Online trade exchanges became especially popular with small businesses after the 2008 financial crisis, which culminated in the Great Recession. As prospects and sales dwindled, small businesses increasingly turned to trade exchanges to generate revenue. According to the New York Times, trade exchanges reported double-digit increases in membership in 2008. The exchanges enabled members to find new customers for their products and get access to goods and services using unused inventory. The exchanges also used custom currency, which could be hoarded and used to purchase services like hotel stays during vacations. The trade economy during the financial crisis was estimated to have touched $3 billion.