Twitter CFO Says Investing in Crypto ‘Doesn’t Make Sense Right Now’

Investing some of Twitter Inc.’s corporate cash in crypto assets such as bitcoin “doesn’t make sense right now,” Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal said in an interview Monday.

“We [would] have to change our investment policy and choose to own assets that are more volatile,” Mr. Segal said, adding that the company prefers to hold less volatile assets such as securities on its balance sheet.

Twitter last week said it was assembling a team called Twitter Crypto to look into ways to help creators on the app to earn money or accept cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin for payment, and other ways to use blockchain technology.

That team is part of Twitter’s product and engineering organization, Mr. Segal said. The company’s finance department supports these product initiatives, but doesn’t see the need for immediate changes to its policies around corporate cash, he said.

Twitter reported $3.47 billion in cash and cash equivalents at the end of September, up from $1.99 billion during the prior-year period, alongside short-term investments of $3.94 billion.

Mr. Segal echoed a common concern among finance chiefs, many of whom cite the volatility of digital currencies and assets as one reason why they don’t use them for their corporate investments.

The lack of specific accounting rules for these assets also is complicating matters for CFOs. Large U.S. corporations in recent months have urged the Financial Accounting Standards Board to write rules on how to treat crypto assets.

There are exceptions such as Tesla Inc. and Square Inc., the payments company led by Jack Dorsey, who is also the chief executive of Twitter. Both companies have disclosed that they hold crypto assets.

“We’ve purchased bitcoin for our own balance sheet, which we believe not only shows that we have skin in the game…but also could provide attractive financial benefits over the long term,” Square CFO Amrita Ahuja said in an interview last month.

Twitter’s Mr. Segal, who has been leading the company’s finance function since 2017, earlier this year said the company has studied using bitcoin. “There is a different set of decisions we would have to make if we were to own cryptocurrencies on our balance sheet,” Mr. Segal said Monday.

A bitcoin mining facility in upstate New York is using electricity from a local hydroelectric plant powered by the Niagara River. The company is part of a group of miners attempting to make the industry more sustainable, both environmentally and financially. Illustration: Alex Kuzoian/WSJ

Twitter sees growth potential for its recently launched subscription services, Mr. Segal said. Subscriptions “will be a predictable and new open space for us to generate additional revenue,” Mr. Segal said, pointing to services such as Twitter Blue, which provides users with extra features, and Super Follows, which allows users to charge followers and give access to additional content.

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Twitter Blue, which currently costs $2.99 a month, is a “great starting point for us to experiment with new features,” Mr. Segal said. The company currently lists its subscription revenue as part of its data licensing and other revenue, which generated $143 million during the quarter ended Sept. 30, up 12% compared with the prior-year period.

Going forward, Twitter will offer subscriptions at different price points, Mr. Segal said. However, the majority of the company’s overall revenue—targeted at $7.5 billion in 2023—will come from advertising, Mr. Segal said.

Twitter, which last month disclosed it would sell its MoPub mobile-ad firm to AppLovin Corp. for $1.05 billion, will remain acquisitive and use some of the proceeds of that deal to pay down debt and repurchase shares, he said. Threader, an app that compiles and shares threads, on Monday said it has been acquired by Twitter for an undisclosed amount.

Write to Nina Trentmann at

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