The visionary engineer and entrepreneur has seen his Tesla stock rise substantially over the course of 2020, up more than 500% in YTD.
Elon Musk’s net worth now totals US$128bn, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, up US$100bn in 2020 to date.
It puts Musk over puts him only a sliver above Gates, who has been rapidly redeploying his wealth via the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (estimated to be worth over US$40bn).
Musk is now only around US$50bn away from Amazon overlord Jeff Bezos who, according to Bloomberg, has seen his net worth rise US$67bn to US$182bn this year.
In this particular league table, Tesla’s Musk has overtaken Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, each up US$16bn in 2020 to be worth US$78.7bn and US$81.3bn respectively, along with famed value investor Warren Buffett (worth US$86.8bn, down US$2bn), Facebook figurehead Mark Zuckerberg (worth US$102bn, up US$23bn) and fashion magnate Bernard Arnault (worth US$105bn, down US$737mln this year).
Musk owns around 20% of Tesla shares, though he has lucrative performance-based stock incentives which are realised when Tesla’s market value exceeds certain thresholds.
For example, in May, the first of twelve tiered tranches of his options package vested, giving him an extra 1.7mln shares (at that time worth US$775mln) because the market value held above US$100bn for 30 days. Further tranches have market-cap thresholds set at US$50bn intervals up to US$650bn at the twelve level.
As of Monday’s close, Tesla was priced on the Nasdaq at US$521.8bn which gave it a market capitalisation of US$494bn. Musk also retains other performance based stock rewards tied to revenue and earnings. He does not take a salary from the electric vehicle company.
Musk, meanwhile, owns around 54% of SpaceX which literally went beyond the stratosphere earlier this month as it became the first ever private company to take astronauts into space, taking four NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
Previously, in May, NASA and SpaceX jointly completed a similar mission.
SpaceX will meanwhile, in the coming days, set its latest record for rocket reusability as its Falcon 9 vessel is due to be used for the seventh time as the company executes its sixteenth mission for Starlink (a SpaceX programme that deploys internet satellites into orbit).