It’s official: Elon Musk has broken the world record for the biggest wealth loss in history after shedding $182 billion from his net worth since November 2021, according to a report by Guinness World Records.
Mr Musk, co-founder of Tesla and the owner of social media platform Twitter as well as Space X, started 2023 with a net worth of $138 billion, a sharp drop from the peak of his wealth of $320 billion in 2021, Forbes magazine data shows.
However, Mr Musk's current net worth has edged up to $146 billion and he is ranked as the world's second-richest person, the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List showed on Monday.
“Even though Musk has lost more money than any human in history, he won't be going hungry any time soon — he’s still the world’s second-richest person,” Guinness World Records said.
Global economic uncertainty — exacerbated by the Russia-Ukraine war, high inflation and rising interest rates — has increased volatility in financial markets, resulting in the world’s wealthiest billionaires losing nearly a combined $2 trillion in 2022.
Mr Musk was not the only billionaire to suffer a record loss to his personal wealth in 2022, according to Forbes.
“In a year of unprecedented wealth destruction, four other billionaires fell by record sums as tech stocks tanked,” Forbes said.
Here, we list the top five biggest net-worth billionaire losers of 2022.
1. Elon Musk
Peak wealth: $320 billion (November 2021)
Mr Musk, 51, was the world’s richest person for 14 months, but lost his crown to Bernard Arnault, chairman of French luxury group LVMH, on December 12.
This is because the majority of Mr Musk’s personal fortune is tied to Tesla stock, which has lost about 67 per cent in value since January 2022, when it was trading at $399.93. The Nasdaq-listed company ended trading on Friday at $122.40.
Shareholder concerns also deepened over Mr Musk’s distraction with Twitter, which he bought in October for $44 billion.
2. Jeff Bezos
Peak wealth: $211 billion (July 2021)
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos started 2022 as the world’s second-richest person with a net worth of $194.2 billion.
Once the world’s richest person, Mr Bezos lost $87.6 billion, or 45.5 per cent, of his personal fortune in 2022, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
His current net worth is $118 billion, driven down by the value of Amazon stock over the past year, Forbes said.
Amazon’s decreased stock value comes during a slowdown in sales for the world’s biggest e-commerce retailer as high global inflation continues to affect consumers.
3. Mark Zuckerberg
Peak wealth: $140 billion (September 2021)
Perhaps the biggest fall out of the world’s top 10 richest list is that of Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Meta Platforms, formerly known as Facebook.
With a current net worth of $48.2 billion, Mr Zuckerberg is now the world’s 26th-richest person — down from a high of number three in 2021.
Mr Zuckerberg dropped $77 billion from his net worth in 2022 after shares of his social media company tumbled 64 per cent, Forbes said.
4. Larry Page
Peak wealth: $129.5 billion (December 2021)
The tech stock rout in 2022 also dragged down the personal wealth of Larry Page, who co-founded Google with Sergey Brin in 1998.
Google parent Alphabet’s shares sank by 39 per cent in 2022, causing the billionaire to lose $46 billion from his net worth, Forbes said.
He now has a net worth of $80 billion and is the 10th-richest person in the world, according to Forbes.
5. Sergey Brin
Peak wealth: $124.6 billion (December 2021)
Mr Brin joined the exclusive $100 billion club in April 2021, as tech stocks surged during the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, he lost his centibillionaire status after losing $45 billion from his personal fortune in 2022, according to Forbes.
Finally, a special mention must go to Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced co-founder and former chief executive of collapsed cryptocurrency trading platform FTX.
Mr Bankman-Fried, 30, lost his $16 billion fortune overnight, in what has been described as the biggest one-day loss on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, after FTX filed for bankruptcy in November.
Now under house arrest in the US, he has been charged with eight criminal counts, including conspiracy and wire fraud, for allegedly misusing billions of dollars in customer funds before the $9 billion collapse of FTX and Alameda Research, his cryptocurrency trading company.