The world may soon see its first trillionaire in Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates — as long as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos doesn’t get there first.
Currently worth $87 billion, Gates is the richest person in the world. His net worth only continues to rise, despite his efforts to donate the majority of it to charitable causes via his foundation and The Giving Pledge.
However, Bezos is hot on his heels. The mogul’s wealth eclipsed $80 billion for the first time on Thursday, Bloomberg reports, putting him temporarily within $5 billion overthrowing Gates as the world’s richest person.
Bezos’ wealth has grown by $65.2 billion in the last five years, and he currently oscillates between second and third-richest in the world, trading places with the likes of Inditex founder Amancio Ortega and legendary investor Warren Buffett.
As these fortunes continue to expand, the world inches closer to producing its first trillionaire. According to a recent report from Oxfam, an international network of organizations working to alleviate poverty, given the exponential growth of existing wealth, the world could have its first trillionaire in the next 25 years. Gates would be 86 then; Bezos, 78.
Right now, Gates stands as the most likely candidate to reach that milestone. For its analysis, Oxfam researchers applied the average growth rate of the ultra-rich — 11 percent per year since 2009 — to Gates’ current levels of wealth, which was about $84 billion at the time of the study. If his investments keep doing as well as they have, the 61-year-old billionaire could indeed become the world’s first trillionaire.
But if Bezos’ wealth continues to rise at the same clip, he could very well reach trillionaire status first.
Their fellow billionaire Mark Cuban has another prediction for who will first cross that finish line: entrepreneurs working with artificial intelligence.
“I am telling you, the world’s first trillionaires are going to come from somebody who masters AI and all its derivatives and applies it in ways we never thought of,” the star investor of ABC’s “Shark Tank” told audiences at the SXSW Conference and Festivals.
Whether the title will be held by someone recognizable or someone currently toiling in obscurity in a lab, only time will tell.