How Elon Musk Could Become The World's First Trillionaire

For some people, Elon Musk is a hero. For others, he's a villain. And there's really no in between. The name Elon Musk draws strong reactions. However, it's an undeniable fact that the business magnate knows how to make money. From co-founding an online bank that would be the forerunner to PayPal, to becoming CEO and product architect of Tesla, to sending people into outer space via SpaceX, Musk has big aspirations when it comes to developing technologies — and he attracts big dollar investments into those aspirations.

Last month, when Forbes released its "35th Annual World's Billionaires List," it ranked Jeff Bezos as the world's richest person for the fourth year in a row with a worth of $177 billion thanks to a $64 billion rise from the year before due to a surge in Amazon shares. However, it was Elon Musk who was the biggest gainer over the previous year, and it wasn't even close. He shot up to the No. 2 slot with a worth of $151 billion — a gain of $126.4 billion over the year before when he was ranked No. 31 on the list with $24.6 billion. Nearly all of Musk's businesses had done well over the course of the year, but nothing like Tesla, which skyrocketed with a 705% jump in shares.

Elon Musk could beat Jeff Bezos to become the world's first trillionaire

In May 2020, with surging Amazon stock prices, a heated debate took over the internet for a few days about Jeff Bezos becoming the world's first trillionaire. That debate quickly fizzled after more analysts gamed out the Bezos fortune, per Recode. However, the "world's first trillionaire" chatter is alive and well again, but this time it's over Elon Musk.

Earlier this year, billionaire investor Chamath Palihapitiya said Tesla's stock could triple its current valuation, which would make Musk, who owns nearly 200 million shares of the company, the world's first trillionaire — a notion backed by other analysts, per The Economic Times. "Don't sell a share" of Tesla, Palihapitiya told investors in a CNBC interview [via YouTube]. "This is a guy who has consistently been one of the most important entrepreneurs in the world. And so why bet against him?" Palihapitiya made his comments as Musk briefly overtook Bezos as the world's richest person.

But Palihapitiya is quick to say this isn't about cars, it's about Musk's drive to figure out a way to harness energy, store it, and fight climate change, calling Tesla a "distributed energy business." He added that the first trillionaire would be a person fighting climate change, and Musk is the most well-positioned to do it. "Delivering clean energy, allowing the world to be sustainable, is an incredibly important thing that will be rewarded by markets and individuals," he noted.