Cryptocurrency, Cryptocurrency, Cryptoasset or Cryptocurrency?

Whether it is a simple matter of spelling, semantics, or a potential difference in nature, debate continues regarding these four terms. Like the blockchain universe, the usage of these words is constantly evolving. Let’s take a look at what’s happening now.

Want to know more? Discover ours definition of cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency, cryptocurrency or cryptocurrency?

These three terms sound the same and are impossible to distinguish when you speak. However, this would be of no interest because they all mean the same thing.

Here is the official definition found as of 2013 Laroussefamous dictionary of the French language:

cryptocurrency (female noun): Virtual payment method used mainly on the Internet, based on cryptography to secure transactions and the creation of units and escape any control by regulators and central banks. (Also called crypto currency.) [ll existe des centaines de cryptomonnaies dans le monde, parmi lesquelles le bitcoin. Parce qu’elles sont dépourvues de cours légal, les spécialistes privilégient l’appellation cryptoactifs.]

Larousse dictionary

As far as regulators and central banks are concerned, it seems that today the definition given by Wikipedia is more in keeping with the current reality:

or cryptocurrencyalso called cryptoactive, cryptocurrency, cryptocurrency or cyber currency, is a digital currency (digital asset) issued peer-to-peer, without the need for a central bank, usable through a decentralized computer network. It uses cryptographic technology and connects the user to the process of issuing and settling transactions.


As you can see, Larousse refers to specialists to distinguish between “cryptocurrency” and “cryptoassets”. We will consider this issue in the next paragraph.


In terms of spelling, they seem to have retained only one: cryptocurrency. However, “cryptocurrency” is commonly used by a large part of the community and specialists such as the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty. Perhaps they want to highlight the technical (crypto) side of this term by separating it from “currency” using a hyphen…

At Journal Du Coin, we have preferred to follow French language specialists and use “cryptocurrency” in all our publications.

As for “cryptocurrency” everything suggests that this is not a correct spelling. Indeed, in French, a compound noun can be formed from two words separated by a space provided that the prefix is ​​an adverb or a noun, which is not the case for “crypto”.

This reflection can certainly be extended to crypto-assets, which can be spelled “crypto-wealth” but not “crypto-wealth”.

Cryptocurrency or Cryptoassets?

Vocabulary problem

To distinguish these 2 terms, it is necessary to return to the meaning of their suffixes: ” CHANGES “and” asset “.

or CHANGES is a unit of trade value and exchange (usually, but not necessarily, issued by an official institution).

or asset (asset in English) is an asset that can be tangible or intangible that an individual, a company or a state can acquire and own. Every asset contains an economic value (it is for this purpose that they are held).

However, some assets can be like money during exchanges. Others must remain liquid, i.e. immediately exchangeable for money, regardless of market conditions (especially so that central banks maintain their credibility). We don’t know what to call them anymore, so some call them ” almost the money “.

For years now specialists lose Latin. This was raised in the year 2000 by Alan Greenspan (President of the Federal Reserve of the United States) when cryptocurrencies had not yet seen the light of day!

“The problem is that we cannot infer from our statistical database what real money is, conceptually, either in transaction mode or store of value mode. One of the reasons for this, of course, is the proliferation of products [financiers] it has been so extraordinary that the actual mix of currency in our money and near-money data is constantly changing. Consequently, if inflation must ultimately be a monetary phenomenon, the decision to support a money supply policy presupposes that this money can be localized. This is an increasingly uncertain thesis. »

Alan Greenspan, June 2000 FOMC meeting

22 years later, the situation has worsened and it is even more difficult to decide what is money or wealth. It gets even more complicated when you add the “crypto” prefix!

Expert help

In France, the Ministry of Economy wrote a text to help all citizens find their way (it’s in the title!).

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According to’Financial Markets Authority (AMF)or cryptocurrency or one crypto assets means “virtual digital assets that are based on the technology of blockchain through a decentralized ledger and an encrypted computer protocol.

Widely, crypto-assets represent electronically stored virtual assets allowing a community of users who accept them as payment carry out transactions without having to use legal means.

From a legal point of view, a cryptocurrency is not a currency : she it does not depend on any institution, does not benefit from any legal course in any country, which makes it difficult to assess its value and cannot be spared therefore constitute a reserve value.

Crypto-currencies, crypto-assets… How to navigate? –

We can also see in this text what the French government does no difference between cryptocurrency and cryptoasset.

Moreover, still according to this text, the bitcoinso far the number of cryptocurrencies in terms of history and total market capitalization would no longer be a cryptoasset as it is legal tender in El Salvador…

Suffice it to say that those who claim to help us find our way seems to have been lost !

It is clear that even today there is a real ambiguity about these terms. Therefore, you can use a priori one or the other without distinction and without making any mistakes!

The mass adoption of cryptocurrencies globally, by governments as well as institutions and individuals, could change things. It would not be surprising if precise definitions were put into the framework of their use in the near future!

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