Updated Oct 31, 2022 - Economy

What we don't know about Elon Musk's Twitter takeover

Illustration of a Dogecoin as the sun in a sunrise.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It's possible — unlikely, but possible — that Elon Musk paid for a very large chunk of Twitter with billions of dollars he made investing in dogecoin, a joke cryptocurrency that Musk pumped aggressively in 2021 as it rose sharply in value.

Why it matters: We don't know — and might never know — who Musk's co-investors in Twitter are, and therefore who he's beholden to. We also don't know — and will never know — just how much Musk is worth.

  • The estimates of his net worth are just that — estimates — and could be wildly off, especially if he made a lot of money in crypto.

The intrigue: A dogecoin "whale" started buying millions of dollars of the cryptocurrency in February 2019. We know this because all transactions are public on the blockchain. We just don't know the identity of that whale.

By the numbers: The owner of this wallet ended up spending a net total of $382 million on dogecoin by February 2021.

  • Then the sales started — $9.876 billion in total.
  • The final profit: $9,469,897,692.

Be smart: We have no idea whether Musk is the owner of this wallet, although he has said that Dogecoin is one of only three cryptocurrencies that he's ever invested in.

  • We similarly don't have any kind of cap table for Twitter — a list of its new shareholders. We know that Musk is at the top of the list, and that crypto exchange Binance is in for $500 million. But most details of the ownership of Twitter are extremely murky.

The bottom line: As a private company, Twitter has very few reporting obligations. Eventually, if it issues bonds, some financials will become public. But for the time being, it's pretty much a black box.

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