The world’s richest men are $85 billion poorer than last year as cryptocurrency takes a hit

By Malavika Pradeep

Published Jan 24, 2022 at 12:46 PM

Reading time: 2 minutes

2022 is off to a painful start for the world’s top five tech tycoons—including space buddies Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg—as they shed a collective $67 billion in wealth last week, bringing the total loss to about $85 billion just this year. Ouch.

While the world’s richest man, Elon Musk, witnessed his net worth drop by $27 billion this year, Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates shed $9.5 billion. Google’s co-founder Larry Page additionally dropped by $12 billion as Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg plummeted down the list with a loss of $12 billion and Changpeng Zhao (CZ), the chief executive officer of crypto exchange Binance, dropped by $17.7 billion.

Jeff Bezos, however, seems to have taken a rather concerning fall this year—a billionaire-exclusive concerning fall, to be exact. Losing $25 billion in 2022, the world’s second richest man is $1 billion shy of being stripped off the title by French luxury fashion mogul Bernard Arnault (the only billionaire who didn’t lose money this week, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index).

Although all of them are still billionaires, let’s look at what caused such drastic losses before wishing upon a shooting star that it happens again. The movers behind these losses are essentially two-fold: plummeting tech stocks as investors eye potential interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve in the US, and the entire cryptocurrency market tumbling on the very same fears.

“Markets fell by the most since the outbreak of the pandemic as the spectre of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve settled over the economy,” Bloomberg noted on these terms. “Cryptocurrency prices were one of the biggest casualties, with Bitcoin plumbing six-month lows and other digital assets also taking a beating.” The digital assets in question include everything from e-commerce to online gaming.

According to 9News, Bitcoin has lost almost 50 per cent of its value and the cryptocurrency market as a whole has wiped more than $1.4 trillion in value—ever since its all-time high in November 2021. “Another thorn in the side of digital currency backers is government policy,” the outlet highlighted, stating how Russia’s central bank recently proposed the banning of cryptocurrency mining on Russian soil.

“Arguing that mining cryptocurrency (a complex algorithm-crunching process that involves huge computing power) threatened the financial stability of Russia, the central bank accused some cryptocurrencies as resembling pyramid schemes,” 9News wrote. However, experts believe Russia’s ban on cryptocurrency mining, if implemented, will likely only affect prices in the short term.

That being said, Musk has previously lost $50 billion in personal wealth over two days after one of his iconic Twitter polls. So these recent statistics are a mere blip along the way for the billionaire. The good news? We’d only need two per cent of his fortune to end world hunger.

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