You’ll Never Guess What The First Thing Bought Online Was
A group of Stanford students got access to one of the earliest forms of the internet and you won’t believe what they did.
The intention of buying drugs online can often make buyers uneasy because of the paranoia that comes along with giving someone your PayPal or credit card information. But can you believe that the first ever act of e-commerce was for a drug deal of marijuana?
One click from happiness
During the 1970’s, students at Stanford had managed to gain access to the AI lab and had done something spectacular. I’ll let Mike Power of the Guardian explain the details.
“In 1971 or 1972, Stanford students using Arpanet accounts at Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory engaged in a commercial transaction with their counterparts at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before Amazon, before eBay, the seminal act of e-commerce was a drug deal. The students used the network to quietly arrange the sale of an undetermined amount of marijuana.”
The students would anonymously go down as the first ever e-commerce marketplace, even though said marketplace would likely be a dorm room with some weed hidden in the sock drawer. With sites like the Silk Road being shut down and its creators being incarcerated, the irony is very much real. Who would have thought that the internet would have its first real transaction be a simple weed exchange and over 40 years later, people are getting sent to the worst prisons in America for creating a site that essentially does the same thing.
Although I do believe the war on drugs will never be won, it’s hard not to see the downsides of people being able to order methamphetamine to their doorstep from a seller who’s product would likely be laughed at by the likes of Heisenberg. So just because the early days of the internet had stemmed from undergraduates exchanging money for some stress relieving weed, it doesn’t mean that more serious drug marketplaces are justified. Even though the most purchased item on the Silk Road, was indeed cannabis.
What do you think about this story? Do you have an opinion on the Silk Road or the general notion of buying dangerous drugs over the internet? Let us know on social media or in the comments below!