Elon Musk — the man behind SpaceX and Tesla — has just become the richest person in the world, surpassing CEO Amazon Jeff Bezos, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which is a comprehensive ranking of the 500 wealthiest people in the world.
Elon Musk surpasses Jeff Bezos as richest man in world
This comes on the heels of a 4.8% boost in Tesla's share price on Thursday — which pushed the outspoken entrepreneur beyond the riches of Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos.
Elon Musk's net worth was steady at $188.5 billion at 10:15 AM EST, $1.5 billion higher than Bezos' — who had remained in the number-one spot since October 2018. Musk is also a rival to Bezos — since the former's SpaceX is in direct competition with the latter's Blue Origin, in the hastening pace of the private space race.
UPDATE Jan. 7, 11:00 AM EST: Tesla's surging profit gains behind Musk's rise to riches
This is a landmark achievement shoring up a spectacular 12-month rise for Elon Musk. The past year has seen his net worth rise more than $150 billion — possibly the fastest accumulation of wealth in history.
Crucial to the entrepreneur's rise to riches was the unprecedented growth of Tesla's share price, which surged 743% in 2020 amid consistent profit gains — along with the company's inclusion in the S&P 500 Index, and widespread adoration of Wall Street and retail investors, Bloomberg reports.
Well, back to work …— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 7, 2021
UPDATE Jan. 7, 11:16 AM EST: Tesla likely to further gains amid Democrat-controlled Congress
"How strange," tweeted Musk in response to the news. "Well, back to work ...," he said, in response to himself.
The recent surge in Tesla stock price further widens the gap between the company and other automakers, on multiple metrics. Tesla successfully mass-produced more than half-a-million vehicles in 2020 — only a fraction compared to the output of Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co.
Tesla is expected to increase its near-term gains thanks to Democrats winning both the Georgia Senate seats, which pivoted control of Congress to the U.S. political party more in favor of advocating for rapid adoption of electric vehicles.
UPDATE Jan. 7, 11:26 AM EST: Musk wants to build city on Mars, which means 'a lot of capital'
Elon Musk is 49 years old, and has profited from Tesla's wild rise in more ways than one. On top of his 20% stake in the company, the entrepreneur is also sitting on roughly $42 billion in unrealized paper gains based on vested stock options. These are securities stemming from grants he was given in 2012 and 2018 — and the 2018 grant was the largest pay deal ever reached between a corporate board and a CEO.
Incredulously, Musk has stated his indifference to material gains — and doesn't own many assets beyond his stakes in SpaceX and Tesla. During an interview in December 2019, he said the main goal of his wealth accumulation was to accelerate the evolution of humanity into a spacefaring phase of civilization.
"I want to be able to contribute as much as possible to the city on Mars," said Musk, reports Bloomberg. "That means just a lot of capital."