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FoundedMarch 1999; 24 years ago (1999-03)
Palo Alto, California, U.S.
  • Elon Musk
  • Harris Fricker
  • Christopher Payne
  • Ed Ho
Defunct2000; 23 years ago (2000)
FateMerged March 2000 with Confinity to form PayPal
Elon Musk reacquired the domain 2017

X.com was an online bank co-founded by Elon Musk, Harris Fricker, Christopher Payne, and Ed Ho in 1999 in Palo Alto, California. In 2000, X.com merged with competitor Confinity Inc., a software company also based in Palo Alto. Musk was attracted to Confinity because of its easy payment system. The merged company changed its name to PayPal. eBay bought PayPal for US$1.5 billion in 2002. In 2015, PayPal was spun off and became an independent company.

Business model[edit]

X.com was an early online bank, and deposits were insured by the FDIC. The company was initially funded by Elon Musk and Greg Kouri, who went on to fund Musk's later ventures: Tesla and his startup, SpaceX.[1]

Customers were not assessed fees or overdraft penalties; in fact, they were rewarded for signing up with a $20 cash card and a $10 card for new member referrals. These features were distinct for their time. For instance, customers could send money to another person by entering their email address into X.com.[2] Additionally, customers could open an account strictly with online registration with no need to mail a check.[3]


Throughout the 1990s, Elon Musk envisioned creating a full-service online bank that provided checking and savings accounts, brokerages, and insurance.[4] Musk commented in a 1999 interview with CBS MarketWatch: "I think we're at the third stage now where people are ready to use the Internet as their main financial repository."[3]

In January 1999, Musk formally began planning an online bank while in the process of selling his company Zip2. A month after Zip2 was purchased by Compaq, Musk invested about $12 million into co-founding X.com in March 1999 with Harris Fricker, Christopher Payne, and Ed Ho.[5][6] Fricker worked with Musk when Musk was an intern at the Bank of Nova Scotia, Payne was a friend of Fricker, and Ho was an engineer at Silicon Graphics and executive at Zip2.[7] The company was initially run from a house before moving to an office in Palo Alto, California.[8] Due to conflict on how to run the company, Musk fired Fricker five months after x.com had started, and the other two co-founders, Payne and Ho left consequently. [9][10]

X.com officially launched on December 7, 1999, with former Intuit CEO Bill Harris serving as the inaugural CEO.[11][3] Within two months, X.com attracted over 200,000 signups.[12]

In March 2000, X.com merged with Confinity, its fiercest competitor, the new company being called X.com.[13] Musk was its biggest shareholder and was appointed as its CEO. Started in 1998, Confinity's product PayPal enabled users with PalmPilots to send money to each other through its infrared ports.[14][15] Subsequently, PayPal developed to allow users to send money using email and the web.[15]

In September 2000, when Musk was in Australia for a honeymoon trip, the X.com board voted for a change of CEO from Musk to Peter Thiel, the co-founder of Confinity. In June 2001, X.com was renamed PayPal.[16]

On October 3, 2002, eBay purchased PayPal for US$1.5 billion.[17][18]

In July 2015, PayPal was spun off to become an independent, publicly traded company.[19]

On July 5, 2017, Musk repurchased the domain name X.com from PayPal.[20][21] He explained later that he bought the website because "it has great sentimental value".[22]

On July 14, 2017, X.com was launched again, consisting of a blank white page with one "x" in the top left corner,[23] and a custom error page displaying a "y".[24][25] The site displays this way due to having nothing in its source code except the single letter "x". In December 2017, X.com redirected visitors to The Boring Company's website, which Musk also owns. This was done in order to advertise a hat sale.[25]

Elon Musk Twitter

Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app

Oct 4, 2022[26]

On October 4, 2022 Elon Musk described his acquisition of Twitter as "an accelerant to creating X, the everything app".[27] This has been linked to x.com.[28] In conversation with Ron Baron a month later, Musk said he will execute the X product plan "with some improvements" which will make Twitter "the most valuable financial institution in the world."[29]

See also[edit]


Works cited
  • Chafkin, Max (2021). The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley's Pursuit of Power. New York: Penguin. ISBN 978-1-9848-7853-3. OCLC 1241240936.
  • Soni, Jimmy (2022). The Founders: The Story of Paypal and the Entrepreneurs Who Shaped Silicon Valley. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-5011-9725-3. OCLC 1310245824.
  • Vance, Ashlee (2017) [2015]. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (2nd ed.). New York: Ecco. ISBN 978-0-06-230125-3. OCLC 1050341708.
  1. ^ Hull, Dana (August 13, 2012). "Grieg Kouri, early investor in PayPal, dies in New York". San Jose Mercury News. Archived from the original on January 12, 2015. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  2. ^ Vance 2017, p. 84.
  3. ^ a b c Tolliver, Craig (December 10, 1999). "X.com opens its virtual doors". CBS MarketWatch. Archived from the original on March 2, 2000. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
  4. ^ Vance 2017, pp. 77–78.
  5. ^ Vance 2017, pp. 78–81.
  6. ^ Soni 2022, p. 52.
  7. ^ Vance 2017, pp. 80–82.
  8. ^ Vance 2017, pp. 81–82.
  9. ^ Vance 2017.
  10. ^ Soni 2022.
  11. ^ "X.com Names Names Bill Harris President and CEO". X.com. December 7, 1999. Archived from the original on March 3, 2000. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
  12. ^ Vance 2017, pp. 84–85.
  13. ^ Vance 2017, p. 86.
  14. ^ Chafkin 2021, pp. 51–52.
  15. ^ a b Vance 2017, p. 85.
  16. ^ Vance 2017, pp. 88–89.
  17. ^ "eBay Completes PayPal Acquisition". eBay. October 3, 2002. Archived from the original on January 21, 2005. Retrieved March 13, 2022.
  18. ^ Ostrom, Mary Anne (July 9, 2002). "EBay to buy PayPal for $1.5 billion". San Jose Mercury News. Archived from the original on January 8, 2003. Retrieved March 13, 2022.
  19. ^ de la Merced, Michael J.; Sorkin, Andrew Ross (September 30, 2014). "EBay Does About-Face in Spinoff of PayPal Backed by Icahn". New York Times. Archived from the original on September 30, 2014. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  20. ^ Strange, Adario. "What mysterious plan does Elon Musk have for X.com?". Mashable. Archived from the original on September 16, 2017. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  21. ^ Huang, Echo (July 11, 2017). "Elon Musk just bought x.com, but it probably didn't come cheap". Quartz. Archived from the original on June 25, 2020. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  22. ^ Musk, Elon [@elonmusk] (July 11, 2017). "Thanks PayPal for allowing me to buy back t.co/bOUOejO16Y! No plans right now, but it has great sentimental value to me" (Tweet). Archived from the original on November 10, 2022. Retrieved November 23, 2022 – via Twitter.
  23. ^ Maggio, Edoardo. "Elon Musk has launched the 'X.com' website he bought back from PayPal recently". Business Insider. Archived from the original on July 14, 2017. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  24. ^ Elon Musk [@elonmusk] (July 15, 2017). "y" (Tweet). Archived from the original on September 25, 2017. Retrieved September 25, 2017 – via Twitter.
  25. ^ a b Iles, James (December 11, 2017). "Elon Musk Finally Puts X.com to Some Use". NamePros. Archived from the original on August 13, 2018. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  26. ^ Elon Musk [@elonmusk] (October 4, 2022). "Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app" (Tweet). Archived from the original on October 4, 2022 – via Twitter.
  27. ^ Musk, Elon [@elonmusk] (October 4, 2022). "Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app" (Tweet). Archived from the original on November 21, 2022. Retrieved November 23, 2022 – via Twitter.
  28. ^ "Explained: Why 'X', the everything app is so close to Elon Musk's heart?". mint. October 7, 2022. Archived from the original on November 22, 2022. Retrieved November 22, 2022.
  29. ^ Full New Elon Musk Interview. Ron Baron Conference Nov 2022. With Timestamps. Tesla Intelligence UK. November 4, 2022. Archived from the original on December 1, 2022. Retrieved December 2, 2022 – via YouTube.

External links[edit]