X.com (bank)

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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
Websitewww.x.com (defunct, archive)
x.com (redirects to Twitter)

X.com was an online bank founded by Elon Musk, Harris Fricker, Christopher Payne, and Ed Ho in 1999 in Palo Alto, California. In 2000, it merged with competitor Confinity and in 2001, the merged company changed its name to PayPal.

Business model

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 SpaceX.[1]

Customers were not assessed fees or overdraft penalties. New member referrals were rewarded with a $20 cash card and a $10 card for each new sign-up. These features were unique 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 its fiercest competitor Confinity, a software company also based in Palo Alto which had also developed an easy payment system. The new company was named 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 changed its name to PayPal.[16]

Repurposing of domain

In July 2017, PayPal sold the domain X.com back to Musk.[17] In July 2023, X.com was repurposed to redirect to Twitter, following Musk's establishment of X Corp. to manage Twitter assets.[18][19]


  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. ^ Statt, Nick. "Elon Musk now owns X.com, the defunct domain of his second startup". CNBC. Retrieved September 18, 2023.
  18. ^ "From Twitter to X: Elon Musk Begins Erasing an Iconic Internet Brand". nytimes.com. Retrieved September 18, 2023.
  19. ^ Irina Ivanova (July 31, 2023). "Twitter is now X. Here's what that means". CBS News. Retrieved September 18, 2023.

Further reading