Smart Money: Rebranding Cryptocurrency for Mass Appeal

7 months ago

Cryptocurrency is smart money. But the name cryptocurrency isn't friendly to your mom, the guy behind the counter at the grocery store, or the manager at the bank.


At best, it's an awkward word. We don't use the word currency to talk about the paper notes in our wallets or the numbers in our bank accounts. We call it money. The word currency is used when referring to money in a more specific or abstract sense. Like other countries' money for instance. Foreign currency, as in "money we don't use." What we use, we call money.

Would you call this money, or currency?

Worse, the 'crypt' part of it can have secretive or cryptic connotations. This tends to reinforce early media kneejerk conclusions about Bitcoin: that it's used by criminals, drug dealers, and absurdly even hitmen. I'm preaching to the choir when I repeat the obvious, that these types of people would be using other kinds of money instead, namely cash. Even then, bitcoin isn't the best money to deal with if you want to hide, due to its open ledger.

As Bitcoin has grown, the media has tended towards treating it more fairly and taking it more seriously. However, the media at large and powers that be often continue to mislead the public by associating encryption with criminal activity. Unfortunately, these ideas and associations have entered the public consciousness and have impeded the growth of Bitcoin and other related decentralized tokens of value.

Mark Karpeles photo credit: Bloomberg

Other terms

The term virtual currency is sometimes used (as in the NASDAQ link, above) to apply a more familiar term to lay readers, but it doesn't escape the awkwardness of 'currency.' And the word virtual has a certain lesser-than or conditional definition to it. Digital currency is also used, but 'digital' does not distance itself enough from legacy banking and credit systems that use computer ledgers or the more recent centralized and corporate-owned systems like Apple Pay.

Though it does not match the definition of cryptocurrency, I will throw blockchain into the mix. The word blockchain refers to a cryptographic ledger that uses sequential bundles of changes to that ledger, generally secured by cryptographic hashing. It does not necessarily imply a usable money however. A token of value is not a requirement of a blockchain. And a decentralized, cryptographically secure token of value does not necessarily need a blockchain (see IOTA).


We have smartphones and smart TVs, but no thing nor organization has really latched on to the name smart money. I see the opportunity and benefits of breaking free of the baggage of an accurate but awkward word. I think the cryptocurrency community would do itself a favor by using a friendlier, but still descriptive term for these decentralized token projects:

smart money

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You're certainely genious! So clever to give that new name to the smartphone addicted generations X and Y for paying with their new smartmoney ;)

The smart money is on this post!

The 'smart money' is on this idea.


;) Amanda B @ Anarchapulco quite recently - Will Cryptocurrency Ever Get Its Killer App?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this matter. I can only agree with you on the fact that much of the lingo used around cryptocurrencies is usually not for the lay person and tends to comes with a branding, by the general populace, closer to the crook than the smart money you are referring us to.

The term "Smart Money" seems to go along the line of the smart TV, smart phones, Smart boards and so on... Now, every time I hear the "Smart" this or that, I almost cringe. So, personally, using this terminology would definitely not encourage me to get into it. Though, since I'm already in there and have been for many years, I'm not about to leave because such terminology would be used. LOL!!!

Maybe a healthy huge brainstorm would help us move into a transition of terms and bring a new realm of ideas as well as philosophy behind the idea of cryptocurrencies. Equally true though, maybe we could use the terms that are already used and keep on pushing through to change the prejudices surrounding cryptocurrencies?

One of the main idea that got me into the world of cryptocurrencies is the idea of "fairness" that accompanies the currencies as they run off of immutable algorithms. "Fair Money", maybe "Fair Coins" This might attract the so-called 99%!?

On the long-run, maybe our new generations will end up creating their own original term cut halfway through or turn it into an acronym or, even worse, a mnemonic acronym like "Digicies standing for "Di-gi"-tal curren-"cies"?! Anyhow, there seems to be a lot of waters going through the gates right now and the language is still finding its forms around this new realm of becoming-popular knowledge depending on the education around its presence and value to the rest of the world population. I really look forward to see what is going to come up and definitely see value in the terminology as well as in the discussion you have started around these thoughts. After all, we're all in the same boat.

All for one and one for all! Namaste :)


Thanks for your comment. I see your point about "smart" everything but it's way better than iEverything :) Also, the blockchain/crypto community seems to have no problem with the naming of smart contracts. I think that name has an appeal beyond us too.

Calling them fair money or coins would introduce too much new baggage I think. Nothing can be fair in the smart money world. Fairness is often the biggest complaint newcomers have (just look around Steem). Calling these things fair money would be doublespeak, and would set people up for disappointment.

Good thought on the shortened term. Digicies isn't bad!

(not so serious:) Now if only the world language was German, we could call them Notgeld 2.0! (serious:) I highly recommend anyone reading this comment to take a look at the fantastic post I linked in the last sentence.

A long time ago (1999 and 2000), I worked with a bunch of guys in Canada on an interesting project all involved with money.

The called it iMoney

I wonder where that name went - it was well before Apple grabbed all of that high ground with the iPod.

I would be looking for a word with the word money in it. SmartMoney is better for all the reasons you suggest. But I am not sure it is the best. All the best marketing names and ideas (other than the abstract ones) build the benefits and the emotional hooks into the names.

PayPal is a great example. SecurePay is another .

Thinking hats on.


Good points. In PayPal's case, I think it wasn't the name that drove (or hindered) adoption, it was the network effect. The biggest part of that network effect was eBay, and that from fairly early on (before eBay acquired them), it was often used as a payment method. I was an early eBay user, in the last century even. My first purchases used money orders sent through the mail. :)

This is brilliant. The dual meaning of this can not be underemphasized. Not only do regular people understand that "smart" is now tied to technology, it has a very positive gambling connotation. The "smart money" is on steem increasing exponentially in value. Sign me up for changing this terminology.


Good point and not something I considered.

Smart idea from a smart man! Kudos buddy! Love the rebrand idea, I will try using it.


Thanks. It will only catch on if it's used so yes, I'll be doing my best to change my own language.

Like the idea. I also think it is funny that regular people (like "our mums") have the following reactions:
bitcoin = dark web, drugs, guns, ...
ethereum = oh that sound innovative, is it a computer game?

Great article, there are so many hurdles to jump to get the average person involved in crypto, but the best example is probably set by web-browsers, give people the tech without letting them know.

I live in Norway and the Bank of Norway is planning on bringing out its own version of Bitcoin called "ecoin"
I think the name that wins will probably be related to the alt coin that gets mass adoption. At the moment DASH is on the path for this Digital Cash right?
Also people already use the term Satoshis quite a lot.
I like the idea of a collective name though as smart money or intelligent money. In stock market trading they often use the term "smart money" - for example: the smart money is on this stock today"
"Clever money" is also used.
But I agree, crypto.currency simply has to go.

Holy chipmunk chins! I've also been thinking about this for a long time and was considering writing a post about it. Smart money is definitely the answer! SO COOL. The faster we ditch 'cryptocurrency' the better! I saw this as immediately problematic, and from now on, I'm going to use the term,

smart money

Genius post.

I might do a Medium/Linkedin post about many people currently use this term?

Nice. Def +1.

Can't stand cryptocurrency, it sounds shady (and it's easy to misspell). Bad branding isn't your friend when you're hoping for mass adoption.

Rebranding/repackaging is definitely a good idea, if we are to ever reach the broader market... I got to thinking about it as part of a post I wrote the other day, speculating on the invisible "credits" sci-fi writers always seem to fairly consistently use in their tales of near and distant futures.

It needs to be simple and descriptive... since there are lots of "currencies" in this arena, it probably needs to be a culturally inclusive term, especially since the leasing edge of usage is more likely to come outside the USA than inside. What's consistent it that these are all "electronic" currencies; so "e" something makes sense... "i" something not so much (many will automatically think it's an Apple product); the "e" (potentially with the vertical currency lines in the letter) could even be an international symbol used where payment is accepted, or on ATMs... as ubiquitous as the Visa/MasterCard symbols. Leaving us with e-Currency, e-Money, e-Cash, e-Payment, e-Tender...

I also like the "e" prefix because it subtly and subconsciously piggybacks on eBay's success... hinting at "something commercial" many people are familiar with.

Thanks for bringing this up!

I'm surprised nobody has actually named a currency SMART as some kind of acronym. I actually suggested this for another coin back in the day. I like the smart money idea.

I can't figure out why smart money sounds a little off. When I think of smart phones, smart TVs, they are phones and TVs you can do much more with. So in that regard it applies perfectly to steem. Maybe it's associating it with smart contracts that makes me skeptical that it could imply much more. Agree that we need better descriptive words though and I think smart money is better than what we currently say at least.

Added: I don't see a problem with calling it internet money. It explains everything briefly without connecting it to things we don't need to connect it with. It might sound babyish but the masses love that lol. That's why Britney spears and crap music do so well.

We think alike. I completely agree about the name and negative connotations.

Upvoted and subbed. Please return the favour as I spent two days on my first post and it received 2.5k views and heaps of compliments but only $2.50.

I've always believed that the terms "e-money" or "e-cash" (borrowed from "email") fit best to describe cryptocurrencies, that or just plain ol' "digital money/ cash".

Digital/Smart Commodity?


What if we just call it; "STEEM"!


Due to its stable value, SBD makes the better money on Steem. But both can be used as money.


Smartmoney really works as cooler name for cryptocurrency. it is just perfect.

too smart money is on this idea
followback @nawar93 oke hihih

Smart Money -- is a great term.., and extremely relevant!

thanks, i'll stay with crypto-currencies.

smart money reminds me of orwellian smart phones and smart tvs that spy on us, which is exactly the future that the cypherpunks and crypto-anarchists wanted to avoid.

i don't need any of that. fortunately, there has always been a way around these things if you take action for yourself. unfortunately, not many do, so in the future we will have a 2-class society of government-and-industry-directed "smart zombies" vs hackers and people who can take control of their devices, finance and other affairs on their own.


If you think about it, open chains like Bitcoin are fairly close to Orwellian. Staying truly anonymous is a challenge. Privacy-oriented coins are supposedly better but who knows for sure.

Further, the idea behind using the name smart money is to remove mental obstacles to acceptance of money like Bitcoin, which will further the growth of these independent, decentralized token networks. In the end, the idea is to get more people on your side. And claiming stake on a powerful name like smart money gets out in front of centralized, power hungry interests like Apple, Google, governments, or a consortium of banks who may choose to use it in the future for their (potentially blockchain based, but under their control) own currencies.


maybe it's time to ask the mainstream what they like and what thoughts are conjured up with these two terms: eMoney and smart money? I might do a twitter and facebook poll....

Must be "smart "all over and around to get 2537! votes

I like it I like it a lot, so simple and fits in well with all our other smart stuff.
I can see ad's already
"Smart Money, the money smart people use"

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Good read, after you suggested I check it out... thx for that. Smart Money is better than cryptocurrency either way there needs to be a consensus on a new name. lol

I was just talking to a friend tonight about crypto currency, using those words specifically and I don't think his reaction was very positive, however, if I had said they are just giving away free money called steem, people would be interested. Thanks for the post, it helped me reflect on my evening's conversation.

money is very intelligent, excellent.
good idea.
thank sharing @pfunk