Pizza Hut claims it sold the first item online in 1994. What was that item? A pizza of course! It turns out the pizza giant may not have had the first online transaction, after some self-appointed investigators were intrigued by the claim and went on the hunt to discover the actual first online transaction.

What they came up with was miraculous. It turns out Sting’s album “Ten Summoner’s Tales” was being sold online just a few weeks before the Pizza Hut online store was launched. Obviously this didn’t really phase Pizza Hut from sticking to the claim, but it’s just interesting that both of these moments in history led to the chaotic online business world we know and love today.

The crew at the Ecommerce Platforms website wanted to give you a taste of how all of this came to be. From cattle trades in 7000 BC to the mobile payments we know today, here’s a 30 second animated GIF (and a full length infographic below) to give you a true taste of how commerce has evolved into the digital wonderland we all use on a daily basis.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin, NFC and Square: Today’s online transactions

Bitcoin, NFC and Square are the most recent instances that truly stand out to the masses. Each of these moments in history have changed the world for the better, bringing people together to trade and sell and connect with each other without having to get up and meet each other.

In 500 BC you would have been trading silver coins at a market, but now you have the convenience of going to an ATM to take out cash if you want to bring a date to the movies. Not only that, but sites like Amazon and eBay (both coming along in the 90s) let us link up to our checking accounts and buy items like books, movies lawnmowers and even things as big as boats.

What Was Really the First Online Transaction?

Maybe it’s the fact that the transaction was illegal, or maybe it’s because the transaction is hard to track to a single individual, but experts say that the actual first online transaction occurred way back in the 1970s, when a few Stanford students sold a bag of marijuana to a few other students on the campus of MIT. Illegal online business is expected to have gone on throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, so in retrospect, the birth of online commerce can most certainly be attributed to drug dealers.

Bitcoin

Infographic source: ecommerce-platforms.com