Spanish— No longer is the president of the United States the most powerful man in the world. The big tech boycott of Donald Trump, while he was still in the White House, proved it. Many critics interpreted it as an individual punishment against the New York tycoon. The truth is that this action also outraged the highest office in the world’s leading power. And if money buys everything and information is power, then the person who moves the world is Elon Musk.
The richest man on the planet has demonstrated his remarkable influence on the markets and the behavior of the masses with just one or two words he shares on his Twitter account.
Just as 2021 began, Forbes magazine made it official that Elon Musk had replaced Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest man. The first week of the year, the rise in Tesla shares generated a jump in Musk’s fortune to $188.5 billion, that is, $1.5 billion more than the owner of Amazon, who had held the top spot in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index since October 2017. Since reaching the top, Musk has taken advantage of the media boom to dictate the pattern. And he has succeeded.
The South African naturalized Canadian and American citizen has not only excelled as co-founder of PayPal and CEO of his companies Tesla Motors and SpaceX, but he has also taken a very active role on Twitter to influence markets and people’s behavior. Elon Musk tends to tweet very frequently. But he is a man of few words, at least on Twitter. Three times in the last month, he has demonstrated his enormous influence with just one or two words. He doesn’t need more.
The most recent feat occurred just a couple of days ago. He didn’t need to say much. It wasn’t even a message. All Elon Musk did was change the bio on his Twitter account, where he just wrote “#Bitcoin.” The effect was immediate and impressive.
The value of the cryptocurrency that was at approximately $32000 before the billionaire wrote just one hashtag increased by $5000 to $37299 in just an hour, as reviewed by CNBC.
This shows that his influence goes far beyond his 44.4 million followers. What could have been interpreted as obvious support for cryptocurrency spread at a mind-boggling speed.
On January 7, the same day it became official that he was the new richest man in the world, Elon Musk showed that he didn’t need the 280 characters Twitter allows to exert great influence over the social network’s users. “Use Signal,” Musk recommended. The avalanche of new users the instant messaging platform received was extraordinary.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 7, 2021
Singal registered 7.5 million downloads worldwide between January 6 and 10, according to Sensor Tower data. This app -along with Telegram- became the most downloaded app in both the App Store and Google Play in the United States, according to a report by EFE.
Musk’s recommendation came in response to users’ concerns about their privacy on WhatsApp. The world’s most popular messaging application had launched a notification warning about the impossibility of continuing to use this platform as of February 8 for those who did not accept the new data sharing policy with Facebook. Faced with the massive migration that was generated to Signal and Telegram, WhatsApp was forced to postpone the measure for at least three months.
The GameStop phenomenon that sent shivers down Wall Street’s spine did not occur on its own. Thanks to some fans who agreed on Reddit through a forum called “Wall Street bets” to save the almost extinct company GameStop, the shares of this company went from $17.25 to $347.51, generating multimillion-dollar losses for investment funds that use the ‘shorting’ technique to obtain profits.
The physical video game store GameStop was practically sentenced to disappear, and investors who bet on shorting expected the definitive collapse of the company, but the opposite happened. Fans who bought GameStop shares for leisure achieved their goal thanks to the boost given by none other than the richest man in the world, who seems to be assuming the role of an anti-establishment hero, as the New York Times referred to him.
Amid the phenomenon gaining momentum, on January 26, Musk wrote on his Twitter account only one word: “Gamestonk.” This message was accompanied by a link to the Reddit thread in question. It was a play on words between GameStop and ‘stonk,’ the colloquial meaning used in internet forums to refer to stocks.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 26, 2021
Faced with the earthquake this phenomenon was causing on Wall Street, Robinhood, the app used by Reddit users to buy stocks, decided to restrict buying. Immediately Elon Musk took action with a single word. Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote on her Twitter account that it was “unacceptable” for Robinhood to prevent retail investors from buying stocks while hedge funds can, which Musk backed up with the word “absolutely.”