Why Cryptocurrency Is Not an 'Industry'

3 min

What term should we use to describe the collective of individuals and projects working to further the use cases of blockchain tech technology? Are we an industry, a sector or something else? Noelle Acheson describes why this matters greater than we can potentially realize.

New concepts are complicated enough to talk about without having to struggle with vocabulary. It’s not so much the must occasionally use arcane terms; it’s likewise that long- established words can be inadequate and better ones are not is still in circulation. 1 painful example is a word I need use plenty of times a day, knowing it is inaccurate.

I’m not talking about the word “crypto,” although I certainly could – it used to refer to cryptography, which is not necessarily blockchain-related. I’m referring to a description of what we are essentially doing here.

We’ll know our category is maturing, though, when the labels blur and possibly even fade away – when we care more about what a project does than how it works. And once we see blockchain-based payments corporations make it into financial services ETFs. And once tokenized shares of Meta Platforms (the previous Facebook) and Nvidia power a metaverse network ETF alongside native crypto tokens such as MANA and SAND.

Labels matter a lot for regulation, as well. Lawmakers seem to comprehend that they can’t regulate “technology,” but they can make sure that technology corporations do not abuse data and do not get as well big. Still, we see numerous calls for regulation of “crypto” as if it was one activity, without understanding that it is indeed as well sprawling to be regulated comprehensively.

On the other hand, there is a glimmer of linguistic hope on the horizon. The fact that we even have a “ cryptocurrency industry” – that it isn’t just lumped into the “tech industry” bucket – is confirmation that what we are working on is truly innovative and unique likewise as a sign that, finally, the tech label is evolving. The same will sooner or  thereafter happen to our area.

And just as technology evolves, maybe vocabulary should likewise. Maybe it’s time to retire the word “industry,” at least in its app  to tech and cryptocurrency. It does, after all, conjure up images of manufacturing in physical locations.

And, what then? “Sector” is as well broad – it’s as of now best applied to economic segments, such as “services sector” or “public sector.” Personally, I prefer “ecosystem” – it sounds more community-driven, less technology-specific and more flexible as to ultimate goals. More encompassing, collaborative and welcoming, even for those who do not work in blockchain-related projects.

See also: A Dictionary for Degens | Opinion

“Industry” will no doubt still creep into my writing with frequency as some habits are hard to suppress (and as my inner thesaurus will rebel against repeating “ecosystem” as well much). On the other hand, I’m going to give it a try – after all, the cryptocurrency ecological system deserves better than having to make do with antiquated terminology.

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