Awaiting the First Trillionaire

Which is the industry that will first generate a 13-digit personal wealth

Awaiting the First Trillionaire

Снимка: Pixabay

Автор: Aleksandar Aleksandrov

In the last years, the world has seen an unprecedented concentration of tremendous wealth. The reasons for this are complex. On the one hand, the globalization of the world trade and the price reduction of telecommunication and transport services have facilitated the accumulation of wealth. On the other hand, the development of information technology offers an extremely high level of business scalability and wealth accumulation.

If for a physical product, for example, it is necessary for each piece to be manufactured, stored and transported, a software program can be copied and sold thousands of times in a matter of seconds. Bill Gates, for instance, owes his position of the world's richest man mainly to software products like Windows and MS Office. The situation with the digitalization of sales is similar. If for Sam Walton's trade empire Walmart was necessary to invest in the physical building of each shop, the site Amazon.com was able to sell all over the world right after its creation.

So, it's no surprise that today the founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos is the richest man with a wealth of over USD 105 billion. Moreover, he owns only 17% of Amazon, a company worth more than USD 623 billion. Both of them have built their empires in the retail sector, but Bezos does it in the virtual space, where there are almost

No Limitations

for expanding your business. Still, Bezos is far from reaching the title of trillionaire. By crossing the psychological threshold of USD 100 billion, however, such questions become more and more relevant: is it possible for someone to earn 1 trillion dollars, and if so, when and which business segment could generate such a 13-digit wealth?

Many believe that even if this happens, it will be in hundreds of years. According to some experts, however, the appearance of the first trillionaire will happen much sooner than we expect. The Oxfam organization, for example, recently announced that it expects this to happen within the next 25 years.  Supporters of this theory point out that the exponential development of a number of new technologies could make it possible to generate such wealth. Even if the first trillionaire appears in 100 years, this does not exclude today's richest people on the planet, because advances in medicine and biotechnology in the next decades are expected to lead to a significant extension of lifespan. A luxury that probably rich people will be able to afford first.

Who will be the lucky person and in which industry will they develop their business? The history of extreme wealth has been closely linked to segments such as oil, steel, trade, and in recent years - above all, information technology.  The first billionaire - John Rockefeller - owes his wealth to his oil empire.  Today, however, despite its importance, this segment can hardly generate a personal wealth of USD 1 trillion. The question is which sector has the potential to do it.

E-Commerce

may have put wealth in Bezos’ hands, but even if his Amazon could manage to fight Alibaba for the Chinese and other major developing markets, which is unlikely, it will barely reach an amount where its share is valued to half a trillion. Technological giants may be able to change entire traditional sectors, but even for their growth, there are limitations such as the number of the population on the planet or the average revenue per subscriber. That means that even if a digital service such as Amazon or Facebook could reach all people, it would be difficult for its creator to become a trillionaire.

Internet of Things

This is a relatively new IT sector that connects to the Internet different things around us - cars, household appliances, clothes, various machines and entire buildings. The subjects are incomparably more than the people in the world, and their transformation into telecom subscribers has the potential to generate tremendous wealth. Despite the prospects of this sector, however, the fact that it is not purely software, but is related to the availability of hardware products reduces its scalability. Moreover, there are a lot of small players in the sector, and it is still unclear whether a company will manage to establish itself and have the influence of Google, Amazon or Facebook; and accordingly - concentrate most of the revenue in the segment.

Brain-Computer Interface

In the last decades, Bill Gates has remained at the top  the longest because he had managed to provide humanity with an accessible interface for working with personal computers and the Internet. Logically, if someone succeeds in imposing to the public a new type of interface for controlling computers and other devices with our minds through the Brain-Computer Interface technology, there is a great chance for them to accumulate such a wealth. For now, however, players in this new segment are too small, and the large IT corporations have no clear interest in it.

Space

is another promising sector in which private companies are yet to enter, and the growth potential is huge. Possibilties to take people and cargo to orbit for less money, undertake deep space missions (to the Moon or Mars), as well as asteroid mining, position entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk (Space X) and again Jeff Bezos (with another company of his - Blue Origin) very well. Even a small number of asteroids in the Solar System possess deposits of precious metals, such as gold and platinum, that exceed those on the Earth. These are undoubtedly assets for trillions of dollars, but it is still difficult to assess to what extent one or more companies can get them. The strong positions of Bezos in this sector, as well as in e-commerce, and also in other prospective sectors such as cloud services and home assistants, however, increase his chances of becoming a trillionaire in the foreseeable future, and his wealth of being generated not from one, but from several market segments simultaneously.

Nanotechnology

The development of this sector so far has no potential for 1 trillion dollars. However, it could come from a specific breakthrough - the creation of the nanoassembler. This is the concept of a miniature robot with the size of a molecule that could change matter around itself at the atomic level. In theory, sufficient numbers of such robots could create a subject out of "nothing," which would fundamentally change the production of many goods.  However, it is still too early to predict when such technology will be created, and even less - when it will reach the market.

Biotechnology

and  sectors such as bionics and synthetic biology in particular are another non-digital segment that can be scalable enough to accumulate tremendous wealth. The creation of artificial organisms promises huge new opportunities in areas such as medicine, agriculture, energy, construction and even the improvement of the human body. In theory, a new product that can feed millions of people around the world or add an unknown property to the human body could generate significant wealth to its creator. But we are still far from such a breakthrough.

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