“What’s in a name?” muses the eponymous heroine of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. A “rose,” she says “by any other name would smell as sweet.” Not so when it comes to cryptocurrencies, it seems.
Some of Japan’s most prominent crypto industry players, academics, lawmakers and legal experts spent their weekend debating crypto-related lexicon, in a bid to standardize the often-confusing jargon surrounding blockchain-powered tokens.
The meeting of minds was sparked by a recent exchange in parliament, with finance minister Taro Aso bringing up the question of crypto semantics recently when responding to a question from an MP who is pushing for crypto tax reform.
Aso quipped that there was “something dubious-sounding” about the prefix “crypto,” and suggested that advocates use something more confidence-inspiring, such as the “stable” in “stablecoins.”
His remarks echo sentiments expressed by British author JK Rowling, who recently risked the ire of Bitcoiners by suggesting that crypto “sounds creepy.”
Juliet prefixes her speech about names by urging Romeo: “Be some other name!”
So, the experts, including the heads of a number of major Japanese crypto exchanges, decided to do precisely that – convening (virtually) in search of an orthodox terminology that could be acceptable for one and all.
Earlier this summer, the Japanese government has required all legal documentation to stop referring to cryptocurrencies (literally “virtual currencies” in Japanese), in favor of “cryptoassets.” However, this change is yet to have any real-world effects, as most media outlets, business leaders and the general public – reports Coin Post – still use the term that means “virtual currencies.” In other words, crypto is still crypto for most.
The experts agreed that “cryptocurrencies” was essentially a misnomer, as bitcoin (BTC) and the like did not meet the definition of “currencies.” In a bid to move away from both the notion of “crypto” and “currencies,” one exchange head suggested using a term like “digital coin,” which most of the participants appeared to like.
The group went on to discuss the use of the word “staking” when applied to crypto, agreeing that other terms that make reference to “dividends” and other conventional finance-related terms were not suitable replacements, with “digital deposit” suggested by one participant.
Even the term “blockchain” was called into question.
The event concluded with a vote, the results of which were posted on Twitter by organizer d14b, and can be seen below:
- Crypto Asset -> digital coin
- Stable coin -> legal currency-linked electronic coin
- Token -> smart trademark
- Staking -> digital deposit
- Blockchain -> tamper-resistant distributed ledger