Bitcoin to a Horse through cryptocurrency.

I like the journey of etymology, yes I have an interest but it’s also interesting. Several blogs I’ve written Trust, Tax and so on follow this theme so I thought I’d do some research on crypto currency.

My initial search seemed a dead end. Look where you can and you will receive the insightful information that the etymology of “cryptocurrency” is 21st century, from crypto + currency. I know! It blew my mind too. I could follow one of two forks here. Either I go down the road that talks of how millennial thinking has even dumbed down etymology into a simple easy to read (and speak) soundbite. Or, I could dig deeper. I have to tell you it’s quite nice and a pleasant stroll through the etymologicon, especially on a windy, chilly afternoon at my desk.


To begin the first half of the word “Crypto” is from ancient greek “Kryptos” mean hidden or secret. This itself gave rise to puzzles called “cryptograms” you would use a cipher to decode or solve the cryptogram thus revealing the answer.  I ought to mention here there is such a thing as a crypto kitty which is another blog entirely. So keeping your crypto a secret hidden in a file on your computer or indeed in the cyberspace makes sense, etymologically.

“Currency” from Medieval Latin “currentia” the plural of the Latin “currens” came from the Dalmation word “curro” “to run.”The Latin “ is from proto-italic “korzo” to hasten, hurry, move, travel, proceed etc. This word has other roots for example the Spanish “corriendo” – running or “correr” meaning “to flow. Therefore currency etymologically doesn’t make sense; unless you want a “run” on your currency which would be pretty disastrous especially if you are starting up in the field. How did “currency come be be linked to money? Well you would be right if you thought of the word current because currency as mentioned is from the Latin “currens” meaning to run the same from the Spanish word “correr”meaning to flow. The Latin word though in 1650’s Middle English  meant also the “condition of flowing” as in electricity (these days) or  water (those days) and by 1699 it referred to the “circulation of money”. So we have the flow of hidden money in cryptocurrency, we call it circulation.

Another slight anomaly however is that the latin “currens” has its own source in Proto Indo-European. This word is cognate (related) to Old Norse “hross” Old English “hors” or as we say “horse.” Which may in my thinking mean dealing in cryptocurrency could be good, maybe if you are thinking about it you could live by the adage of never looking a crypto gift horse in the mouth? You decide.