[Ads-l] toward a hierarchy of currencies

Barretts Mail mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jul 8 14:40:09 EDT 2017

Good point, and one that is close to the problem of bitcoin being a “digital currency” even though it can be withdrawn from ATMs.

My assumption is that fiat currencies exist in physical form even if they are frequently transacted digitally. So if you spend $50 with a debit card, that $50 physically exists at the bank or a government institution.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_dollar#Means_of_issue <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_dollar#Means_of_issue> says: "The monetary base consists of coins and Federal Reserve Notes in circulation outside the Federal Reserve Banks and the U.S. Treasury, plus deposits held by depository institutions at Federal Reserve Banks.”

In contrast, the basis or at least the primary basis of a digital currency is in digital form.


> On 8 Jul 2017, at 10:52, Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Since most USD exist digitally, how do you differentiate between 2b and 3?
> On Jul 8, 2017 1:26 PM, "Barretts Mail" <mail.barretts at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Twice recently, I have implied that bitcoin is an alt coin (“cold -
>> inactive, offline” on 28 May and “(cryptocurrency) wallets” on 29 May). It
>> may be that the term is sometimes used that way, but that does not seem
>> standard.
>> Here is a tentative hierarchy of currencies:
>> 1. currency
>> 2a. fiat currency such as the US dollar, RMB and euro
>> 2b: alternative/private currency (https://en.wikipedia.org/
>> wiki/Alternative_currency <https://en.wikipedia.org/
>> wiki/Alternative_currency>) - any currency used as an alternative to the
>> official one. If a state goes rogue and starts printing their own currency,
>> that would also qualify.
>> 3 (from 2b): digital currency, digital money, electronic money (
>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_currency <https://en.wikipedia.org/
>> wiki/Digital_currency>) - a currency whose basis resides in computers
>> 4. virtual currency (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_currency <
>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_currency>) - a currency used in a
>> virtual community.
>> 5. cryptocurrency (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptocurrency <
>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptocurrency>) - a currency exchanged
>> using cryptography for security
>> 5a. bitcoin
>> 5b. alt coin (derived from “bitcoin alternative according to
>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptocurrency <https://en.wikipedia.org/
>> wiki/Cryptocurrency>) - in turn comprising shitcoins and perhaps another
>> category of less-risky alt coins such as ethereum and litecoin
>> It should be noted that since there are bitcoin ATMs in Europe and the US
>> (at least), the bitcoin is not truly a virtual currency.
>> I’m still new to the cryptoworld and am sure further refinements are
>> required.
>> Benjamin Barrett
>> Formerly of Seattle, WA
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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