Thanks to Bitcoin’s meteoric rise to $20,000 this past December, ‘cryptocurrency’ has become one of the biggest buzz-words in recent years. On Tuesday, it joined 849 others in becoming an official word recognized and defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary - the de-facto name in dictionaries.
Each month, Merriam-Webster reviews words that have become put into regular use - but are not yet defined by the well-established dictionary brand - for inclusion consideration. Merriam Webster explains the goals behind their updates:
“The words we use are constantly changing in big ways and small, and we're here to record those changes. Each word has taken its own path in its own time to become part of our language—to be used frequently enough by some in order to be placed in a reference for all. If you're likely to encounter a word in the wild, whether in the news, a restaurant menu, a tech update, or a Twitter meme, that word belongs in the dictionary.”
The additions ‘cryptocurrency’, ‘blockchain’ and 'initial coin offering’ are among other words added to the dictionary. They will be listed alongside other regularly used new terminology such as ‘Chiweenie’ (a designer dog breed that is a cross of a Dachshund and a Chihuahua), ‘dumpster fire’, and ‘mansplain’.
Merriam-Webster’s blog post excerpt on crypto-related terms reads:
"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.”
Cryptocurrency is defined by Merriam-Webster 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 addition comes two years after Bitcoin was added, and while it is seemingly insignificant, it proves that the mainstream public is beginning to take notice to cryptocurrency and that it is here to stay.