The billionaire Elon Musk has yet again slipped to second place on Bloomberg’s index of the world’s richest people after his net worth dropped by $15 billion on Monday.
His wealth fell to $183 billion, allowing the outgoing Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, to reclaim first place, after Tesla’s shares tumbled 9% on Monday – their biggest one-day decline since late September. The drop appeared to be fueled partly by Musk tweeting over the weekend that bitcoin and Ethereum prices seemed high. Bitcoin dropped 11% on Tuesday, to $48,016, in a sign of wariness of its rapid ascent, while Ethereum fell 15% to $1,521.
The electric-vehicle maker’s stock was further undermined by its decision to halt orders for a cheaper version of its Model Y SUV. Tesla has removed the car from its online configurator just a month after launching. It isn’t clear whether the decision is permanent.
Musk has been pushed to the second spot on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index for a second time this month, but he and Bezos have been trading places since January on the back of Tesla’s fluctuating share price. Bloomberg now estimates Bezos’ wealth at $186 billion, with Musk $3 billion behind him.
Bezos occupied the top spot for three consecutive years until January, when Musk took over following a near-800% rally in the value of Tesla shares.
On Monday, the gold bull and bitcoin cynic Peter Schiff tweeted: “Two weeks after @elonmusk announced that he spent $1.5 billion of shareholder money buying Bitcoin, #Tesla stock entered a bear market, plunging 20% from its all-time high set on Jan. 25th, and 16% since disclosing the #Bitcoin buy. Not an example other CEOs will likely follow!”
But according to the crypto expert Paolo Ardoino, the chief technology officer at the crypto exchange Bitfinex, price fluctuations can be expected in a nascent space. The sharp drop in bitcoin’s price may galvanize the cryptocurrency’s many critics, including those who recently dismissed it as an economic sideshow, he said.
“Such criticism misses the point and the profound impact it is starting to have,” he added. “For many of the battle-tested exchanges that have weathered the market fluctuations, volatility isn’t new and is to be expected in such a young market.”