Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos lose billions as tech stocks and crypto suffer steep falls

Only one of top ten richest in world didn’t see wealth hit by tech stock slump

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Sunday 23 January 2022 13:22

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Tumbling tech stocks and cryptocurrencies have seen the fortunes of some of the world’s richest people take a hit over the past week.

Bloomberg reports that Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk lost $25.1bn (£18.5bn), Amazon’s Jeff Bezos saw a $20bn (£14bn) drop in his fortune, Changpeng Zhao of Binance lost $17.7bn (£12.5bn), and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is $10.4bn (£7.6bn) worse off.

It was the worst week for the stock market since the crash at the onset of the pandemic.

Big-name companies suffered, with Peloton falling below its IPO price and Netflix suffering its steepest drop in a decade. Stocks in chipmakers also struggled.

At Friday’s close, the tech-focused Nasdaq was down 7.6 per cent for the week, its biggest decline since March 2020. This is also the fourth successive weekly drop for the index, the longest decline in nine months.

The prospect of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve is on the cards with a meeting planned for Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Investors are hoping for more guidance on the central bank’s plan to raise rates.

Turbulence in the markets is expected to continue into the new week with several major earnings reports due including Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, and Tesla.

The value of cryptocurrencies also suffered this week, with bitcoin dropping to a six-month low as the value of other digital assets also suffered.

An already dramatic crash in the crypto markets became yet more drastic as hundreds of billions of dollars were lost by investors.

Bitcoin has now fallen 16.8 per cent over the last week. Other cryptocurrencies have seen even more dramatic losses. Ethereum, for example, is now down 25 per cent.

It was already the worst start of the year for bitcoin in history. After hitting a record high of almost $68,000 (£50,000) in November, it is now worth under $35,000 (£25,000).

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Mr Musk’s wealth dropped nine per cent, but he still leads the pack of the world’s wealthiest people by an enormous margin, with a total fortune of $243.4bn (£180bn).

Mr Bezos trails at number two with wealth totalling $168bn (£123.6bn). Immediately behind him is French luxury retail tycoon Bernard Arnault, with $167.5bn – poised to surpass the Amazon founder into second place as the only person in the top ten to not lose any net worth in the past week.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates is number four with $129bn and Google’s Larry Page rounds out the top five with $117bn.

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