Blockchain, cryptocurrency, Initial Coin Offering. For most people, these terms are still fairly new, even for the technologically savvy among us. But as Bitcoin passed the $10,000 mark last winter, and quickly rose to almost $20,000, these words became mainstream — so much so that Merriam-Webster included all three of these terms among the 850 new words it added to its online dictionary this past week. Also making the cut, in case you were wondering, are glamping and mansplain. But just because something is in the dictionary, that doesn’t mean we understand it. That’s why WELL is taking a deeper dive into some of the tech-inspired words that are now fair game on the SATs, and also explaining (but not mansplaining) why they matter to us.
- Blockchain: Merriam-Webster defines it as “a digital database containing information (such as records of financial transactions) that can be simultaneously used and shared within a large decentralized, publicly accessible network.” That’s it in a nutshell, but why it really matters to us is that blockchain creates transparency. With every move on that digital database recorded and vetted, that means less fraud and more security. For a company like WELL, which handles sensitive materials like patients’ medical records, transparency and security are of the utmost importance. Which is why we’re happy to see blockchain get its recognition.
- Cryptocurrency: Merriam-Webster calls it “any form of currency that exists only digitally,” also adding that it “relies on cryptography to prevent counterfeiting and fraudulent transactions.” We’ll take it one step further and say that cryptocurrency also serves as the economy behind many blockchain startups. With startups offering their own coin, or cryptocurrency, it’s what powers us. Not only that, but the real reason we love cryptocurrency is that it’s borderless. Cryptocurrency eliminates the constraints of country-based currencies and cross-border payment issues, creating a currency that anyone can use, anywhere. It’s what enables WELL to be a global platform.
- Initial Coin Offering: “the first sale of a cryptocurrency to the public conducted for the purpose of raising funds (as to support a start-up)” True, an initial coin offering, or ICO, allows a startup to raise funds. In many ways it’s like a kickstarter for a startup. (The modern day meaning of kickstarter has yet to make an appearance in the dictionary. For now, it’s defined as “a motor starter that is activated by the thrust of the foot.”) But an ICO is also an opportunity for people who believe in a startup’s mission to support it from the start, and to get in on the ground floor. That Initial Coin Offering made it into the dictionary in 2018 is especially meaningful to WELL, as it gets ready to launch its own ICO in April.
Merriam-Webster may be providing the basics on new terms, but each one merits a deeper dive of your own. To learn more about how WELL operates on blockchain technology, its use of cryptocurrency, or its upcoming ICO, visit https://joinwell.io, and join WELL’s Telegram group at https://t.me/joinwell.