Ever heard of the term dot com burst? If you are in the south side of twenties, I will forgive you for having no idea about this term. Probably you were not born when the term was trendy.
This term is prefixed to the 90s when the internet became commonplace. In those days there was the talk about the internet taking over the world’s trade.
Instead of heading to the grocer, we were told we would make orders online and deliveries of tomatoes, fish and soap would be made to our doorsteps.
We were told that the grocer would soon close shop because that style of interchange would be old-fashioned and no longer relevant.
The online companies would be the new grocer residing right on your computer and being fuelled by the internet. The thing is that shares thrive on anticipation and surely that did trigger demand for shares for online companies.
Regrettably, the promise was not delivered; the grocer did not, in today’s corona speak, shut down. That led to loss of value of shares for most of the online shops. This was correctly termed dot com burst.
Fast forward, the internet became fast enough to resuscitate online shopping and plastic or digital money.
I have been there when bank tellers never had a computer screens to hide their person. Cheques were being referred to bank hall supervisors in some elevated cubicle. I have been there when there were no mobile phones, no ATMs and no Wi- Fi. Today, our kids wonder how we ever survived without such oxygen of technology.
We now have digital money. When your Dstv or Gotv gets disconnected, you need not visit Multichoice offices on Presidential Drive to pay your bill and get reconnected. Using your phone you can log into your ban k account, pay your bill and behold your decoder receives a reconnection signal.
You need not have a bank account. A mobile money account like TNM Mpamba or Airtel Money is all you need to pay buy electricity tokens or indeed pay your water and other bills.
Here is the oxymoron; people’s still love crowds; what are those multitudes doing in banking halls? Why are those snaking queues visible at water board paying points during month ends? And why is the grocer still relevant when online shopping is now appetizing with digital money?
What perplexes me most is that most people that still visit banking halls for withdrawals are usually on that queue messing around with WhatsApp on their mobile phones. Did it have to take covid-19 pandemic to move government to force banks and digital money operators to reduce their fees? Welcome to the world of technology.