Bitcoin has become a widely popular cryptocurrency over the last few years, the underlying mechanics of which are often confusing. Just as confusing is the capitalization of the word. Traditionally, currencies, such as the US Dollar, are considered proper nouns, but do these principles apply to a virtual currency? In this article, we’ll explain whether Bitcoin should be capitalized.
Is Bitcoin Capitalized?
According to the official Bitcoin glossary, Bitcoin is capitalized “when describing the concept of Bitcoin, or the entire network itself” but lowercase when describing “bitcoins as a unit of account.” Bitcoin is often abbreviated as BTC or XBT.
Bitcoin variants like Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, and Bitcoin Diamond all follow proper noun capitalization meaning that both words are capitalized when referring to them.
This definition alone may be confusing so let’s look at some examples.
Correct: I learned about Bitcoin today.
Incorrect: I learned about bitcoin today.
Correct: I sold 100 bitcoin today and I feel rich!
Correct: He bought a pizza online using bitcoins.
Incorrect: I sold 100 Bitcoin today and I feel rich.
Correct: I learned about Bitcoin last month and just bought 5 bitcoins.
APStylebook’s View on Cryptocurrency Capitalization
the APStylebook published a Tweet in 2019 that explained their positioning on capitalizing cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin. They include it in their most recent style guide, but the guidance follows the official bitcoin.org guidance mentioned above.
Capitalize when referring to Bitcoin and other currencies as a system, but lowercase when referring to their use as payment: The government wants to regulate Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He bought a vacuum cleaner online using bitcoins. #APStyleChat (2/2)
— APStylebook (@APStylebook) May 29, 2019
There are a wide range of cryptocurrencies on the market. Following is a list of the most popular cryptocurrencies and how to capitalize them. In general, the words “cryptocurrency” and “cryptocurrencies” are lowercased in a sentence unless you are using title case in a headline.
Ethereum is the most popular cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin. The “E” in the word Ethereum is capitalized when referring to the cryptocurrency regardless of how it is referred to in a sentence. In 2016, Ethereum split into Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC) and both currencies follow proper noun capitalization (including the “C” in “Classic”).
Litecoin, invented in 2011, is often referred to as the silver to Bitcoin’s gold. The “L” in Litecoin is always capitalized no matter where it falls in a setence.
Dogecoin (abbreviated as DOGE), is another popular cryptocurrency that follows proper noun capitalization. The “D” is capitalized.
Monero (abbreviated as XMR) is another popular cryptocurrency that follows proper noun capitalization. The “M” is capitalized.
MoneroV is a “hard fork” of the popular Monero. The “M” and “V” are both capitalized when referring to this cryptocurrency.
Is Blockchain Capitalized?
The technology behind Bitcoin and all of the other cryptocurrencies is blockchain. However, since blockchain is a generic concept and does not refer to any specific blockchain, the word blockchain is lowercased in a sentence. It is only capitalized in a title.