Bill Gates
Bill Gates may be the world's first trillionaire Getty Images

It is a well known fact that Microsoft founder Bill Gates has been consistently topping the world's richest list over the past years. And an Oxfam report has now claimed that Gates, who stepped down as CEO of Microsoft in January 2010, could be on his way to become the world's first trillionaire.

Gates – currently the richest person in the world – has a net worth of $84.4bn (£66.6bn) as of 2 February 2017, according to Forbes. Despite his philanthropic endeavours, Gates' wealth continues to grow and the report suggests that by his 86th birthday, his net worth would cross $1tn.

Oxfam achieved the figure by taking into consideration that the tech titan's wealth would grow at a yearly average rate of 11%, which is what a few top billionaires of the world have earned.

However, Forbes contributor Tim Worstall contradicted the report and said that it is unlikely that Gates will reach the $1tn mark. He pointed out that the start date Oxfam used to calculate Gates' wealth growth was 2006, which is when he left full-time responsibilities at Microsoft.

The report says the tech maestro's wealth rose 50% or by $25bn since then to 2016. But as Worstall points out "a 50% rise over 11 years is, including the compounding which Oxfam is obviously using, rather less than an 11% per year rise. Actually, it's a 4% rise since 2006, compounded".

If we use the same rate of return on an average with a start date of 2016 and assume that Gates does not give away a large portion of his fortune, he would be worth as much as $200bn, which is a far cry from a trillion dollars.

Five facts about Bill Gates

  • Gates was born in Seattle and his ancestry includes English, German, Irish, and Scots-Irish roots.
  • He scored 1,590 out of 1,600 on the SAT and secured admission into Harvard only to drop out two years later to become the co-founder of Microsoft along with Paul Allen.
  • Windows created by Microsoft is the most used computer OS in the world.
  • Gates has never been left out of Forbe's rich list since 1987, when he made his debut.
  • Gates has already pledged to donate 95% of his fortune to charity.

Moreover, Gates' philanthropic pattern could change drastically as he gets older, more so as he has already made it clear that his children would not be the majority shareholders of his fortune.

"Our kids will receive a great education and some money so they are never going to be poorly off but they'll go out and have their own career," Gates said earlier and noted that "It's not a favour to kids to have them have huge sums of wealth. It distorts anything they might do, creating their own path."