I have been reading about Bitcoin and the history of it. But I was not able to find a term that actually describes Bitcoin.
I am looking for a term that is not only for Bitcoin but any digital currency like Bitcoin.
The closest term I could find was Fiat money, but it is not correct, anyone here knows what the correct term is? Or does the term simply not exist yet?

  • 2
    Note that "Bitcoin" refers to the payment network as a whole, while "bitcoin" refers to the unit of currency Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 0:47

2 Answers 2


The general term in widespread use today is cryptocurrency. This refers to a currency designed upon cryptographic principles (as Bitcoin is).

The term "fiat money" refers to the usual money issued by governments. The government declares "this is money" (even though the paper on which it is printed does not have value itself), and people use it as such. Wiktionary defines fiat as:

  1. An authoritative command or order to do something; an effectual decree.
  • But as what i understand of it, cryptocurrency can have a centralized bank and have a reserve. Is that not true? Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 8:13
  • Well, if you want to make sure you're understood on that point, you could call it a decentralised cryptocurrency. But all the interesting cryptocurrencies today are decentralised, so I don't think that's so important. Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 8:59
  • Ah thanks. It is kinda important for me, because I am writing a history task about digital currency Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 9:33

The widely accepted term for Bitcoin and the such is cryptocurrencies.

Fiat money is just a bunch of inconvertible notes, not backed by any physical commodity nor is linked to physical reserves, making them extremely vulnerable to hyperinflation and devaluation. Governments print notes on blank paper and mint coins at will, limiting their supply to raise their value and then manipulating it via a cat-n-mouse chase of supply and demand.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.