Billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk is divesting himself of material fripperies.
The Tesla boss tweeted Monday that he now plans to sell his “last remaining house” after saying last week that he now only owned one home.
The second richest man in the world, worth $153 billion as of today, said the final house that he is due to sell is in the Bay Area.
Decided to sell my last remaining house. Just needs to go to a large family who will live there. It’s a special place.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 14, 2021
Musk said in December that he had personally moved to Texas (where he is presumably renting), apparently after getting fed up with California’s regulatory environment.
The new proposed sale appears to be the culmination of a vow made by Musk in May 2020 when he tweeted: “I am selling almost all physical possessions. Will own no house.” He is believed to have sold at least seven homes on “for sale by owner” site Zillow. Of one property, which previously belonged to Gene Wilder, Musk tweeted: “Just one stipulation on sale: I own Gene Wilder’s old house. It cannot be torn down or lose any of its soul.”
Critics of Musk’s are likely to accuse him of engaging in the kind of virtue-signalling that only the rich can afford. For most ordinary Americans who can afford the down payment, buying a home is usually cheaper than renting and the only way to reliably guarantee absolute security of tenure.
Musk’s property dealings come after a weekend in which he sent Bitcoin on another wild ride, pushing the value of the digital token up by as much as 12 percent after sending a tweet saying that Tesla was open to accepting the crypto currency in payment again in the future.
Musk’s apparent ability to control the price of the world’s biggest digital currency was demonstrated—ironically enough—as he sought to defend himself from accusations of manipulating the value of the asset for his benefit.
Musk sent his tweet saying that Tesla would consider accepting Bitcoin in payment in reaction to an allegation by Magda Wierzycka, one of the richest women in South Africa and CEO of financial services company Sygnia, who said Musk would likely have been investigated by regulatory and compliance authorities if the focus of his tweets had been listed companies.
In an interview with Bruce Whitfield at the Money Show, Wierzycka said: “The [Bitcoin] volatility we have seen is an unexpected function of what I would call market manipulation by Elon Musk. If that happened to a listed company, he would be investigated and severely sanctioned by [the] SEC.”
Wierzycka accused Musk of pumping up the price by tweeting about Tesla’s $1.5 billion bitcoin purchase, then selling “a big part of his exposure at the peak.”
She added: “What we have seen with Bitcoin is price manipulation by one very powerful and influential individual.”
Apparently stung by the criticism, Musk took to Twitter Sunday to refute the claims:
This is inaccurate. Tesla only sold ~10% of holdings to confirm BTC could be liquidated easily without moving market.
When there’s confirmation of reasonable (~50%) clean energy usage by miners with positive future trend, Tesla will resume allowing Bitcoin transactions.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 13, 2021
The tweet put a rocket under Bitcoin’s share price, sending it from $35,000 to close to $40,000, its highest price in almost a month although still way off the dizzying $62,000 April peak.
Musk has been praised and criticized for his promotion of digital assets, including Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency originally started as a joke.
Last week, Musk’s mention of another cryptocurrency, CumRocket (CUMMIES), which markets itself as an “adult crypto” that will be used as a “tipping, messaging, custom content and sexting currency” helped pushed the price of the novel token from $0.06 to $0.28. It has since dropped back to around $0.08.
It’s all a valuable reminder that, whether it’s houses or crypto coins, one old bit of advice has stood the test of time: Buyer beware.