Nowadays, living in the era of flourishing digital technologies, it is hard to believe that no one could seriously imagine such thing as online payments only a couple of decades ago. And here we are now, reasonably considering the Internet payment operations as an integral part of our life. Same as it happened with a whole range of relatively new technologies, it took only around 20-25 years to turn an unthinkable idea into a subject of the humanity’s day-to-day use.
Let’s take a look on historical summary of digital transactions’ development and evolution. The very first time the idea of purchasing goods & services with a card rather than traditional banknotes or coins has been introduced to the public took place in 1887, when Edward Bellamy described such concept as a card that could be used as a payment method in his novel “Looking Backward”.
31 years later, the Federal Reserve has transferred a currency by the use of electromagnetic waves (via a telegraph) for the first time in the history, which can be considered as the origin of consequent digital financial operations. It then took 76 years till the first online payment has been made, which took place in 1994, when the Stanford Federal Credit Union introduced online banking services to its clients.
The next milestone of online payments development can be referred to the emergence of PayPal company in 1999, when digital transfers officially became a subject of the whole corporation’s specialization. Keeping the leading position on the financial markets for years PayPal has implemented digital payments in their current form throughout the world.
The 21st century became a witness of advanced high-tech race between competing payment services providers. Each of them are still fighting for the ultimate goal – a transcendence of their services over the other ones. One of the top popular targets is an increased speed of transactions. Karl Marx said in his work “Das Kapital”, that any saving eventually comes down to a time saving. Today, more than a century and a half later, his words are more relevant than ever.
The payment service provider’s ability to enable fast transactions completion became one of the most significant factors defining the financial market’s leaders. Other crucial features are: low commission, powerful security system and convenience of use. Although that’s not news that technological evolution tends to progress exponentially, the 21st century has become an absolute outburst of innovative digital opportunities – every year brings new developments and innovations.
So, digital transactions system has reached an excellent implementation. Everyone can easily get any goods & services online within a couple of minutes. The question on the agenda – what comes next, how else our financial opportunities can be developed? Which way can we move forward? The answer has been received in 2009, when the first cryptocurrency – Bitcoin – has been created.
A concept of a digital currency, creation & control of which are based on the methods of a cryptography – an entirely decentralized currency, which is 100% independent from any authorities, governments and financial institutions – has opened the doors for the whole new way of financial management. A cryptocurrency provides its owners with an absolute economic freedom, not only because it is not a subject to the authorities control but also due to its boundlessness.
A digital currency means – no more waste of frustrating amounts due to exchange rates & bank commissions when completing international transactions and no more waste of time for a bank routine & endless paperwork. Its transparency makes any fraudulent attempts impossible, while its global level of operation provides limitless opportunities. A cryptocurrency’s rate is not a subject to the inflation’s impact. Digital coins cannot be “burnt” or disappear as a result of the bank’s liquidation. Chargebacks are simply not possible.
Thus, an introduction of digital currencies has brought a solution to the most of online transactions’ standard problems. Now, when what used to poison financial operations experience has been eliminated and the advantages of all innovations appeared during two last decades have been improved and developed, let’s see what is going to become the next stage of digital transactions evolution.