Elon Musk drops from world’s richest man to No. 3 spot in just nine weeks after Tesla shares plunged and his fortune dropped 24% from its January high to $161 billion

  • Musk fell below Arnault on Monday as Tesla’s share price dropped 2.2%
  • Stock dropped after Musk’s tweets criticizing Bitcoin’s use of energy
  • Musk announced Wednesday Tesla would no longer accept Bitcoin as payment
  • As recently as March, Tesla CEO had topped the list as the world’s richest man 

Elon Musk has dropped out of his spot as the world’s second richest man, falling below Louis Vuitton chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault after Tesla’s share price sank.

Musk’s fortune sank by $3.16 billion on Monday, to $160.6 billion, marking a 24 percent decline from its January high, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index.

As recently as March, the Tesla CEO and ‘Technoking’ had topped the list as the world’s richest man, but now sits below Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Arnault, the French billionaire who runs LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. 

On Monday, Bezos had a fortune valued at $190 billion, and Arnault was at $161.2 billion. 

The eye-watering fortunes topping the list are composed primarily of stock holdings, meaning that their values fluctuate daily with changes in the stock market. 

Elon Musk’s fortune sank by $3.16 billion on Monday, to $160.6 billion, marking a 24 percent decline from its January high

Tesla’s share price is well off its January highs, as seen in this year-to-date view of the stock

Bitcoin dropped sharply over the weekend after Musk’s tweets spurred investor concern

It comes after Musk sent the price of Bitcoin tumbling as much as 15 percent over the weekend with tweets saying that Tesla would no longer accept the cryptocurrency from customers, citing environmental concerns over the energy used to process transactions.

Tesla holds a reserve of Bitcoin that cost the company about $1.3 billion, linking the company’s share price to the volatile cryptocurrency.

On Sunday Musk suggested in a cryptic tweet that Tesla could have dumped the remainder of its Bitcoin holdings.

But in the early hours of Monday, he tweeted: ‘To clarify speculation, Tesla has not sold any Bitcoin.’ 

After hitting an all time high of $64,829.14 last month, the price of Bitcoin dropped below $45,000 for the first time in three months on Monday. The cryptocurrency was at $43,637.90 on Tuesday morning.

Tesla shares dropped again in early trading on Tuesday, hurt by news that the California Department of Motor Vehicles is reviewing whether Tesla is violating a state regulation by advertising its vehicles as being fully autonomous.

State regulation prohibits advertising vehicles for sale or lease as autonomous if they can’t comply with the regulatory definition, the agency said.

Louis Vuitton chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault took the second spot on the list of the world’s richest people on Monday

Louis Vuitton stock is sitting at all-time highs, as seen in this long-term view of the stock

Tesla advertises a $10,000 ‘Full Self-Driving’ option on the website for its electric vehicles, but the same website says the vehicles cannot drive themselves. 

Tesla’s driver assistant features, which the company describes as ‘Autopilot’ or ‘full self-driving’ are under growing scrutiny following a series of accidents and online videos of Tesla cars driving with no one in the driver’s seat.

Tesla charges $10,000 for its semi-automated features such as lane changing and parking assistance under its full self-driving (FSD) software.

Tesla says on its website that the features do not make the vehicle autonomous, but the term FSD is widely used by Musk, who has over 50 million Twitter followers. 

The probe comes amid several high-profile crashes nationwide – including a fatal wreck in California – involving Autopilot in recent weeks.

On Saturday, a Tesla in autopilot mode plowed into a Snohomish County deputy´s patrol car north of Seattle, causing significant damage but no injuries.

A 35-year-old man was killed on May 5 in Fontana, California, when his Tesla Model 3 struck an overturned semi on a freeway east of Los Angeles about 2.30am.

On Wednesday, Tesla announced that it would no longer accept Bitcoin as payment, citing environmental concerns

The billionaire responded Sunday afternoon to a Twitter account which claimed he would be selling off all Bitcoin holdings 

Bitcoin has fallen off its all-time high last month following Musk’s mixed messages

The California Highway Patrol initially said its preliminary investigation had found that Autopilot ‘was engaged’ prior to the crash, but walked back its statement a day later. 

Investigators have not made ‘a final determination made as to what driving mode the Tesla was in or if it was a contributing factor to the crash,’ it said.

The victim, Steven Michael Hendrickson, had previously posted social media videos of himself riding in the vehicle without his hands on the wheel or foot on the pedal.

The DMV joins the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in investigating Tesla´s automated systems. In the past, NHTSA, has taken a hands-off approach to regulating partial and fully automated systems for fear of hindering development of promising new features.

But since March, the agency has stepped up inquiries into Teslas, dispatching teams to three crashes. 

It has investigated 28 Tesla crashes in the past few years, but thus far has relied on voluntary safety compliance from auto and tech companies. 

At least three people have been killed in U.S. crashes in which Autopilot was operating but neither the system nor the driver took action to avoid obstacles. 

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