The business owned by Elon Musk lost $15bn after shares in the electric car company fell by 8.6% following one of his tweets
Tesla boss Elon Musk is no longer the world’s richest person after shares in the electric car company fell by 8.6% this week, leaving him $15.2bn (£10.7bn) worse off.
The 49-year-old business magnate has now fallen to second place on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index of the world’s 500 richest people with a net worth of $183.4bn (£129bn) – a significant drop from a peak of $210bn (£148bn) in January.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos reclaimed the top spot, despite his own fortune dipping by $3.7bn (£2.6bn) to $186.3bn (£131bn) on Monday.
The two have been head-to-head since the beginning of the year, with Musk briefly overtaking Bezos after his rocket company SpaceX raised $850m (£599m) earlier this month, with the company being valued at $74bn (£52bn).
This comes after the South Africa-born engineer’s net worth was at $188.5 billion in January, $1.5 billion more than Amazon founder Bezos, who has held the title of the richest person on the planet since October 2017.
The drop in Tesla’s share price on Monday was partly fuelled by Musk’s comments over the weekend that the prices of Bitcoin and rival Ether “do seem high”.
On Tuesday, Tesla’s shares were down a further 6% in pre-market trading.
His comments came just two weeks after the company bought $1.5bn of Bitcoin, which sent the price of the cryptocurrency to new highs.
Bitcoin fell from a peak of $58,354 (£41,158) on Sunday to a low of $45,000 (£31,739) on Tuesday – and the price is still up more than 500% over the past year.
A German-based trader said he was “taking chips off the table” on Tesla as its $1.5bn (£1m) investment in the cryptocurrency could “backfire now”.
Musk also tweeted on Monday that the company’s Model Y Standard Range SUV would still be available “off the menu”, confirming reports that the model had been removed from its online configurator.
Last week, Musk claimed he was not behind Tesla’s decision to buy $1.5bn in Bitcoin, and that it was a company business move.
This comes after Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon founder is set to step down from running the company as it reported record revenues for its core Christmas quarter for 2020, topping $100bn (£73.1bn) for the first time due to help from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Tesla’s action is not directly reflective of my opinion,” he tweeted.
He added: “Having some bitcoin, which is simply a less dumb form of liquidity than cash, is adventurous enough for an S&P 500 company …
When fiat [government-issued] currency has negative real interest, only a fool wouldn’t look elsewhere. Bitcoin is almost as bs as fiat money. The key word is ‘almost’.
Valentijn van Nieuwenhuijzen, chief investment officer at asset manager NN IP, told Reuters that Musk’s decision to invest in Bitcoin could weigh on Tesla’s ESG rating.
Musk has been criticised for lauding Bitcoin prior to Tesla’s purchase of the cryptocurrency.