The richest person on the planet (as of this writing), with a net worth of $105 billion, is Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Jeff is able to be worth $105 billion because he owns 17% of a company that's worth $623 billion. And while Jeff is super duper insanely rich, he's still $895 billion shy of being a trillionaire. In order for Bezos to be a trillionaire, Amazon's market cap would need to increase 10-fold to around $6 trillion. FYI, it's generally agreed that there's a total of $5 trillion worth of money on the planet. So it seems very unlikely that Jeff would ever become a trillionaire. But that doesn't mean it won't happen! In fact, someone being worth $105 billion was totally unfathomable 100 years ago. So maybe within the next 100 years, the world will see a trillionaire. BTW, that's a net worth with 12 zeroes. How do you think that person will earn their fortune? There are already a couple theories.
According to a "Global Wealth Report" that was produced by Investment Bank Credit Suisse, the world will see 11 trillionaires in the next two generations. The report specifically predicts that:
"Future extrapolation of current wealth growth rates yields almost a billion millionaires, equivalent to 20 per cent of the total adult population. If this scenario unfolds, then billionaires will be commonplace, and there is likely to be a few trillionaires too – eleven according to our best estimate."
Think about that. A world where 20% of the population are millionaires and that being a billionaire is as common as being a real estate agent.
Who Will Be The First Trillionaire?
In order for someone to experience the kind of explosion in wealth that makes him or her the richest person on the planet for many years, decades and centuries, an explosion in technology and a massive shift in the human condition must occur. Think about it. Bill Gates pioneered the personal computer, software and technology in general that we are all slaves to today. Rockefeller got the entire planet addicted to crude oil as their primary source of energy. Mansa Musa controlled the entire planet's supply of gold and spices at a time when intercontinental trade was first taking off and those commodities did not exist in places like Europe.
Whoever becomes the world's first trillionaire will need to conquer a resource or technology that probably seems totally impossible and crazy today, and completely changes the lives of every human on the planet.
If I were a betting man, I would predict that the world's first trillionaire earns his or her fortune by conquering some unimaginable feat in outer space. Imagine if someone figures out a practical way to mine an asteroid. Imagine if that person also discovers that asteroids are made of a substance that is somehow extremely valuable on earth. Perhaps an energy source that is exponentially cheaper and cleaner than oil.
I'm not the only person who thinks the key to trillion dollar fortunes lies in space. Peter Diamandis is an American entrepreneur who has invested heavily in companies that are trying to find a way to mine asteroids. In his words:
"These asteroids are trillion dollar assets. They are everything that we hold of value on earth – metals, minerals, real estate and I think the first trillionaire is going to be made in space."
Mark Cuban has another theory. The billionaire investor thinks the world's first trillionaire will earn his or her fortune through artificial intelligence.
Speaking at the South by Southwest festival last March, Cuban told the audience:
"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."
Do you think you'll see a trillionaire in your lifetime?