Crypto currecny: Why can‘t the internet spell it right?

Typos are common in the crypto industry, but not all are harmless

Crypto written on wooden blocks and surrounded by people                                 
The term HODL comes from a forum user’s typo in 2013 – Photo: Shutterstock
                                

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Bticoin, cryptocurrecny and Solano – the internet is bursting with crypto typos. Some coins, like “Etherum”, have been so misspelt that the typo was trending on Twitter.

When mashing the keyboard to post an Ethereum hot take at rapid speed, enthusiasts are not paying too much attention to spelling. Whether you think ETH is going to $5,000 or down the drain, the last thing you could notice is the “cryto” typo.

No matter how you spell it, these mistakes are playing an integral role in the crypto industry, in both a humorous and sinister manner.

Typos are central to the crypto industry

While you might smirk at someone’s tragic error, typographical mistakes are pivotal to crypto culture. Spelling mishaps have been welcomed by the community and have captured its quirky side, just like the industry’s obsession with memes.

The infamous example of this is a typo’s role in creating the commonly used term HODL. As Bitcoin was tumbling in 2013, a forum post said “I AM HODLING”, in solidarity of the cryptocurrency.

The user’s blind faith in Bitcoin was picked up by enthusiasts and is intrinsic part of the HODL expression, which now stands for “hold on for dear life”.

Anyone can fall into this trap, not just a random forum user. When posting a takedown of cryptocurrencies, Twitter’s founder Jack Dorsey misspelt SOL’s blockchain as Solano. Rolling with it, the Solana official account responded by briefly changing its Twitter name to the typo.

In good spirit, Dorsey then joked with another Tweet: “Damn I’ll never get the spelling of sqlana right.”

The detrimental impact of typos

While typographical mistakes, like crypto currecy, capture the witty side to the community, they also pose a threat. One easy place that typos should not belong is when copying wallet addresses to send funds to.

Addresses are usually comprised of long strings of numbers and letters, meaning mistakes are likely if investors are not careful. As transactions are final on the blockchain, once sent to the wrong address the funds are usually gone for good.

Potentially the biggest blunder to date was from the Juno cryptocurrency when it sent $36m to the wrong address in May 2022. The community voted to seize 3m JUNO from an investor and send it to a community wallet.

However, the developer copied the wrong wallet, which saw the $36m funds sent to an inaccessible address.

Malicious typos

Misspelling crytpo on a tweet or accidentally copying the wrong address is one thing, but scammers are using typos to prey on investors. Malicious URL variants have been set up to trick traders, like Conibase.com or blqckchain.com.

According to The Washington Post, these links showed copies of Coinbase’s and Blockchain.com’s websites.

These mistakes can also be utilised by investors as a tool to spot scams as typos are often a red flag.

UK comparison website Finder wrote in its Bitcoin scam checklist: “Does the site feature bad grammar, awkward phrasing or spelling mistakes? If it does, this doesn’t necessarily indicate a scam, but it does mean you should proceed with caution.”

So, why the crypto currecny typo?

We all most likely know the correct cryptocurrency spelling, yet that does not necessary equate to accurately implementing it. It might be typing speed or malicious intent, but there could also a bigger reason behind spelling mistakes.

When speaking to Wired, Tom Stafford, psychologist and typo studier at University of Sheffield, said: “The reason typos get through isn't because we’re stupid or careless, it’s because what we're doing is actually very smart.”

As we are not robots, humans combine pre-determined meaning with the words on the page. This lets us work faster and still use less brain power. But as the words are fighting with the version in our minds, it can very easily lead to mistakes.

This means grammar sticklers will have to learn to live with people who spell it crypot or crypo.

Further reading

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