‘Cryptocurrency’, ‘ICO’ and ‘Blockchain’ Enter 190-year Old Merriam-Webster

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Merriam-Webster has added 850 new words in its dictionary along with their definitions. Three of these words include cryptocurrency, blockchain and initial coin offering (ICO).

According to the post last updated on Mar. 3, cryptocurrency is:

any form of currency that only exists digitally, that usually has no central issuing or regulating authority but instead uses a decentralized system to record transactions and manage the issuance of new units, and that relies on cryptography to prevent counterfeiting and fraudulent transactions

First Known Use: 1990

Blockchain is defined as:

a digital database containing information (such as records of financial transactions) that can be simultaneously used and shared within a large decentralized, publicly accessible network; also : the technology used to create such a database

First Known Use: 2011

While, ICO is:

the first sale of a cryptocurrency to the public conducted for the purpose of raising funds (as to support a start-up)

 called also ICO

First Known Use: 2014

Merriam-Webster previously added bitcoin in 2016 as “a digital currency created for use in peer-to-peer online transactions.” The decision came after the “perplexing domain of digital financial exchanges” required a thorough understanding of words in the crypto community.

On the other hand, Oxford Dictionary, recognized bitcoin as early as 2013. The official blog post read, “Technology remains a catalyst for emerging words and is reflected in new entries.” Two years later, the website announced that it had added ‘blockchain’ as well as ‘miners’ in the new list of words.

Miner is defined as:

A person who obtains units of a cryptocurrency by running computer processes to solve specific mathematical problems.

Merriam-Webster also replied to questions asking whether the words were added to Collegiate or Unabridged.

Cryptocurrency was able to meet a well-defined criteria before securing a place in the dictionary, “To be included in a Merriam-Webster dictionary, a word must be used in a substantial number of citations that come from a wide range of publications over a considerable period of time. Specifically, the word must have enough citations to allow accurate judgments about its establishment, currency, and meaning.”

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