‘Satoshi’ Made It to the Oxford English Dictionary


On October 9, the Oxford English Dictionary announced the newest addition to its collection of crypto industry jargon. The term “satoshi” has been listed and defined as the smallest unit of Bitcoin, which is equal to 0.00000001 BTC.

Named after the pseudonym of the rumored developer(s) of Bitcoin Satoshi Nakamoto, OED claims that the term was first used in 2012, by a Usenet newsgroup known then as the Ripple Project. In 2013 and 2017, the word appeared in the Guardian and the Times, respectively. 

The addition, as explained in an official blog post, was part of the quarterly update to the English-language vocabulary’s database. Aside from satoshi, OED also added Manhattanhenge” and “whatevs” and further updated the definition of “fake news.” 

However, it’s worth noting that satoshi was not the first crypto-related term that has made it to the pages of the reputable dictionary. In 2013, OED listed Bitcoin and defined it as a virtual currency in which transactions can be done without interference from a central bank. 

The Oxford Dictionary Online, which is known as the English language’s principal historical dictionary, also acknowledged the term “cryptocurrency” as an English word in 2014.

According to OED’s definition, a cryptocurrency is a virtual currency in which encryption methods are applied to verify fund transfers and to control the generation of units of currency. Just like Bitcoin, OED acknowledges that cryptocurrencies can operate without relying on a central bank. In 2017, Bitcoin was selected by Investopedia as the Term of the Year. 


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