Elon Musk no longer holds the title of the world’s richest man after Tesla’s shares dropped 8.6% on February 22, a $15.2bn hit to his net worth.
The founder and chief executive of electric car company Tesla ceded his crown at the top of the ranking to Jeff Bezos, founder of retail giant Amazon, who boasts a fortune of $186.3bn as of 22 February, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which tracks the daily ranking of the world’s richest people.
Musk had tweeted over the weekend that the prices of bitcoin and ether “do seem high”. In reaction, on 22 February, bitcoin yo-yoed from near $58,000 to $47,400 then back up to under $49,000 on 23 February.
The turbulence had a knock-on effect for Tesla, which had made a $1.5bn bitcoin purchase earlier in February. On 19 February, Musk had tweeted “Tesla’s action is not directly reflective of my opinion. Having some bitcoin, which is simply a less dumb form of liquidity than cash, is adventurous enough for an S&P500 company.”
Michael Hewson, chief market analyst for CMC Markets, said: “Given the stake Tesla has in the cryptocurrency this could translate into a lower open for the electric car maker when US markets open later.”
“When companies tie themselves to any one horse it presents risks, even if it’s the most-fancied filly at the post. Thoroughbreds are temperamental creatures and liable to break down when being ridden too hard,” said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst for Markets.com.
“So, when Tesla tied its fortunes to bitcoin with a $1.5bn investment, it was reasonable to expect there could be problems ahead.”
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