Allegory – A representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another.

Fuelling the Rollercoaster

This week we learned that, subject to regulatory approval, the Nasdaq will launch Bitcoin futures in the first half of 2019. The futures markets thrive on volatility so expect the ride to get bumpier still for Bitcoin, and make sure you have good tools at your disposal when investing in cryptocurrencies – Causality’s ICO Analyzer and upcoming Crypto Sentiment Alerts come to mind.

A World of Allegories

I was poring over the Crypto news when it occurred to me how we have allegorised so many things in the world of crypto. Furthermore, how sentiment has around the word crypto has fluctuated over the years. The word crypto itself comes from the Greek word for hidden – kruptos and as such has had mostly negative undertones. Think of crypt and its association with death and until quite recently there was no real connection to technology either. By way of example,  the “Reds Under the Bed” in the US in the 1960’s were called Crypto-Communists. And, of course, Kryptonite is the only thing Superman is vulnerable to – clearly a thing to be avoided even back in 1938.

Cryptography was, until technology came along, a method of scrambling words and numbers in written communication. This was to make them appear nonsense to third parties, who would invariably be adversaries. Nowadays of course cryptography is heavily based on mathematical theory and computer science practice. Its purpose is to frustrate the intentions of increasingly sophisticated adversaries that even Superman didn’t have to worry about.

Cashing In on the Idea

True to form, for many Cryptocurrencies are as dangerous to touch as Kryptonite. However, there is no physical danger. Crypto coins are not coins at all but symbolic of them, thanks mainly to the pioneering and cleverly named Bitcoin.  Bitcoin’s name symbolises its underlying structure and it represents a currency in all but its physical form.

There is also the bitnote, but that word doesn’t have the same ring to it and has not become as synonymous with cryptocurrencies as have coins. It wouldn’t make sense, however,  to use the term coin when we really want to represent a non-currency unit. Hence the term token, which we use to mean a voucher or plastic disk to be used in exchange for goods or services.  So, in a flash we have borrowed a number of words from our physical world to represent the non-physical. None more so than the term Bitcoin Mining, which I covered in our last blog.

Take a Sneaky Peek

Whilst we are on the subject of analogies let’s have a peek at a dashboard. The etymology of that word is interesting in that it is an allegory of an allegory. It started life as the thing that stopped mud from spraying passengers in an open horse-drawn carriage. Then it became the instrument panel of an automobile. Now we use it to mean a user interface or web page that gives a current summary of key information  This one here shows the top 10 ICOs in the past 6 months with social media chatter contrasted against the unit price. You can see that Ethereum is still the goto platform for ICOs and that banking, platform technology and cryptocurrency are the top industries.

Chart depicting which ICOs raised the most in last few months

There is a lot more besides to learn from this dashboard.  If this is of interest, check out Causality’s ICO Analyzer tool.

Also published on Medium.