If we put it into $100 bills, it would weigh 2.2 billion pounds or 13-and-a-half Washington Monuments. It’s enough to give every woman, man and child on the planet $126.58 (with a couple hundred million spare change).
It’s also the estimated net worth of the world’s richest man, Elon Musk, should his Space X venture take off, so to speak.
That’s according to experts at investment firm Morgan Stanley, who believe that the company’s potential to take regular passengers into space will make it the most valuable company in the world – and Musk by far the richest person the planet has ever seen.
Already the world’s richest man
Let’s not forget that Elon Musk is unbelievably wealthy. Jeff Bezos, the magnate behind Amazon, has been one of the chief beneficiaries of the global shift online – a shift that has encompassed everything from social media to online casinos – but Musk hasn’t even needed to rely on this to rocket past him.
His Tesla range – a fleet of high-tech electric cars – has performed better than ever over the last few years. Their latest earnings report showed a nearly 13% jump in stock, with more than 16 million new stock options. Tesla’s market cap surpassed $1 trillion, with Musk owning a stake.
That, along with smaller business ventures, has helped propel him to a current worth of $271.3 billion, making Musk the richest person in history, and around 33% richer than Bezos, his closest rival.
This, however, is a mere fraction of what he could be worth thanks to his unique SpaceX company.
‘The Google of Space’
Back in 2002, as NASA was receiving praise for launching Aqua, their latest Earth Observation Spacecraft (EOS), Elon Musk was thinking of more than observing. He was talking colonization.
His SpaceX company, originally called Mars Oasis, tried to buy old rockets from Russia, but couldn’t agree a price. Undeterred, Musk and his growing team of specialists decided to build their own rockets instead. By 2008, their first rocket, Falcon 1, achieved a full orbit around Planet Earth. It was its fourth attempt, but it became the first liquid-fuelled craft to do so.
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The next decade saw several further achievements culminating in them being the first private company to send humans into orbit, and the International Space Station in the process, in May 2020.
Its latest mission – the first-ever orbital launch of an all-private crew in September – sent the company value soaring to an estimated $100 billion. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said it may become the ‘most highly valued company in the world – in any industry. He said its capacity to employ reusable rockets to take people and cargo on regular missions to the moon and Mars had the potential to make it the ‘Google of space’.
What could SpaceX – and Tesla – be worth?
The unique selling point of SpaceX is its versatility. As well as space travel, it will also be the pioneer of many other related industries, including space infrastructure, Earth observation and deep-space exploration. Jonas predicted that it will soon double in value to $200 billion, but this could just be the start.
If Tesla is currently worth $1 trillion, then it seems logical to assume that SpaceX could also reach that total should regular space travel become a reality. Musk’s 54% stake would land him over half a trillion dollars if that happens.
And that’s not to mention Tesla’s growth. Forbes recently predicted a doubling in value of the world’s number 1 EV company, for several reasons.
First, Tesla rentals could become widespread, which will open up the market to people who can’t afford to buy one. Second, the company is expanding quickly into China, opening a factory in Shanghai and receiving a popular response from consumers there. Finally, Panasonic is about to announce a new battery for Tesla vehicles, one that is both more powerful and more efficient than previous versions.
Also, let’s not forget Musk’s power to drive market values with a single tweet. His announcements, often outrageous, have caused Tesla stock – and some cryptocurrencies – to soar in the past.
If SpaceX and Tesla both reach their full potential, then Elon Musk’s current worth will seem like loose change – to him anyway.
Musk’s ‘modest’ lifestyle
So, what does someone with a third of a trillion dollars do with their wealth? Well, Elon Musk has declared that he will live a modest lifestyle.
In spring 2020, he promised to give away most of his physical possessions, including six Californian mansions. Instead, he chooses to live in a small ‘foldable prefabricated rental house’ in Texas, the home of SpaceX’s Starships.
However, some media sources have dismissed this as a publicity stunt, designed to take the spotlight away from the South African entrepreneur’s extraordinary wealth. Instead of extreme downsizing, they say, maybe he should pay his correct share of taxes.
However, Musk chooses to spend his money, there’s one thing we know for sure, to have a trillionaire living among us is something that most people would have thought impossible just a few years ago.