[Ads-l] toward a hierarchy of currencies

Barretts Mail mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jul 8 17:25:59 UTC 2017

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

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