Was Elon Musk really a cofounder of PayPal? Elon Musk is a world-famous man today and that should not be a surprise, as he is the richest man in the world. However, more than his wealth, his strong PR has made him famous for what are hailed as ultra-futuristic plans including an electric car industry called Tesla, a lofty promise to enable human settlement on Mars and an underground high-speed system called the hyperloop.
Before reading this story, probably you also thought that Musk is an extraordinary genius and a brilliant scientist who has founded some unbelievably fancy technologies. However, is Elon Musk really the man behind all of such successes and in particular, is he the one who founded PayPal that seemingly went down as the first great success of his career. Let’s unmask Musk.
Is Musk really the genius he claims to be?
Well, let us tell you a short story from 2018. A Thai soccer team had got trapped in a cave. Vern Unsworth, a member of the international team of specialist cave divers who had rescued the Thai boys, had then labelled an attempt by Tesla chief Elon Musk to help in the rescue as unnecessary.
Musk had sent a mini-submarine to rescue the boys. However, Unsworth said, “It just had absolutely no chance of working. He had no conception of what the cave passage was like. The submarine I believe was about 5 feet, 6 inches long, rigid, so it wouldn’t have gone round corners or round any obstacles.” And what was Musk’s response? Well, he called the cave diver a “pedo”.
The mini-submarine attempt wasn’t an aberration:
How could Musk, the man who is almost projected as the one planning humanity’s future, make such a big error? Well, the mini-submarine attempt isn’t the only issue facing Musk. In 2017, Bloomberg reported that Tesla burns $500,000 per hour.
Yet, in March 2018, a Tesla driver was killed while test-driving an autopiloted Model X. Later in May 2018, two teenagers were killed while driving a Model S. In fact, Tesla was founded in 2003 and praised as a next-gen automobile company but most major automakers quickly surpassed the venture. Star investor Jim Chanos described Tesla as a “walking insolvency” in 2016.
In fact, Elon Musk and Tesla board have faced complaints and lawsuits over allegations of securities fraud and “erratic tweets”.
Tesla stock price is too high imo
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 1, 2020
When it comes to Musk’s Mars promise, two astrophysicists also debunked the billionaire’s prediction that human beings can live on the Red Planet.
Elon Musk – The PayPal reality
When it comes to PayPal, Elon Musk is often described as the cofounder of the platform hailed as the pioneer of the digital payments industry. PayPal is one of the biggest reasons why Musk carries a wonder boy PR.
Let us tell you one small fun fact- PayPal is the successor of a company originally named Confinity that came into being in 1998. Interestingly, Confinity wasn’t founded by Elon Musk, rather it was a brainchild of Max Levchin, Peter Thiel, and Luke Nosek.
The first digital payments version of Confinity was launched in 1999. By that time, a remarkably similar platform called x.com had come into being. X.com was founded by Musk, Harris Fricker, Christopher Payne and Ed Ho. Musk served as the x.com CEO.
In 2000, the two digital payments firms got merged with each other. However, combining the two firms did not turn out out be very successful. Elon Musk took over as the CEO in April 2000 and was fired in October 2000.
Later, Peter Thiel took over as the CEO of the merged company and the company got rechristened as PayPal in the year June 2001. PayPal launched its first IPO in February 2002 and later eBay purchased it for $1.5 billion. Elon Musk, who still held a stake in PayPal, made a windfall gain of $180 million from the sake and suddenly became super-rich. Later, he would invest this money into other ventures like SpaceX, Tesla and SolarCity.
So, Elon Musk was not a founder of Confinity which would go on to become PayPal. When Confinity was rechristened as PayPal, he wasn’t a CEO of the entity formed by merger of Confinity and x.com. Nor was Elon Musk the CEO of PayPal when it released its first IPO or when it subsequently signed a sale agreement with eBay.
Yet, Elon Musk has become known as the founder of PayPal and the pioneer of the digital payments industry.
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