The Digital Economy: Today and Beyond

The global economy is a many-faceted, constantly changing aspect of our lives. The earliest form of commercial transactions were typically barter trades. However, currency began a critical change in shaping the economic future, as a more reliable form of exchanging value. When paper replaced metal coins, it triggered another change in the way economies work. Then came a whole host of non-liquid alternatives such as stocks, promissory notes, bonds, futures, and much more. In 2021, the shape of the economy is vastly different. With an unprecedented global acceptance of tech like smartphones and apps, and the growing fascination with cryptocurrency, the dynamics are far more sophisticated than ever before. Read on for more.

Understanding the Digital Economy

Plastic currency and wire transfers continued to all but replace paper notes for most major transactions. Now, well into what we call the Digital Age, it is only fitting that the economy should experience another major transformation. This time it’s digital, and along with all the new opportunities, there are entirely new challenges. There is easier and fairer access to international markets, but there’s also the very real risks of data breaches. New jobs like developers, IT specialists, vCISO services, and digital process outsourcing have emerged. Therefore, it may be a good idea to brush up on your knowledge of our modern-day digital economy. This blog focuses on:

Internet Unicorns Are Only Extreme Examples

One myth that needs busting right off the bat is the internet unicorns. What are they? The same as unicorns, the subject of a lot of lore and legend in corporate workspaces. However, unlike “real” unicorns, internet unicorns do exist, and many of them are services that we use on an everyday basis. An internet unicorn is a euphemism for a privately held tech startup that breaks the $1-billion valuation barrier. Startups like Facebook, Google, and Amazon are icons in the digital economy and the digital world, and are perfect examples of digital unicorns.

However, this degree of success is very rare, even in today’s efficient and strategy-focused workplaces. Internet unicorns are real, and many are global industry icons. But they don’t reflect the digital economy realities for an everyday firm.  They are all exceptions, not the norm. For the rest of us, the meaning is quite different.

What is The Digital Economy?

The digital economy is made up of all the economic activity generated by billions of online interactions every day. People interact with devices, brands, software, applications, and other digital touchpoints every single day. The various aspects of the digital economy depend on a singular backbone: connectivity. Or rather, hyperconnectivity. Devices, systems, advertisers, brands, manufacturers, business processes, and databases are all connected to individuals through a sophisticated mix of hardware and software. This economic ecosystem, involving new types of jobs, services, roles, and tech that builds on slightly older versions, is something that would have been unfathomable to the economists of the last century. But with cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, it is fairly obvious that the digital economy is still evolving.

Businesses Are Open to Digital Transformations

The internet and digital devices would have remained a short-lived trend or at most a novelty, except for one very important factor. Workplaces and businesses began adopting internet use and personal computers when they saw the increase in efficiency and output. This was the watershed movement, and since then, businesses have played a huge part in establishing the fledgling digital economy. Today, brands don’t just operate online, but are also undergoing end-to-end digital transformations. This in turn is triggering a greater demand for tech roles, and even entirely new roles that didn’t even exist a few years ago. Taking each and every business action, interaction, and process digital is going to have a massive impact on how successfully businesses can navigate the challenges and opportunities of the future. 

Speculating on the Future Economy

What could the future digital economy look like? A definitive answer is usually very complex, and may still turn out to be completely off the mark. The COVID-19 pandemic is a grim reminder of how even the best-laid continuity plans and legacy industry leaders can buckle under a crisis of enough scale. The truth is, there is no real way to pinpoint where the digital economy will stand in the future, and what form it might take. There is no denying the widespread penetration and acceptance of digital transactions, and brands are able to access markets others may have not tapped yet. But at the same time, everything is still in flux.

The internet has a bad infestation of hypes, trends, and digital fads. Nobody took Bitcoin seriously a decade ago, today we have Bitcoin billionaires. In many ways, the digital economy of today is comparable to early economies in terms of infancy. So, what we see today may simply be the birth throes of a new economy, not the growth of an existing one. In terms of the future, an educated guess is still a guess. Let us know how, you think, it will look like.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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