Elon Musk loses US$15bil in a day after bitcoin warning


Lower value: Bitcoin, which has surged more than 400% over the past year, tumbled for a second day yesterday, at one point slipping below US$50,000 on scepticism over the durability of its rally. — AP

NEW YORK: Elon Musk is no longer the world’s richest person after Tesla Inc shares slid 8.6% on Monday, wiping US$15.2bil from his net worth.

Tesla’s biggest decline since September was fuelled in part by Musk’s comments over the weekend that the prices of bitcoin and smaller rival ether “do seem high.”

His message – via his favoured medium of Twitter – came two weeks after Tesla announced it added US$1.5bil in bitcoin to its balance sheet.

The cryptocurrency, which has surged more than 400% over the past year, tumbled for a second day yesterday, at one point slipping below US$50,000 on scepticism over the durability of its rally.

Musk also tweeted earlier on Monday that the company’s Model Y Standard Range SUV would still be available “off the menu, ” backing up reports from electric vehicle news site Electrek that the model had been removed from its online configurator.

Musk drops to second on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index of the world’s 500 richest people with a net worth of US$183.4bil – down from a peak of US$210bil in January. Amazon.com Inc founder Jeff Bezos reclaimed the top spot even as his fortune fell by US$3.7bil to US$186.3bil on Monday.

The two billionaires have been swapping places since January as the value of Tesla fluctuated. The stock surged as much as 25% to start 2021 before wiping off almost all of this year’s gain.

Musk briefly overtook Bezos after his rocket company SpaceX raised US$850mil earlier this month, valuing the company at US$74bil, a 60% jump from August.

Bezos occupied the top spot on the ranking for three straight years prior to January, when Musk eclipsed the e-commerce titan thanks to a 794% rally in Tesla shares. — Bloomberg

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