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Elon Musk loses spot as world’s richest person as Tesla price falls

Elon Musk has lost his spot as the world’s richest person to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos after the value of the entrepreneurs electric car-making firm Tesla fell sharply.

Shares in the company closed 8.5 per cent down on Monday and fell 6 per cent on Tuesday – wiping an estimated $15.2bn (£10.8bn) off Mr Musk’s personal fortune, relegating him into second place in the world rich list.

The South African-born businessman had overtaken Mr Bezos as the wealthiest person on Earth earlier this year due to a bounce in Tesla’s share price.

At that point in early January, Mr Musk was said to be worth $188.5bn (£138.9bn) – some $1.5bn (£1bn) more than Mr Bezos, who had held the top spot since October 2017.

Analysts say recent tweets by Mr Musk about the Bitcoin are one of the factors to have contributed to Tesla’s losses – having talked down the volatile cryptocurrency just after his firm had announced having invested in it.

Tesla announced earlier this month that it had invested some $1.5bn (£1bn) in Bitcoin, a decision Mr Musk suggested he was not involved in.

He stepped down as chairman of the company in 2018 but remains its CEO.

“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” Mr Musk tweeted on 19 February.

“Bitcoin is almost as bs as fiat money. The key word is ‘almost'”.

A day later, he tweeted that the value of Bitcoin and another cryptocurrency, Ether “do seem high.”

Changes to Tesla Model Y pricing, increased competition and over-eager investment in the company earlier this year ahead of earnings losses have been put forward as other reasons for the dip in the company’s share price.

Mr Musk, who sold the internet payments company PayPal Holdings Inc in 2002 after cofounding the ecommerce site, now leads a number of businesses with a focus on developing technologies.

Besides Tesla, he heads rocket company SpaceX and Neuralink, a startup that is developing ultra-high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect the human brain to computers.


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