Tesla co-founder and CEO Musk’s personal fortune has shrunk by more than $20 billion in the past week after he was controversially appeared on the US television show “Saturday Night Live” over the weekend, Forbes magazine reported Wednesday.
Tesla’s share price has fallen 15 percent this week, according to the magazine’s estimates, and by Thursday’s close, billionaire Musk’s net worth had fallen $20.5 billion to $145.5 billion. Still, he remains the world’s third-richest man, worth slightly more than Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who has a fortune of about $127.6bn.
Musk was reportedly worth an estimated $166 billion when he joined “Saturday Night Live” last weekend, making him the richest TELEVISION host of all time. On the show, Musk revealed that he has Asperger’s syndrome, teased his bold business plans and discussed the recent controversy over cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Dog Money. Although Musk has publicly promoted cryptocurrencies in the past, he called the dog currency a “scam” at one point on the show. His performance on the show dealt a blow to the market value of cryptocurrencies, which have fallen by more than 30 per cent in 24 hours.
This week, Musk made a 180-degree turn in his February statement when he said Tesla would accept Bitcoin as a way to pay for cars. But on the evening of December 12, local time, Musk announced on Twitter that he would indefinitely suspend the use of bitcoin as a means of paying for Tesla cars, citing concerns about “the rapid increase in fossil fuels used in Bitcoin mining and trading.” After Musk’s announcement, the price of bitcoin plunged 17 percent on the morning of the 13th, falling below $50,000.
Wall Street analysts warned that Musk’s latest move confused cryptocurrency investors and caused more turmoil in Tesla’s share price. Tesla’s share price has been falling over the past month. Stocks of big technology companies and electric car makers such as Tesla have led the latest sell-off amid heightened inflation concerns.