Merriam-Webster, the prestigious American dictionary founded in 1831 and today owned by the even more prestigious Encyclopædia Britannica, now officially contains the words “Cryptocurrency”, “ICO”, and “Blockchain”. The publication has announced it expanded its coverage of the emerging crypto ecosystem when it added a total of 850 terms from different fields that have recently become staples of modern English such as “mansplain”, “life hack” and “kombucha”.
The Merriam-Webster announcement explained that: “The sometimes perplexing domain of digital financial exchanges opens a window into a subject that requires explanation for many of us, hence the detailed definition of cryptocurrency as well as an entry for initial coin offering, which refers to the first sale of Bitcoin-like digital currency. Keeping records of financial transactions in a digital database as part of a publicly accessible network uses blockchain technology.”
The dictionary now defines cryptocurrency as “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.” The word’s first known use is dated to the year 1990, which is eighteen years before Merriam-Webster dates “Bitcoin”.
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.” The word’s first known use is dated to the year 2011.
ICO is simply “an initial offering of a cryptocurrency to the public.” The word’s first known use is dated to the year 2014.