A. Ahmad An open-minded individual that's enthusiastic about Bitcoin, with all of its freedom and purity that it provides.

Term Clarity: Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, Shitcoin. Whats the difference?

1 min read

bitcoin, a shitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies floating above a lighting box

There are three parts of Bitcoin that I came to see after learning about it, from watching and reading a decent number of educational material online, as well as having discussions with various local and online communities. There’s Bitcoin the technology, the currency, and the term. We know the combination of past and current technologies that make Bitcoin what it is, and we understand that there’s the currency that acts as its first application to run on that tech, but what about Bitcoin the term? People usually first hear about Bitcoin, then, later on, discover the term “Cryptocurrency” which is then followed up by encountering the “Shitcoin” term. We’re going to discuss each of those terms.

Breaking down the differences between Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, and Shitcoin:

What’s a Cryptocurrency?

Breaking down that word results in the literal meaning of a currency that’s using cryptographic technologies, but people came to understand, or rather associate that word to mean something similar to Bitcoin.

I’d assume this word was created by a few marketing individuals, from a project or two, that were creating their digital currency, and wanted term to describe it, instead of referring to it as “a digital currency like Bitcoin”.

Because of those initial efforts, the “cryptocurrency” term took off and is now considered the word to use for almost all related projects and currencies. But, there were a decent amount of people who, I’d assume, took issue with the term’s attempt at dominance, to describing a digital currency that’s similar to Bitcoin, and so the term “Shitcoin” was created.

What’s a Shitcoin?

A term that is used by a handful of community members that are in various projects, such as Ethereum, Luna, and so on, to describe other coins as of lesser worth when comparing them to each other.

But I believe the initial use of that term, and most likely the most popular understanding of it, that it’s “a coin that is not Bitcoin”.

As such, it’s a word that was created to combat the “cryptocurrency” term and all the new digital currencies that would compare themselves to Bitcoin.

What’s a Bitcoin (the term)?

It describes the combination of old and new technologies like cryptography, of rules like its supply cap and block discovery time, of resistances against censorship and seizures, of its state of being not controlled by anyone because of its decentralization, and so on.


From understanding those distinctions, it’s clear to me that a “cryptocurrency” does not equal a “Bitcoin” as far as its term goes.

For example, Ethereum is a more centralized digital asset or currency, because of its massive blockchain size and its shift from Etereum Classic and its move towards Ethereum 2.0, which uses some of Bitcoins technologies and concepts, but it’s not a Bitcoin (the term).

A lot of people would get confused if they started to refer to other projects or coins as a “Bitcoin”, so I don’t think that the word “cryptocurrency” would go away anytime soon, but there’s the word “shitcoin” to counter-balance it in discussions.

With that said, it will be interesting to see what the proper second coin under Bitcoin will be, that would be the closest to its term than any other. 

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A. Ahmad An open-minded individual that's enthusiastic about Bitcoin, with all of its freedom and purity that it provides.