Elon Musk Becomes World’s Richest Person

Elon Musk has surpassed aerospace rival Jeff Bezos to become Earth’s wealthiest person. Musk now has a fortune estimated to be worth $188.5 billion, $1.5 billion more than Bezos.

The increase in Musk’s fortune may primarily be powered by last year’s impressive performance of Tesla stock (ticker symbol: TSLA). TSLA surged by nearly 800% in 2020 and gained a market cap big enough for the stock to be included in the S&P 500 index.

It is unknown if Musk owns any Bitcoin, Dogecoin, or Marscoin despite recent tweets praising cryptocurrency and saying that it will be useful as a medium of exchange in future Mars settlements. Bitcoin currently sits at an all-time high of just over 39,000 and Dogecoin also saw respectable gains after Musk praised the cryptocurrency that started as a joke. Elon Musk was once honorary “CEO of Dogecoin” for a day.

Tighter Regulations, Taxes Still Concerning to Musk

Meanwhile, Amazon’s stock dipped from $3,500 to $3,200 on concerns that incoming president Joe Biden will tighten technology regulations. Technology insiders have often expressed concern that outdated and limiting regulations would cause the United States to lose ground in innovation and competitiveness in relation to the rest of the world.

This has especially been a concern for the state of California. The state government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, high taxes and cost of living, and regulatory unfriendliness toward business have caused several entrepreneurs to leave Silicon Valley.

Elon Musk, for instance, recently announced that he is moving to Texas after an especially high-profile battle with state and county officials who forced him to close Tesla’s Gigafactory in Pasadena County. He was already in the process of selling his homes in California as part of his efforts to downsize his personal possessions, including a recent sale of four homes in Bel-Air.

State level officials appear to have backed down and declared the Gigafactory to be an “essential business” that can remain open, although this was not enough to convince Musk to stay. He has already moved his charitable foundation and Tesla headquarters to the more business-friendly state.

Record Year for Tesla, Good Year for SpaceX

TSLA is still on the rise following news that Tesla had a record year for vehicle deliveries. It came just shy of its goal of delivering 500,000 vehicles in 2020 and set a record of 180,570 vehicles delivered in Q4 2020.

SpaceX also had a stellar year with the launch of two Crew Dragons with NASA Commercial Crew astronauts on board. The test flight Demo-2 flew in May 2020 with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board and landed in August. SpaceX and NASA also launched the Crew-1 mission with NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with JAXA’s Soichi Noguchi, in November. Elon Musk was notably absent from the Crew-1 launch due to an inconclusive series of tests that indicated that he may have had COVID-19.

SpaceX is also making progress on the Starlink Internet constellation with nearly 900 satellites in orbit. It is already conducting the “Better than Nothing Beta” and providing Internet access to some populations like the Native American Hoh Tribe and low-income students in a Texas school district. Although it does face some challenges like the high up-front cost of its equipment and a recent regulatory challenge from ViaSat, it is likely to find a market in regions that have suffered from the “digital divide.”

Tesla appears to have contributed more to Musk’s recent gaining of the top slot in Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index. It is expected that Bezos and Musk will flip-flop for the top slot for a while until one or the other solidifies his position.