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Encryption The Almighty Buck

Cryptographers Aren't Happy With How You're Using the Word 'Crypto' (theguardian.com) 99

Cryptographers are upset that "crypto" sometimes now refers to cryptocurrency, reports the Guardian: This lexical shift has weighed heavily on cryptographers, who, over the past few years, have repeated the rallying cry "Crypto means cryptography" on social media. T-shirts and hoodies trumpet the phrase and variations on it; there's a website dedicated solely to clarifying the issue. "'Crypto' for decades has been used as shorthand and as a prefix for things related to cryptography," said Amie Stepanovich, executive director of Silicon Flatirons Center at the University of Colorado Law School and creator of the pro-cryptography T-shirts, which have become a hit at conferences. "In fact, in the term cryptocurrency, the prefix crypto refers back to cryptography...."

[T]here remains an internecine feud among the tech savvy about the word. As Parker Higgins of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, who has spent years involved in cryptography activism, pointed out, the cryptography crowd is by nature deeply invested in precision — after all, designing and cracking codes is an endeavor in which, if you get things "a little wrong, it can blow the whole thing up...."

"Strong cryptography is a cornerstone of the way that people talk about privacy and security, and it has been under attack for decades" by governments, law enforcement, and "all sorts of bad actors", Higgins said. For its defenders, confusion over terminology creates yet another challenge.

Stepanovich acknowledged the challenge of opposing the trend, but said the weight of history is on her side. "The study of crypto has been around for ever," she said. "The most famous code is known as the Caesar cipher, referring to Julius Caesar. This is not new." Cryptocurrency, on the other hand, is a relatively recent development, and she is not ready to concede to "a concept that may or may not survive government regulation".

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Cryptographers Aren't Happy With How You're Using the Word 'Crypto'

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  • Hack (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Known Nutter ( 988758 ) on Sunday November 21, 2021 @06:03PM (#62008489)
    The hackers of the 70s, 80s and 90s would like word with everyone using "hack" today. Language evolves.
    • by ASDFnz ( 472824 ) on Sunday November 21, 2021 @06:07PM (#62008501)

      The hackers of the 70s, 80s and 90s would like word with everyone using "hack" today. Language evolves.

      Actually... Back in the 70's and 80's we were called Crackers and not Hackers (hackers were hardware/software programmers).

      So yeah, evolution of terms continue, it is just the way it is.

    • The hackers of the 70s, 80s and 90s would like [a] word with everyone using "hack" today.

      How about people using rogue [wikipedia.org]?

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      Came here for this comment, and would have posted it if it wasn't here. 10/10 would visit this comment again.

    • It took decades of underground programmers using the term hack before the news media got a hold of it and used it for reporting computer crimes. This crypto confusion isn't language evolution, it's language Eugenics. What is most disconcerting is that it the use of the the word "crypto" to mean "cryptocurrency" is obviously just laziness on the part of the speaker, who just doesn't want to bother uttering the rest of the syllables. Why should language evolve to the benefit of the lazy and stupid?
      • Re:Hack (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Sunday November 21, 2021 @11:59PM (#62009159) Homepage

        Why should language evolve to the benefit of the lazy and stupid?

        Because they're in the majority.

        • This! What people often forget is that language is used to convey meaning and as such any language that isn't strictly controlled by a central authority is dictated by majority rule since it is ultimately used to their own benefit and for them to convey meaning.

          When a majority understand something to mean a certain thing then the minority of gramma nazis can either adopt it, or sit and pout while causing confusion due to their stubbornness.

          This obviously doesn't apply to the really stupid cases where someon

          • Once over 90% of people agree on a new meaning, it's pretty much a lost cause, sure. There's nothing you can do about it at that point.
            Before that, there must be a stage in which 10% of people are using the word or phrase wrong. There is always a first person to use it incorrectly.

            It makes sense to try to get people to use the *correct* words when it's not too late. That's because words are useful when they convey what you mean. They are only useful when they have a SHARED meaning. If half the time foo mea

            • Once over 90% of people agree on a new meaning, it's pretty much a lost cause, sure. There's nothing you can do about it at that point.
              Before that, there must be a stage in which 10% of people are using the word or phrase wrong. There is always a first person to use it incorrectly.

              It makes sense to try to get people to use the *correct* words when it's not too late.

              Nope. It only takes one "celeb" to use a word incorrectly in public and it's the end of the line.

      • I'm curious, do you think that using "crypto" to mean "cryptography" is "just laziness on the part of the speaker"?
      • Exactly. Cryptographers are lazy. They should just use the whole word and stop whining about their own failures to properly use the language.

  • It is just the pretend journalist who make up most of the media today being their usual sloppy selves. They did the same thing with hacker and hacking.
  • by msauve ( 701917 ) on Sunday November 21, 2021 @06:09PM (#62008507)
    "Gay" used to mean happy and carefree, too.
    • Then it meant a male prostitute, then the slur was re-appropriated by the gay community. IDK why people like to jump over important bits of history when they cite a word's origin. Laziness or convenience I guess?

      • No, your little wee bits were not important at all to the point made. You just thought additional stuff would be relevant, so you dumped your tiny little know-y-ledge out on the floor. But then you had to take it a step further and be a self-righteous asshole about it.

        • We can agree to disagree on what cultural appropriation is.

          • Nobody agrees to disagree. It is something stupid that idiots say when they try to state a fact, it gets called out as bullshit, and then they want to pretend it is just a matter of opinion.

            You're just wrong. Nobody agreed with you.

      • then it evolved to also mean lame/stupid.
    • "Gay" used to mean happy and carefree, too.

      Then there's "fantastic", "awesome", etc,. all words which use to have a useful meaning but now just mean "good".

      • Then there's "literally", which now literally can mean "not literally." It's crazy, and no, not crazy good.

        So yeah, language evolves, despite old curmudgeons like me. Rather naughty of it, which, by the way, used to learn more towards "evil" back in Shakespeare's day, rather than "mischievous."

    • "Gay" used to mean happy and carefree, too.

      It still does, based on context. Many words have multiple meanings, because that's how just how English rolls. That reminds me, I better add rolls to my shopping list stored on my phone, for Thanksgiving. I might also need to gas up my car on the way to the store, and probably should grab some Alkaseltzer in case any of my dinner guests have gas.

      I'll probably record a few videos of the family enjoying the well-seasoned turkey, and then put some Christmas records on the turntable to kick off the rest of t

  • It's cryptographic currency.
    • It's cryptographic currency.

      Fine. In that case, I can't wait for cryptoporn to come along and see all the cryptocurrency enthusiasts lose their shit when this happens again.

    • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Sunday November 21, 2021 @06:39PM (#62008591) Homepage Journal
      Crypto in general means the study of things that are unknown or may not exist. So a cryptozoologist studies might look for the chupacabra or at least the legends. A cryptographer, I suppose, look for the unknown meaning in messages. A cryptocurrency miner looks for monies that do not exist yet, and may at the end of the day, like the chupacabra, not exist.
      • Crypto in general means the study of things that are unknown or may not exist.

        False. That would be cryptology.

        If you want to be a pedant, you've got a long ways to go. This is a nerd website, dude.

        A cryptographer is a person that does the calculations.

        A person who hunts for chupacabra is a cryptozoolographer.

        • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Sunday November 21, 2021 @10:34PM (#62009053) Journal

          Biography - written account of a life
          Photography - writing with light
          Cryptography - secret writing

          "Graphy" means writing. From Greek.

          Studying the (legend of) chupacabra would be cryptozooology. If they were writing on or with chupacabras, that would be cryptozoography.

        • False.

          Crypto- as a prefix means "secret" or "hidden, not evident or obvious," used in forming English words at least since 1760 (crypto-Calvinianism), from Latinized form of Greek kryptos "hidden, concealed, secret"

          Cryptology = reading things that are hidden (from logos = word), i.e. the science and art of decoding messages.

          AFAIK, there's no general word for 'the study of things that are unknown or may not exist'.

          • there's no general word for 'the study of things that are unknown or may not exist'.

            Uh...science? ;)

          • OK, so you have figured out the suffix -ology.
            You're an idiot.
            And, when attempting to be pedantic about words, you didn't even look it up to make sure you remembered it right. So you didn't catch your mistake. Now go look up -ology, little boy.

  • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Sunday November 21, 2021 @06:15PM (#62008525)

    It’s easy to distinguish between genuinely smart people and gullible buffoons based on how they use the word.

    To be clear, I’m not knocking all people who explore cryptocurrency, just those who use the shorthand phrase.

    • It’s easy to distinguish between genuinely smart people and gullible buffoons based on how they use the word.

      And by who they vote for ...

    • Well, then you're an idiot, because in the field of fiance "crypto" is already jargon for cryptocurrency.

      You're so gullible you thought there was a single source of pedantic truthiness, and that you had been told the Singular Answer.

      • Sure hope that holds up in court.

        "Hey! You said you'd pay me in crypto! You just sent me a test tube, and it tasted awful!"

        "Yup! Pure water, and crypto [cdc.gov], just like I promised. Good luck suing me if you ever make it off the toilet again."

  • by nocoiner ( 7891194 ) on Sunday November 21, 2021 @06:18PM (#62008533)

    Instead of using "cryptocurrency" (or any variation thereof) - give them all a more uniquely defining name:

    Shitcoin.

  • More and more news coverage are referring to fixed/discovered software vulnerabilities as "0-days", even when they're not even being exploited yet.

    • by youn ( 1516637 )

      I hear you. Even worse, 0-days used to refer to calendar time as in I have 0 days of vacation left

      Calendarers want the word days back and mathematicians want the word "0" back

      What do you mean, Calendarers is not a word? How do you call creators of calendars? :p

  • by Causemos ( 165477 ) on Sunday November 21, 2021 @06:38PM (#62008583)

    Welcome to marketing says everyone who works with AI systems

  • crypto-ignorants (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Sunday November 21, 2021 @06:39PM (#62008587) Homepage Journal

    Ignore these people. I do both cryptography and cryptocurrency stuff and the uses are entirely compatible.

    Cryptograph->cryptography->cryptographic-currency (all shortened to "crypto" depending on context).

    There's a type of person who can't understand that meanings are embedded in context and usually they complain about stuff like this or just go "reeee!"

    crypto-
    a combining form meaning "hidden," "not perceived immediately or with certainty"( cryptozoology), "secret" (cryptogram), "not professing openly" ( crypto-fascist), "pertaining to cryptograms" ( cryptology).
    [comb. form representing Greek krypto's hidden. See crypt]

    https://www.thefreedictionary.... [thefreedictionary.com]

    • Heh. I had revelation recently when I realized "the block chain" was based on cypher block chaining which is a form of crypto that's been around since God was a baby...
  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Sunday November 21, 2021 @06:41PM (#62008597) Journal

    "Tough shit."

    Signed:
    - Drone
    - AI
    - VR
    - blockchain

  • Use your cryptography skill to break their cryptocurrency and make it the worthless item it most likely is.

    Once it is easily stolen by script kiddies it will be worthless.

    If you can't break it then they get to keep "Crypto"

  • by thrillseeker ( 518224 ) on Sunday November 21, 2021 @06:42PM (#62008607)
    cryptocalvinism
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday November 21, 2021 @06:50PM (#62008627)

    I don't like how people use the word "hacker". You get used to people being stupid.

  • Staples Center in Los Angeles (where the Lakers, Clippers and Kings play) just got renamed to "Crypto.com Arena".

    I can't wait for the cryptocurrency bubble to burst...

    • So staples = crypto now? Can I go to the office supply store and buy some crypto because my cryptoer is out of crypto? Does this sound like gibberish to anyone else?
  • Suck it up

  • They are consumers, not techies and best regarded as large, none too bright children. Most can't speak English let alone understand technology and it isn't their place to be different than they are.

  • I figured I'd add a few more misappropriated buzz words just for fun

    crypto hacking w/ AI & Hybrid Quantum clouds to bring synergistic ecofriendly breakthrough through paradigm shifts in our global mindset to set us off on a path to singularity and determine once and for all if we are in a simulation, wouldn't that be a radical shift for mankind

    Lumber Workers want the word post back too... As they said, language evolves and people like reusing find new uses for existing words... which is ok by me

  • Don't get me started on "stacks" in video games, which are the exact opposite of stacks.

  • Why did Bitcoin not take off as a generic name for any cryptocurrency token? There's a rich history of proper nouns becoming regular nouns as part of a language e.g. google meaning any search engine, coke meaning any soda, etc. Bitcoin has the same number of syllables as crypto and is easier to write out as a whole as well.

    I bought some bitcoin today!

    Oh yeah? What kind?

    Ethereum

  • At least people use the term algorithms (or if you are a lawyer, logarithms) properly.
  • https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/... [cdc.gov]

    An unpleasant intestinal parasite.

  • Crypto(sporidium) wants its name back.
  • I feel this is a lost battle...

  • by Flownez ( 589611 ) on Monday November 22, 2021 @08:04AM (#62009795)
    Imagine how the ornithological society feels about tweets.
  • I feel the same way about 'carbon' -- carbon tax, carbon sequestration -- come on, marketers, it isn't *carbon* that's the problem; it is carbon dioxide.
  • I believe the prefix has been used to indicate hidden political, social, and religious [wikipedia.org] movements a long time before cryptography was readily available to the masses.

    Shades of "hacker" vs. "cracker", "virus" vs. "trojan/worm/malware", etc. Give it up, guys. The majority always ends up ruling on these things.

  • So Crypto joins the club: Transistorized radios became "transistors." Microwave ovens became "microwaves." GPS Receivers became GPS's. Hackers used to mean "coding junkies." Now it means crooks. The French work hard to avoid language creep, with limited success, but in English this is just going to happen.
  • Yes, crypto can mean both, for now, but it wonâ(TM)t take long for the new use to displace the old use. Millions who live in the Americas despise that the worldâ(TM)s most used language excludes them from being associated to the continent they live in. Worst yet, such term is now almost forbidden to even exist, because what other English word can you use to mean people who live in the Americans?
  • The Planetologists of the world don't like the way people are using the word "planet" these days. (spoiler alert-- Pluto, Ceres and Eris are all legitimate planets.)

    Don't go to an astronomer for planetary science. It's like going to a psychiatrist for brain surgery.

    Also --
    Biology,
    Geology,
    Meteorology,
    Sociology,
    but Astrology...?

    --ology means "science". Where's the science in Astro-NOMY. If we're going to have pedantic police over crypto and other words, there a

  • It's just a typo. When referring to "cryptocurrency", it's not "crypto", but "crhypeto".

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