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Cryptocurrency: Definitions

museJun 5, 2018, 2:09:57 PM

My objective in this article is to define the following terms:


A big problem with the way these terms are conventionally defined, is that unnecessary conditions are added to the definition, which results in a severe retardation to accurate understanding, and frequently misplaced dependence upon traditional institutions, governments, thirsty scam artist come law-firm Microsoft, or about 95% of ICO startups. These definitions are important, and so are their distortions.

First of all, when looking for initial economic definitions, be extremely careful when you use Investopedia(or even never use it), unless your intention is satire. Here is why:

Money is an officially issued legal tender that typically consists of notes and coins. Money is the circulating medium of exchange as defined by a government. Money is often synonymous with cash and includes various instruments such as checks. Each country has its own money that it and its residents exchange for goods within its borders.

Thus, according to Investopedia, money by definition cannot exist without a government. Their definition of currency also in the same way requires the government. This would seem to imply that Investopedia believes it's impossible to have a medium of exchange without a "government" (however that word "government" might be defined). Which is to say, they apparently believe it would be impossible for a "circulating medium of exchange" to exist without the governments oversight. In reality, gold and silver as a medium of exchange has survived the rise and fall of governments for thousands of years. There has also always been other medium of exchanges used that just emerged from social interaction, seashells, stones, alchohol, vegetables etc etc. As this fact is pretty common knowledge. Investopedia seems to be blatantly lying, or at best sorely mistaken.

So what source should we use? It turns out that for a starting point, generic dictionaries give a far better description of Economics than the "specialist" Investopedia. I will therefore choose carefully from the definitions at wordnik.com for conventional terminology, and for more modern cryptocurrency terms such as Coin, Altcoin and Token, I will need to look past conventional definitions and look to how they are defined in the cryptocurrency community.

In all of these cases, the definitions I give will be only the initial stage. In a Second part to this series I will go beyond definitions and unify them into a single theme, and show that in most cases, many commonly held ideas and distinctions in the world of Economics completely break down in a world which does not have false definitions asserted by regulative bodies, and which also forces rethinking of the meaning of even basic Economic terms such as the definition of scarcity.


 n. A medium that can be exchanged for goods and services and is used as a measure of their values on the market, including among its forms a commodity such as gold, an officially issued coin or note, or a deposit in a checking account or other readily liquefiable account.


n. Money in any form when in actual use as a medium of exchange, especially circulating paper money.


transitive v. To spend or devote for future advantage or benefit: invested much time and energy in getting a good education.

Things get even more tricky when we begin to look at cryptocurrency related terms. Not only are most cryptocurrencies excluded by definition by Investopedia from being a currency/medium of exchange, but also the field is still new and evolving. The simplest definition is as follows, based simply on the combination of the two words Cryptography + Currency.


Cryptocurrencies are digital or virtual currencies that are encrypted (secured) using cryptography.


The terms Coin and token have become popular, and it is often assumed that a cryptocurrency is either one or the other. The difference is often said to be something like a "Coin is Cash" while a "Token is everything else". Or that a coin is currency, but a token is a utility. These are not good definitions, as the majority of what people call tokens are not pegged to real utilities, so this definition does not fit what most people call a token.

Another definition might be something to do with how you "should" use them - as if anybody can tell you what you "should" do with cryptocurrency. People will say certain coins are "good for investing/store of value" or "good for spending/transactions". This is not a good definition as most cryptocurrencies can be used in both these ways.

The only definition that has any real meaning is to consider a (crypto)coin to be any cryptocurrency that operates independently from every other cryptocurrency. That is, it has it's own database.

[A] Coin, for instance Bitcoin, is a cryptocurrency type which operates independently of any other platform. In other words a coin has its own platform which is called blockchain.


An altcoin, is any cryptocoin that is an alternative to Bitcoin. Examples are: Namecoin, Peercoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Auroracoin, Ethereum.

an altcoin is any cryptocoin that is not Bitcoin.


If a cryptocoin is any cryptocurrency that is not dependent on any other platform, a token is any cryptocurrency that is dependent on another platform. There are many more tokens than there are (crypto)coins, because tokens are really easy to create, and they require less infrastructure. The vast majority of tokens are built on the Ethereum(a cryptocoin) blockchain database.

a token is any cryptocurrency that is dependent on any other underlying platform;
a token is any cryptocurrency that does not have its own database(such as its own blockchain);

Special thanks to...

in dialogue with...
@AndNill and his blogs Minds is Not Steemit and WTF is a Minds Token?
@Esotariq and his blog Investment vs Currency - The Difference
@Denchiro and his blog Bitcoin as it is – pros and cons
@glenvincentie and his blog The difference between money and currency
@KekistaniConsulate and their blog Rent My Eloquence #5: "KeKLs

tangential economics...
@Tyrie2001 and his blog Cash is King. Never be without it.
@Glaucon and his blog Becoming unbanked: On the road to personal withdrawal from the banks and the state controlled monetary system
@TeaFlavoredHarborWater and his blog Cronyism isn't Capitalism

in hope of triggering...
@12thmonkeyminds because he's mental
@Blizz4rd4ngel might be interested
@RealMindsChan a cute chatbot that passed the Turing Test
@fuckyou10 probably the profile with the most subscriptions whilst still not publishing or even reminding any actual content
@confetticrafts because she's a gem

#Money #Currency #Invest #Cryptocurrency #Coin #Cryptocoin #Altcoin #Token #Cryptotoken