These days, the cannabis and technology industries are coming together to form all kinds of companies that make venture capitalists all hot and bothered. There’s Eaze and Weedmaps which have become household stoner names. The cannabis-focused data platform CannabisRegs just made headlines last month for scoring $2 million in funding to expand into other industries. Owing to trends like these, NBC Bay Area reports that some Silicon Valley “venture capitalists are now saying cannabis is ‘the new tech.'”
While that sounds far from the roots of the cannabis industry, it’s actually very close to the roots of the tech industry. In fact, the first ever online transaction may have been over a bag of weed.
In the best-selling nonfiction book The Dark Net (via Gizmodo), author Jamie Bartlett describes the historic moment when technology students used a prototype of the Internet called the Arpanet to get their hands on a dimebag:
“In 1972, long before eBay or Amazon, students from Stanford University in California and MIT in Massachusetts conducted the first ever online transaction. using the Arpanet account at their artificial intelligence lab, the Stanford students sold their counterparts a tiny amount of marijuana.”
However, some say this doesn’t technically count as the first online transaction. That’s because the students didn’t actually wire the money over the Arpanet, only arrange to hand each other cash at a later date. Despite that, it was still probably the first ever transaction to ever be facilitated online.
Which deal actually gets the honors for first ever online transaction is up for debate. Pizza Hut says they were first to the online marketplace in 1994, but The New York Times says it might have been some dude who sold his friend a used Sting CD, also in ’94. But weather it was a large pepperoni or Sting, there’s a good chance that whoever bought the first online goods was stoned.