Did a Single Tweet Cost Elon Musk $15B?

The Tesla CEO's views on cryptocurrencies may have sent his company's stock price tumbling.

It’s not the first time a tweet has resulted in trouble for Elon Musk, but this one is arguably his most expensive.

That’s if you believe the speculation that a recent online comment about the cryptocurrency Bitcoin was enough to send Tesla’s stock skidding and, with it, Musk’s personal fortune.

According to Bloomberg, a weekend tweet may have played a role in Monday’s rocky day on the stock market for Tesla, when the auto company’s highly valuable stock slipped 8.6%. The prior Saturday, Musk waxed philosophical on money as “data” in a modernized barter system before concluding that valuations of top cryptocurrencies Bitcoin and Ethereum “seem high.”

If it were any other social media user, perhaps that mild comment goes unnoticed. But when you’re the CEO of Tesla — and Tesla just bought a half-billion dollars worth of Bitcoin — maybe your stockholders get a little squirrelly.

And they’ve ridden this rollercoaster before. It was just last May when Musk tweeted that he thought Tesla’s own stock price was too high, sending shares tumbling a full 12% in the following half-hour alone. The comments also drew scrutiny from observers who questioned whether they were in violation of an agreement he’d made with the SEC after the agency sued him in 2018 for other comments made — you guessed it — on Twitter that impacted the price of his stock.

In this case, the biggest loser in Tesla’s valuation dip was Musk himself, who reportedly owns more than 240 million shares. The Monday slide was enough to send him back to the no. 2 position in the world’s richest race — behind Jeff Bezos once again, but, as always, subject to shift with the winds of Twitter.

As for the collateral damage, Bitcoin was not exempt: the cryptocurrency, which has reached record highs in recent weeks, took a 17% tumble Monday as well.

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