Day trading can trace its origins all the way back to the mid-19th century. Shortly after the invention of the telegraph, the first ticker tape for trading was created; the immediacy of the technology and the speed with which it allowed people to communicate facilitated a boom in the stock market trading industry. The concept of buying and selling stock on the same day originated here, and trading has only gone from strength to strength as a technologically-enhanced concept since then.
It is undeniable that technology has completely transformed the landscape of trading, but it can be hard to pinpoint exactly how. Here are some of the ways technology has impacted the trading world.
An obvious place to begin, perhaps, but there’s really no overstating the importance of the Internet when it comes to the world of trading. When the Internet was first commercialized, it became possible for traders to communicate with one another instantly across huge distances, as well as keeping track of the stock markets on a much more regular basis. As Internet speeds improved, it became possible to track minute-to-minute fluctuations in the stock exchange, which made life a lot easier for traders (and a lot harder, in some ways). With the advent of the Internet, traders were no longer relying on bad phone connections, lengthy fax messages which took an age to transfer, or TV that just wasn’t up-to-the-minute and accurate enough. With some brokers offer better deals than others, it has become a very competitive field, all accessed from a web-browser or smartphone and tablet.
Mobile data and 4G
For a long time, accessing the Internet on one’s phone was a tricky proposition. Early Internet-enabled phones were primitive, only having access to a handful of bespoke websites and rendering most standard pages as garbled nonsense. Once the iPhone was released back in 2007, though, the responsive design revolution began, and an increasing number of pages were being optimized for mobile platforms. Many trading sites and stock exchange tracking pages were updated, and as soon as mobile 4G Internet access was rolled out commercially, it became possible to track fluctuations in the market and access one’s own stocks and shares while out and about. Suddenly, traders weren’t confined to their office or their home if they wanted to find out the latest developments instantly.
Directly related to mobile data, the appearance of apps on smartphones was a watershed moment for trading. Previously, trading was done entirely either via websites or on old-school telephone connections. Once apps emerged, it was possible for Forex traders, CFD holding aficionados, sports betting agencies and many more to develop their own apps, improving the health of competition in the trading industry and ensuring that traders could always access their preferred outlet if an official app was available. Many trading platforms now have their own apps, and there are a wealth of third-party apps available to consumers of novice and expert status alike.
Crowdsourcing and the gig economy
With the advent of the “gig economy”, in which many people choose to strike out as self-employed or start their own business rather than enter into an employment contract, trading became a different beast altogether. Where previously traders would need to rely on established names to stand a chance of making a profit thanks to market uncertainties and the reliability of large corporations, now a huge number of start-up and small business companies allow traders to identify potentially profitable investments from a much earlier stage. Platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Patreon have increased the visibility of business ventures to traders, so the market is no longer as homogeneous as it once was.
The entire Forex industry has blossomed as a result of the worldwide access technology has allowed traders to take advantage of. Thanks to global time differences, there’s never any need to stop trading if you don’t want to; once the US markets close for the day, the Hong Kong exchange is already starting up, and once that closes, the European markets are beginning their day. Technology has made it easy to access all of these markets at your convenience, so if you’re a night owl and you want to keep making money no matter what, your smartphone or your PC will allow you unfettered access to markets that pre-Internet traders could only dream of.
Arguably one of the most important aspects of the modern Internet era, social media has fundamentally changed the way traders do business. It’s true that social media itself isn’t really an adequate platform for trading, but the abundance of adverts on Facebook, Twitter and other services allow traders access to apps and services they may never have heard of. In addition to this, the immediacy of Twitter and Facebook suits traders perfectly; tweets by Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and other important figures can see shares skyrocketing or plummeting depending on what’s encoded within those 140 & 280 characters. Social media is a force both for good and bad in the world of trading.