Tech Drives Trade: E-commerce in 2018 and Beyond
Technological developments continue to drive trade in our world’s economy. 2018 looks to be a banner year for some emerging technologies that are beginning to mature and take their rightful place in the spotlight. Bitcoin is already changing business as we know it, transforming markets from centralized banking to decentralized ledgers with its blockchain technology. Investment spaces have rarely seen the likes of such virtual currencies. Mobile payments are becoming more common than ever, as well as the technology needed to protect e-commerce and trade in this postmodern business world.
The Boom of Bitcoin
Last year, Bitcoin reached its greatest height since the cryptocurrency was introduced, blowing past the expectation of a $2,000 market value to a staggering $10,000. The beginning of 2018 saw a bit of a market correction, but if speculators are right, Bitcoin could someday become the new global currency. That’s a hefty weight to put on any new currency or trading technology, and Bitcoin encompasses both.
The Bitcoin crypto influence seems to have reached past the techno-wizard world from which it sprang. Companies such as Disney and Xerox have already entered the market with their own alternative cryptocurrencies, which are traded on exchanges similar to forex markets. Even Kodak looks to launch its first coin by the end of January. Bitcoin purchasing is readily available, you can even buy bitcoin with a credit card. Thus, making entering the cryptocurrency market a bit less cryptic for many potential investors.
Virtual Wallets and Mobile Payment
Virtual Wallets and Mobile payments have been on the rise. Companies like Paypal has become so commonplace that they have transitioned to cover both the e-commerce world and brick and mortar stores. There are even cases of retailers invoicing with Bitcoin directly using virtual wallets and distributed ledger technology, potentially posing a threat to big centralized credit and banking providers.
As mobile payment systems have developed, so too have the types of platforms accepting them. It’s not uncommon to see Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Paypal, or Samsung Pay logos next to Mastercard and Visa logos in public spaces. We shall see continued interest in alternative and mobile payment methods, giving consumers more choices as to how to spend their funds when they go to a store.
The movement to virtual wallets and mobile payments calls for advanced security measures. Thieves would love to get their hands on an unsecured wallet. This means there is an arms race to ensure that such financials remain safe from hackers and those who would exploit the safety of the blockchain.
The security required to protect virtual and real currencies from theft now ranges from simple alphanumeric passwords to two-factor authentication that uses a combination of passwords and biometrics, such as facial recognition technology. Even modern smartphones, like the iPhone X, are getting in on the facial recognition game, securing data against unwanted intrusion with technology that is difficult to crack. As this race develops, it’s likely we’ll continue to see even greater advances in the security used to protect transactions and personal data.
The upcoming year seems almost guaranteed to deliver continuing advances in e-commerce technology. Blockchain ledgers and the Bitcoin cryptocurrency may become a part of standard invoicing. Mobile payments with virtual wallets are likely to grow, and with them, the dangers of hackers and unwanted intrusion or theft. Many of these emerging and maturing technologies look to transform the way we do business both online and in the material world. Smart companies should guard their assets carefully moving forward while still accepting, if not outright adopting, these advances.
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