaction to be finalized on the Bitcoin blockchain. By using the Lightning Network, users can sidestep this time-consuming process by executing instant transactions between multiple channels on the Lightning Network before registering the final state on the blockchain.
- For example, Bob and Alice can initiate several instant bitcoin transactions between themselves via a bidirectional payment channel on the Lightning Network without communicating the details of each transaction to the Bitcoin blockchain. Here, all they need to do is register the final state of their wallet balances to the Bitcoin blockchain.
- What is Strike? Strike is an app that provides Lightning Network services to users for instant and free bitcoin transactions. Think of it as a seamless payment service like Cashapp and PayPal that uses Bitcoin’s secondary layer – instead of traditional fiat rails – to facilitate transactions across borders. Because Strike does not charge extra fees on payment executed via its Lightning Network, it is ideal for micropayments.
How to use Strike to tip on Twitter
Note that Strike is only available to people in the U.S. (excluding those living in New York and Hawaii) and El Salvador. First you have to create and fund an account on Strike or any other Lightning Network supported service before you can start using it as a channel to tip Twitter users. Once you have set up a Strike account, you can head to Twitter and continue the following steps:
- Confirm that the Twitter user supports Strike by clicking on the Tips icon on the user profile to view the supported third-party payment service.
- You can choose from the default amounts ranging from $1 to $10 or opt for a custom setting where you can manually insert the amount you want to send.
- After selecting an amount, click on Next. You will be directed to a new page where you can add a comment, which will be delivered along with the tip notification to the recipient. Lastly, you will be directed to your Strike app, where you can confirm the transaction.
It is worth mentioning that you can send bitcoin from your Strike account to a bitcoin wallet address. However, unlike executing bitcoin transactions between two Strike accounts, transferring bitcoin from a Strike account to a bitcoin wallet address incurs network fees.
How to start receiving bitcoin tips?
To receive bitcoin tips, you need to first confirm your eligibility status by going to your profile page and clicking the Edit Profile button. If you find a Tips option here, you are eligible to use this feature. Below are the steps required to activate Tips:
- Click on the Tips option to activate the feature. Note that you will have to agree to Twitter’s General Tipping Policy before you can continue the process.
- Once you have agreed to the rule governing this service, you will be directed to a settings screen. Here, you have to toggle the Allow tips button on and choose from any of the bitcoin-enabled options listed among the supported third-party services.
- If Strike is your preferred option, you need to add your Strike username to complete the process. Alternatively, you can add a bitcoin wallet address. After successfully adding a Strike username or bitcoin wallet address, a Tips icon will automatically appear on your profile.
Why is this feature important?
1. It exemplifies Twitter’s commitment to its emerging content economy
For a while now, Twitter has been introducing new features designed to promote more conversations and improve user experience. Having built a strong following and user base, the next step is to induce more engagements and entice content creators to spend more time on the platform. It is safe to say that the introduction of Tips showcases Twitter’s intent to enable a content economy designed around a tipping system. With this, users can tip their favorite content creators, appreciate a gesture or even support businesses. Additionally, Tips can also be used to contribute financially to an important cause.
2. Tips introduces bitcoin to Twitter’s ecosystem
More importantly, the introduction of Tips marks the first bitcoin implementation on Twitter. Jack Dorsey had previously hinted that it was only a matter of time before Twitter began to adopt bitcoin in one capacity or the other. The decision to incorporate Bitcoin and the Lightning Network as part of the supported payment methods on Tips shows that bitcoin can play a pivotal role in the ongoing push for content monetization.