Elon Musk's year of jumbling scaling hit a new apex Monday as the Tesla Inc. co-founder overtook Bill Gates to become the world's second-richest person.

The 49-year-old entrepreneur's net worth mounted $7.2 billion to $127.9 billion, driven by yet another upswing in Tesla's share price. Musk has added $100.3 billion to his net worth this year, the most of anyone on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world's 500 richest people. In January he ranked 35th.

His advance up the wealth ranks has been directed mostly by Tesla, whose market value is about $500 billion. About three-quarters of his net worth include Tesla shares, which are valued more than four times as much as his stake in Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX.

Musk's pillar marks only the second time in the index's eight-year history that Microsoft Corp. co-founder Gates has gone lower than number two. He held the top spot for years before being jolted by Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos in 2017. Gates's net worth of $127.7 billion would be much higher had he not donated so immensely to charity over the years. He has given more than $27 billion to his agname foundation since 2006.

With Monday's move, Musk unseats an sporadic verbal squabble partner in Gates, who the Tesla tycoon has derided on Twitter for, among other things, having “no clue” about electric trucks. The two have also traded projections over Covid-19. Gates, whose charitable foundation is one of the outstanding bodies backing vaccine research, has expressed distress over Musk's stated speculation of pandemic data and embrace of definite conspiracy theories.

The year has been a profitable one for the world's richest people. In spite of the pandemic and widespread layoffs that have disproportionately affected the world's working class and poor, the members of the Bloomberg index have collectively increased 23% -- or $1.3 trillion -- since the year began.


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