The History of eCommerce: From Cattle to Bitcoin

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Are you aware that Pizza Hut is considered as one of the first companies to make an online transaction? It happened back in 1994, when they sold a single pizza to some lucky customer who no longer had to walk into the physical location or call for a slice on the phone.

The claim actually comes from Pizza Hut itself, so it’s not exactly objective history, but the point is to see how wonderful the history of commerce, and ecommerce, has shaped the way we make transactions today. Music fans will be glad to hear that Sting’s album “Ten Summoner’s Tales” was revealed to have sold online just a few weeks before the famous Pizza Hut transaction.

Even that has been shot down by some critics, since an early online transaction is known to have occurred between the campuses of Stanford and MIT. You know what these students were selling? Drugs. This happened in the 1970s, and it’s reasonable to assume that drugs and other illegal items were being transferred online throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, long before Pizza Hut and other large corporations created systems to conduct online business. Regardless, the history of commerce is a fascinating one, and that’s why Ecommerce Platforms detailed every important stop in the animated GIF and infographic below.


Starting with the trading of cattle, way back in 7000 BC, it wasn’t uncommon to not carry any money at all. In fact, paper currency wasn’t even heard of until around 806 AC. Before that, and after cattle served as the primary bargaining tool, people passed around and traded leather currencies and even items like beads and jewels.

History lessons aren’t always the most intriguing, but when it comes to money, and how it all led up to things like ATMs, Amazon, PayPal and mobile payments, you can’t help but marvel at how quickly the world has changed. Now anyone can start their own store online in mere minutes, so let us know in the comments what you think the future will hold.

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