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Nowadays e-commerce is now a big chunk of the worldwide economy, as the exchange of goods and services is no longer limited to the real world, but has levelled up to the virtual world. Billions of dollars are transacted online, and millions of jobs are created for virtual work, making electronic commerce an essential part of the worldwide economy.
In fact, e-commerce is now considered the new economy.
Brief History of the New Online Economy
E-commerce started way back in the early 70’s after the start of EDI, Electronic Data Interchange, which referred to the electronic distribution and transfer of data and documents from one computer to another, and which augmented the traditional fax system and postal mail. Since then, new updates have been introduced.
In 1979, an English inventor by the name of Michael Aldrich first made what they call teleshopping by connecting his television set to a computer and transacting with the nearby shopping centre through the telephone lines.
In the eighties, B2B online shopping started to peak, followed by B2C. In 1982 France launched the Minitel, which was dubbed as the precursor to what is now called the Internet. Minitel at that time transmitted data using telephone lines, and the service was only available to their subscribers. By 1999, Minitel soared to about 25 million users with approximately 9 million terminals distributed across France.
However, Minitel was short-lived, and it was eventually shut down with the coming of the World Wild Web, built by Tim Berners Lee and Robert Cailliau in 1990. It was during this period that online shopping was introduced and became a hit among online users.
By the mid-nineties online stores started to sprout, and in 1995 Amazon was launched, at first as an online bookstore. At that time most brick and mortar bookstores could only offer as many as 200,000 titles. But being an online store, Amazon was able to offer much more, thereby making it a hit. Due to its popularity, Amazon expanded outside of books and started to offer various consumer goods, and continues to offer new items to this day. Much can be said about the online casinos that have started fighting about the casino customers from brick and mortar casino. Besides being able to offer no deposit bonsuses at a low cost, they have a much wider range of games and tables available online. Visit free-spins.org for more information about online casinos.
With the success of Amazon, other companies followed suit, and thus the flourishing of e-commerce, bringing in billions of dollars in revenues every year. To cater to more shoppers, various virtual currencies were offered, giving buyers more payment options based on their needs.
Magnitude of Virtual Economy Today
The extent of electronic commerce today has tremendously expanded from 1.33 billion in 2014 to 1.92 billion in 2016. It is projected to expand further to 2.35 billion in 2017 and soar to 4.058 billion by the end of 2020. No doubt, it’s a lucrative virtual world out there, with endless possibilities for making money.
Likewise, goods and services offered online have also expanded. At the start, a key player in the virtual market was gaming. Today, online gaming is a multi-billion industry with millions of players worldwide making purchases. It has further expanded to include betting on casino games.
Other industries have also gone online, such as health, entertainment, sports, software and services, politics, stocks and Forex Exchange, home and garden, electronics, and education, among many others.