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Crypto as in Crypto (benlog.com)
18 points by Tomte 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 23 comments

When I first heard “crypto” for “cryptocurrency” I was saddened because it seemed like the meaning was being coopted away from the “real” meaning of “cryptography”. But now, I think we're stuck with it. Words sometimes just have multiple related-but-different meanings. Like how a chemist's "organic" is different from a farmer's "organic". Or, perhaps more saliently to this community, Y Combinator's "hacker" is different from CNN's "hacker".

I think the problem is that blockcain fans mostly don't care about real crypto :) and use "crypto" as a synonym for digital currency. To me, saying "crypto" means blockchain seems like saying "paper" means book. Sure it is needed, but it is not really the most relevant thing to its function. We surely wouldn't call a pdf "paper" but I think some might call Ripple or even a simple sql database "crypto", and cryptography probably still is used in there to some degree but I think it is very far from the core.

I dunno, I seem to have many papers in pdf form on my hard drive.

Oh, I meant paper as a material. (And you probably got that.)

And your "hard drive" is presumably an SSD, now.

And by "SSD" you mean the storage on the phone.

It's even more ironic considering cryptography isn't even needed for a blockchain. All you really need is a hash function.

Radical proposal: Abbreviations can mean more than one thing depending on context.

Yeah, but the real question is how do we pronounce GIF?

This reminds me of those insisting that drones are not drones, but quad-copters (what about those with 6 propellers?)

Language is defined by it's usage.

Taken to extreme, I've seen serious linguists argue that if a lot of different background non-native speakers make the same mistake when speaking English, maybe they are right and the native speakers are wrong.

Maybe it's just me, but I really don't like this view in this case.

Crypto in cryptocurrency still stands for cryptographic and by using crypto for cryptocurrency we are making things harder to understand for eveyone.

Of course language evolves, but I think, given the chance, we should make it easier to understand and not harder.

Edit: spelling

How do we make it harder exactly?

I have never seen a linguist argue that. Usually the deference to native speakers is absolute, for good reason.

Unless you want to talk about an „international English“ or so.

You are somewhat right, I've seen it when reading about ELF (English as Lingua Franca).

But respected native English linguists were arguing that "English does not belong to native speakers"

> Whatever we call it, we still need a use case for full trustless crypto. The reason you find many cryptographers skeptical of Blockchain as a major new technological framework (Internet 3.0!) is that many of us have tried to pitch and develop trustless business models before. And all of the use cases we had in mind have consistently been better served by more centralized, higher-trust alternatives. So we look at Blockchain with a feeling of “we’ve tried this before, and it’s not clear there’s anything sufficiently new to make users want this.”

Is there a reason this argument isn't getting wider airplay? Always felt the same way. Interesting to have it validated by someone who sounds like he's been around the block (pun intended).

The loss of the word 'meme' was unfortunate imho. For cryptography, we can always say simply 'cryptography,' instead of 'crypto.'

Was the 'meme' word ever used before?

The first time I remember seeing it ten years ago was exactly to describe the modern internet phenomenon.

It was coined in 1976 as a term meaning "information virus" (akin to gene) something that manages to get itself copied by using its hosts, humans. It still sort of has shades of that meaning in its modern usage, but the original usage was more serious... useful for discussing things like how religions evolve self defense mechanisms.

Nice to see Wikipedia still talks about the old meaning, and uses "internet meme" for the newer meaning.


Idk I've always said encryption when talking about cryptography. Also context would matter when discerning the intended meaning of crypto as a coin or crypto as in cryptography.

Cryptography is a broader subject that encryption, including for example message authentication, not just message encryption.

Fair enough, it's not my area of expertise.

Encryption is a subset of cryptography. There are also digital signatures and other things.

I don't understand why there has to be a battle at all. What is this, a grammar nazi club?

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