HomeBlogsMerriam-Webster Dictionary Adds Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, and Initial Coin Offering

Merriam-Webster Dictionary Adds Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, and Initial Coin Offering


The changing language landscape has seen the world’s longest running dictionary stepping into the cryptocurrency world with the addition of crypto-related words.

In an announcement, Merriam-Webster said that it had added words such as cryptocurrency, initial coin offering (ICO), and blockchain to its list of 850 new words and definitions at Merriam-Webster.com.

With the way we use words constantly changing, the dictionary is aiming to clarify the ‘sometimes perplexing domain of digital financial exchanges.’

It said:

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.

Merriam-Webster define 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 blockchain is described 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.’

However, at the time of publishing the definition for initial coin offering was not available.

With interest in the cryptocurrency market continuing to rise this makes for a notable move by Merriam-Webster, which first added the term bitcoin to its plethora of words two years ago. The use of these words are being more frequently whether on the news or within day-to-day conversations, so it makes sense for one of the world’s most established dictionaries to include words that are related to the cryptocurrency industry.

Featured image from Flickr via Chris.


Rebecca Campbell
Rebecca Campbell
Rebecca Campbell is a freelance bitcoin and blockchain journalist based in England. She has a keen interest in the blockchain space and the use cases the technology is being in and is excited to see what new changes the distributed ledger brings to our day-to-day lives.

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