In a way, it is already a currency since I can offer a bounty for my question.

So is it correct to call reputation points from StackExchange a Cryptocurrency?

If not, then why?


3 Answers 3


No, it is not accurate to call the reputation system a cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrencies use a distributed form of updating the ledger of ownership, not controlled by any one person. Stack Exchange reputation points are just an online point system maintained and controlled by the Stack Exchange company. The two are very different.

Cryptocurrencies also typically have a blockchain, and are transferrable at any time between any two persons. With SE Rep, you can only transfer if you do a bounty. And SE rep can be created out of thin air for someone answering a question well. Cryptocurrencies have a supply that is carefully controlled by code, and can only be created by solving a block.


No, I would say that it is not a cryptocurrency. However, I can see where there's an argument that it is.

What is usually referred to as "crytpocurrency" is a currency enforced by cryptography. Since Bitcoin, this term is often blurred with "decentralized currency", which SE rep is certainly not. StackExchange reputation is in a sense enforced by cryptography, since cryptography is used in the authentication mechanism of the site.

To me, the difference is not in the centralization nor the use of cryptography, but rather the idea that rep is a currency. Yes, you can set bounties with it...but that's it. It can only be spent with a single institution, and even more restrictive than that, on a single offering of that institution. This means it is less of a currency than a gift certificate. It cannot be transfered to someone in a will, nor is there any exchange for converting it to other currencies. It cannot even be purchased in the same way that MMORPG currency can be purchased from "gold farmers".

Reputation simply does not meet the criteria for being a true currency.

Here's a couple of nice meta conversations about the topic of buying/selling SE rep:




It would be correct to call StackOverflow points a "digital currency", but not a "cryptocurrency" as they don't employ cryptography, blockchain or decentralization -- which are hallmarks of cryptocurrencies.

But, as you pointed out, SO points are digital and can be used to "purchase" the service of online answers.

So they do meet the definition of a digital currency.

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