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Bitcoin Technology

Cryptocurrencies Aren't 'Crypto' ( 169

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, writing for the Motherboard: Lately on the internet, people in the world of Bitcoin and other digital currencies are starting to use the word "crypto" as a catch-all term for the lightly regulated and burgeoning world of digital currencies in general, or for the word "cryptocurrency" -- which probably shouldn't even be called "currency," by the way. For example, in response to the recent rise of Bitcoin's price, the CEO of Shapeshift recently tweeted: "don't go into debt to buy crypto at these prices." "Crypto Stocks Rise," read a headline on Tuesday from the trade publication Investor Business Daily. But the financial blog Seeking Alpha outdid them all by publishing a post titled "Tales From The Crypto." Excuse me, "the crypto" what? As someone who has read and written about cryptography for a few years now, and who is a big fan of Crypto, the 2001 book by Steven Levy, this is a problem. "Crypto" does not mean cryptocurrency. The above are just three examples picked at random, but if you don't believe me, just search "crypto" on Google News or Twitter. On the internet, "crypto" has always been used to refer to cryptography. Think, for example, the term "Crypto Wars," which refer to government (originally the US government) efforts to undermine and slow down the adoption of unbreakable communications systems. By the way, the book Crypto isn't about Bitcoin. It's about cryptography, and more in particular, about the cryptographers who fought the government in the so-called Crypto Wars.
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Cryptocurrencies Aren't 'Crypto'

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  • by DatbeDank ( 4580343 ) on Thursday November 30, 2017 @04:46PM (#55653195)

    We would benefit from just calling everything "cyber" and replacing hashtags with AOL keywords.

  • Any more than we were able to convince the marketing shitheads that a GB is 1,073,741,824 not an even 1,000,000,000

    Maybe we can do something like was done to differentiate like Gigibyte vs Gigabyte? Cripto instead of Crypto?

    Or Bloodto instead of Cripto? ;)

    • by XanC ( 644172 )

      1,073,741,824 is a much more even number than 1,000,000,000 is.

    • by skids ( 119237 )

      I think you meant Gibibyte [].

      "Blockchain" is the most dominant of the more accurate alternative terms to "cryptocurrency" as far as I can tell. Not that that does not have different meanings much broader than financial ledgers in cryptography, but it would be a smaller loss to lose that term to the abyss of meaningless drivel that fills the news cycle than losing "crypto" itself.

      But "blockchain" doesn't sound gangsta enough for the trendroids and adderall-addled Crameresque wannabees, I would bet.

      • by KlomDark ( 6370 )

        I did, good catch, but I did a quick lazy lookup and this was the first result: https://www.collinsdictionary.... []

        But at least back in the 80s, I fucked a chick called Gigi (Margary) while her husband watched and some weird gay guy rubbed my legs...\

    • Re:Not gonna fly (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Vairon ( 17314 ) on Thursday November 30, 2017 @05:17PM (#55653513)

      The International System of Units (SI) defines the prefix giga to represent 10^9 (1,000,000,000). Therefore a GB (gigabyte) means 1,000,000,000 bytes.
      The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) defines the prefix gibi with symbol Gi to represent 1024^3 or 2^30 (1073741824). Therefore GiB (gibibyte) means 1,073,741,824 bytes.

      • Those names are fringe newcomers; "kilobyte" meant 1024 bytes for over half a century before a sleazy hard disk manufacturer paid a committee to introduce these conflicting definitions.

        You don't step over entrenched usage without a good reason. Heck, even when there's a very good reason, conventions are usually kept: see +/- signs for electricity for example. This case is nothing but a marketing gimmick that makes us suffer.

        And I have an extra reason to care, personally. I've been using this login name f

    • 1 GB is 1,000,000,000 bytes (1,953,125 512-byte sectors) of usable capacity plus 73,741,824 bytes of spare space for remapping up to 144,027 worn sectors.

    • by KlomDark ( 6370 )

      But let's instead comment on the Criptos vs the Bloodtos.

    • by Tomahawk ( 1343 )

      The SI unit is GB, which is 1,000,000,000 bytes. G-anything is 1,000,000,000 anything in SI units.
      Hence why GiB came into being in order to distinguish between the SI unit and the power-of-two unit.

      This isn't marketing (although HD manufacturers were/are notorius for using the SI unit correctly, while knowing that your average techy uses the power-of-two meaning [incorrectly]), it's standardisation of scientific values. [] []

  • OTOH, (Score:5, Interesting)

    by msauve ( 701917 ) on Thursday November 30, 2017 @04:58PM (#55653315)
    If you get outside your bubble and use a dictionary, "crypto" refers to "a person who secretly supports or adheres to a group, party, or belief." Neither the prefix crypto- (from the Greek kryptos - hidden) nor the shorthand crypto are exclusively owned by cryptographers, who themselves misappropriated it from it's (former) definition.

    If you want to mean cryptography unambiguously, just say cryptography. But don't complain when someone else uses crypto as shorthand. Pot, meet kettle.

    And, there's nothing wrong with calling them "cryptocurrencies," they're a medium of exchange based on cryptography.
    • The currency part is being dropped, which makes it just as ambiguous. I think the article is a fair critique of the current vernacular.

    • by Luthair ( 847766 )
      The part that you're ignoring is that the crypto in cryptocurrency was there as a reference to cryptography, the term was already using crypto = cryptography
      • by Anonymous Coward

        The part you're ignoring is that this is how language works. Words change meaning over time particularly when they are abbreviated forms. You need to use context to understand them, much like all other language you use.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Yes, for example "crypto-fascism []" means a hidden affinity for fascism. "Cryptobiology" is hidden or secret biology.

      "Cryptography" comes from the root words meaning "hidden writing" or "secret writing".

      People are sloppy with words; the only thing that really matters is whether that they make themselves understood -- presuming there's enough meaning in their utterances to even raise that question. If you want to play the word-police card in response to the sloppy use of "crypto", the deck is stacked against

    • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

      You might want to get a newer dictionary [].

    • And, there's nothing wrong with calling them "cryptocurrencies," they're a medium of exchange based on cryptography.

      Is that why they are called that? I thought it was because they were obscure or hidden (or bogus) currencies, similar to say cryptozoology.

  • My lack of understanding makes me react in strange and silly ways.
  • Also, why do we park on driveways, and drive on parkways?

  • Your nations tax officials are going to find that amount and start asking questions.
  • Cryptocurrencies are neither crypto, nor currencies. Discuss.
    • by ASDFnz ( 472824 )

      They are both. Discuss.

    • Cryptocurrencies are neither crypto, nor currencies. Discuss.

      True. I would use the term 'digital commodities' because their perceived value derives from the notion that the amount of each is algorithmically fixed. A currency is managed by a central bank to stay at a fixed ratio to the total value of goods they can be traded for.

  • I do not understand how a bunch of drinking glasses is capable of writing an article. This is so confusing! I think that the author is actually a person, but that doesn't make sense! The word "bicchierai" has always referred to plural drinking glasses, which is a slightly non-standard plural of "bicchiere" by the way. This person is not even a singular drinking glass, and as someone who has used drinking glasses for many years now, this is a problem! The author shouldn't even have the name "Bicchierai"!

  • Inflammable means flammable? What a country!

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Thursday November 30, 2017 @05:21PM (#55653545)

    "As someone who has read and written about cryptography for a few years now, and who is a big fan of Crypto, the 2001 book by Steven Levy, this is a problem."

    Right here is the author's true gripe - but he knows no one will care about something this trivial and stupid, so he writes an entire article attempting to convince himself and others that there's an actual reason other than his silly little snit.

  • ... you lost what you had.

    Look at "floppy."

    Yes, the very early removable storage was floppy, but when the rigid 3.5" drive came out, they were listed in Hardware Devices as "floppy."

    Look at "google," a verb meaning, "to search."

    "Crypto," will mean what the masses decide it will mean.

    Those who object will be labeled, "crypto-nazis."

    • "crypto-nazis"? I've always just called them "cryptos"

      hmmph. I just fought a battle with auto- correct trying to change "cryptos" to "cryptosporidium". That's stupid, I almost never say "cryptosporidium" I just say" crypto" and no one has ever asked me to clarify.

    • by Pfhorrest ( 545131 ) on Thursday November 30, 2017 @07:24PM (#55654387) Homepage Journal

      The "floppy" in "floppy disk" always referred to the medium inside the cartridge, not the cartridge itself. Even in 3.5" disks, that medium was a flexible, floppy film. In contrast to the hard ceramic plates of hard disks. Putting a hard plastic shell around a floppy disk doesn't mark it a hard disk any more than putting a HDD in a plastic bag makes it floppy.

      • by mvdwege ( 243851 )

        The "floppy" in "floppy disk" always referred to the medium inside the cartridge, not the cartridge itself.

        Really, no. The term "floppy disk" was coined when the medium was still encased in a flexible plastic sheath, not a hard cartridge as in 3.5" disks.

        • Nevertheless it is not the enclosure being referred to, it is the medium inside it. Magnetic storage media is either hard or floppy, and a 3.5" disk is not a hard disk.

          • by mvdwege ( 243851 )

            When it was 8" and 5 1/4" media, it was the entire assemblage which was called "floppy", because it was. 3.5" disks only got the name as a kind of legacy, because by then the term had become more or less interchangeable with 'removable low-capacity magnetic storage'.

            Really, is it so hard to just admit you were wrong?

  • by CannonballHead ( 842625 ) on Thursday November 30, 2017 @05:43PM (#55653727)

    I would have thought it was a play on the name of an old TV series, based on a quick Google search for "Tales from the Crypt," which just sounded like it would exist. So, maybe the problem is not understanding interesting writing.

  • Cryptographers like the meteorologists screaming STOP --- Clouds are these formations of moisture and dust in the sky, they have NOTHING to do with hosting, and Cloud Computing is one of the most obscene utterances ever. Too late.... too late.

    • so very unfortunate that the cute cloud symbol we old guys used as diagram shorthand has now taken on a life of its own.
  • Because good headlines need to be short and clever.
    For those who don't remember or know Tales from the Crypt: []

  • there are a lot of words that don't mean what they used to:


  • by dohzer ( 867770 )

    So it's nothing to do with cryptohashes?

  • the word 'cloud' and there is no cloud. It's just someone else's computer.
  • But they're definitely hypsto and hypesto.

  • . . . this into plain English:

    "Wah, wah, wah, language usage changes and I can't make people talk my One True Way."

    Somebody change subby's diapers.

  • PC, supposed to mean personal computer but it's synonym with Windows these days.
    Lag, supposed to mean network latency but gamers use that word to describe a low frame rate.

    Fight all you want, if there's 100K people saying it right and 50 million people saying it wrong then it's the wrong usage that will stick.

  • The general public has never before misused a technical term. Surely this heralds the end times.

  • John discusses his recent book, Words on the Move [], in the following podcast: John McWhorter on the Evolution of Language [] — August 2017

    There are words like "behoove" that are in trouble. You do hear it every once in a while. "Ruthless" is a word, but "ruth", which used to be a word, isn't. So, that kind of thing, that words catch on and other words die out—I was aware of that. But, your book just opened my eyes in an incredible way. Especially, since I have to confess, I'm a bit of a language sno

  • Within a week or two it won't be 'crypto' any more ...
    it will be cleverly reduced to 'crip'; far more hip.
    But that will annoy the LA street gang called 'the Crips' and may lead to mayhem.
    Thus a slight turn of term to 'crap', which will stick, as crap tends to do;
    causing future historians to struggle to understand the odd term.

  • You 'merkins have been corrupting the English language for decades, and this habit of shortening a word to its otherwise widely-used prefix annoys me on a regular basis.

    What is a 'semi' ? I had to look that one up.

  • I have crypto, get over it already. And yes, it is real money. It is a currency. Now go find a real job.
  • Good luck with that. The masse's shape language [].

  • Cryptographic Currency... It's just shortened to Crypto... Chill Out y'all “I used to be with it, but then they changed what ‘it’ was, and now what I’m with isn’t it. And what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary to me.”
  • Dudes who creep on post-pubescent but under 18 girls are pedophiles.
    Folks who hate gay people but aren't even slightly afraid of them are homophobes.
    People use the word "anymore" in place of the word "currently," anymore.

    And apparently, now "crypto" means "funky internet money," not cryptographic keys, or a prefix to the word "jew" meaning "pretending not to be one."

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.