Elon Musk’s 8 Greatest Accomplishments to Date

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Elon Musk
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He’s the richest man in the world. Then he’s not. Then he is.

Whether or not Elon Musk sits above Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates or whomever as the financial winds blow, there’s no questioning his wealth. This week, Elon Musk made a deal to buy social media platform Twitter for $44 billion.

Musk always seems to be far ahead of the curve, and his bank account proves it. Whether it’s designing cars, sending civilians to outer space or expanding renewable energy, the ingenious South African keeps amazing the world — and frustrating his rivals — with the latest greatest projects.

Take a scroll through this slideshow to check out some of Musk’s greatest brainstorms.

1. X.com

PayPal headquarters
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Most people haven’t heard of X.com, one of the first online banks, founded by Musk.

But they probably have heard of the online payment system PayPal. X.com merged with Confinity in 2000 before becoming PayPal — which eBay bought in 2002 for $1.5 billion. Musk’s share: $180 million.

2. Tesla

Tesla factory
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While the COVID-19 pandemic shattered the global economy in 2020 and put millions of people out of work, Tesla’s stock price increased 700%, adding $140 billion to Musk’s net worth.

Musk, CEO of Tesla, was an early investor in the company that since became the king of the electric vehicle (EV) industry.

But Tesla soon may face serious competition from Volkswagen, which has jumped full force into the EV playing field.

3. SolarCity

SolarCity technicians installing solar panels on a home
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Tesla acquired SolarCity, a residential solar company, in 2016.

Today, Tesla’s residential solar energy product, known as Solar Roof — “which combines premium glass roof tiles with energy generation,” as Tesla describes it — is produced at the company’s New York Gigafactory.

Tesla sells Solar Roof on the Tesla site, with a price match guarantee against other residential solar vendors.

4. SpaceX

SpaceX building in Cape Canaveral, Florida
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SpaceX, founded in 2002 by Musk, hopes to send eight private citizens around the moon in 2023 through the dearMoon mission.

Musk’s long-term ambition: colonizing Mars.

5. Starlink

Starlink app
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SpaceX’s Starlink is sending satellites into orbit to build a satellite broadband internet network.

Starlink says it now is delivering “initial beta service” domestically in the U.S. and internationally.

SpaceX’s goal is to have more than 40,000 Starlink satellites in orbit, according to BusinessInsider.

6. Hyperloop

The Virgin Hyperloop One prototype
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In a 58-page technical paper from 2013, Musk outlined his vision for a mode of transportation that could achieve high speeds using a hovering pod that travels without friction or air resistance through a tubed system.

He never turned the idea into a company, but Virgin Hyperloop grabbed the ball in 2014 and ran with it. On Nov. 8, 2020, the company’s experimental two-seater made a successful test run in the Nevada desert.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (U.S.), Hardt Hyperloop (Netherlands) and TransPod (Canada) are three other companies trying to make hyperloop transportation a reality.

7. OpenAI

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In 2015, Musk, along with German-American billionaire Peter Thiel and Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, launched Open AI, a nonprofit and open-source artificial intelligence research company. The three had worked together in the early days of PayPal.

In a 2014 interview at M.I.T., Musk described artificial intelligence as our “biggest existential threat,” according to The New York Times.

The aim of the new organization was to develop artificial intelligence in a way that would have a positive effect on humanity, Musk told The Times.

Musk resigned from the OpenAI board in 2018, citing possible conflicts of interest with Tesla.

8. Neuralink

Neuralink logo
sdx15 / Shutterstock.com

Musk launched Neuralink, a neurotechnology company, in 2016. His aim was to create brain-machine interfaces linking living brains to human-made technology.

The company says its initial goal is “to help people with paralysis to regain independence through the control of computers and mobile devices.”

Neuralink hopes its technology might eventually be able to “treat a wide range of neurological disorders, to restore sensory and movement function.”

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