How Did These Cryptos Get Their Names?



Have you ever wondered where all of these cryptocurrencies got their names? Who is in charge of naming all of these kooky coins? Cardano...what does that even mean?! Fear not, for this article will dig into the name origins of the top 10 cryptos!

The top 10 is decided by the Market Cap on CoinMarketCap as of 13/06/2021 – no shitcoins listed here! All that you see in this article is at most 50% true.

Bitcoin (BTC)

While the identity of the creator of the world's largest cryptocurrency remains a mystery, the name is rather simple – it plainly references the fact that this is a 'coin' that you can use on the internet! What's the internet made out of? Bits!

Bitcoin remains king of the crypto, despite its basic name and numerous regulatory hurdles. It will remain so for a while to come...unless this next crypto has anything to say about it!

Ethereum (ETH)

Ethereum is out of this world – well at least the name is! On the origins of the name, the founder of Ethereum stated that “I liked it better than all of the other alternatives that I had seen; I suppose it was the fact that [it] sounded nice and it had the word 'ether', referring to the hypothetical invisible medium that permeates the universe and allows light to travel.”

The gas costs may have turned ethereum into unobtanium for those new to the scene but it's still a highly-coveted crypto!


Unobtanium - an extremely rare mineral. See: Ethereum.

Tether (USDT)

Tether – the most controversial stablecoin – is called Tether because...wait for it...the price is tethered to the price of the U.S. Dollar. Very original. The company behind the coin has been accused of manipulating the price of it and not proving that they have enough reserves backing the Tether token too. You could say that it is tethered to controversy!

Binance Coin (BNB)

At least Bitcoin is catchy. Binance Coin was first established in June 2017 and has grown to be the cryptocurrency with the third highest market capitalisation. During its meteoric rise not once did somebody think to change the name. What does Binance mean though? I couldn't find a name origin story so I'm assuming it's a mash-up of 'blockchain' and 'finance' – feel free to correct me in the comments.

Cardano (ADA)

Coming up fourth (in market capitalisation) we have Cardano – the project with big plans in Africa! The company is aiming to develop their blockchain platform through a research-first approach, making their name very intriguing. The name is based off Gerolamo Cardano, an Italian polymath back in the 1500s who wrote over 200 scientific and mathematical works. For a company that is Science First, you can see why choosing the name 'Cardano' is appropriate considering the company's ambitions.

Girolamo Cardano | Italian physician and mathematician | Britannica

Gerolamo Cardano - all-around gangster.

Dogecoin (DOGE)

The meme-iest of meme coins, Dogecoin originally started out as a joke. Its propulsion to become the fifth largets crypto by market cap should give everyone 'paws' for thought. While it may be an extremely volatile investment vehicle seemingly at the whim of Elon Musk tweets, its fervent community support indicates that anything is 'paw-sible' for this coin!

The coin has had a 'ruff' month in terms of price volatility yet it remains the 'ulti-mutt' fun and friendly cryptocurrency.

The puppy puns may have told you that this coin is named after a dog, more specifically a Shiba Inu.


The Shiba Inu - the original gamer.


Coined as a “never-ending initial coin offering”, XRP has been through it all. From its creators being sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission to it being delisted from Coinbase, the company behind the XRP crypto has never strayed far from controversy.

XRP follows the three-letter currency code naming system (i.e. United States Dollar = USD). As the crypto is not issued by any one country, the first letter is 'X'. The asset was formally known as 'ripples' – shorten that to two letters and you get 'RP'. Put all of it together and you get 'XRP'.


Oh no, I thought we'd moved past the boring names. The eighth crypto on our list by market cap is another stablecoin. USDC is also – unsurprisingly, given the name – tied to the United States Dollar. Supposedly, each USDC is backed by a dollar held in reserve. This would mean that the consortium who manages USDC, a company called Centre, holds on to 23 BILLION dollars in their reserve at any one time.

Seems like George Clooney should have been planning to rob the USDC vaults as opposed to the Bellagio.


The Ocean's 11 gang on their way to the USDC vaults.

Polkadot (DOT)

Polkadot was first spotted in the crypto world back in 2016, when it was created by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood. The purpose of the Polkadot system is to improve scalability for different blockchain networks and to enable these networks to be improved without the need for hard forks. In essence, Polkadot is a symbiotic parasite.

As I couldn't find a name origin story for Polkadot, my pet theory is that it's based off 101 Dalmatians, and that Gavin Wood sees himself as a modern Cruella de Vil.

Uniswap (UNI)

Our final cryptocurrency that will be covered is the Uniswap token. Uniswap is a core product in the decentralised world. Decentralised exchanges (e.g. exchanges where there is no middleman) often suffer from a lack of liquidity. That means there isn't enough money sloshing around on the network to make trades happen. Fear not! Uniswap allows you to swap tokens without the need for fees or middlemen, thereby reducing the need for liquidity in an exchange.

As you can only swap ERC-20 tokens, the reason why it is called Uniswap becomes clear.


Thank you for reading my 50% true article on the name origins for the top 10 cryptos!

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