Emerging Technology’s Language Wars: Cryptocurrency

58 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2023 Last revised: 5 May 2023

See all articles by Carla Reyes

Carla Reyes

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law

Date Written: 2023


Work at the intersection of blockchain technology and law suffers from a distinct linguistic disadvantage. As a highly interdisciplinary area of inquiry, legal researchers, lawmakers, researchers in the technical sciences, and the public all talk past each other, using the same words, but as different terms of art. Evidence of these language wars largely derives from anecdote. To better assess the nature and scope of the problem, this Article uses corpus linguistics to reveal the inherent value conflicts embedded in definitional differences and debates related to developing regulation in one specific area of the blockchain technology ecosystem: cryptocurrency. Using cryptocurrency as a case study reveals the delicate balance that must be taken to law development in even the best popularly understood area of blockchain technology. In doing so, the Article demonstrates that corpus linguistics offers a tool for identifying specific linguistic ambiguities before they are embedded in law, ultimately enhancing the clarity, predictability, and coherency of the regulatory regimes to which cryptocurrency is subject.

Keywords: Cryptocurrencies, Digital assets, Digital currencies, Cryptoassets, Stablecoins, Cryptocurrency terms, Corpus linguistics, Technology, Standards, Law, Regulation

Suggested Citation

Reyes, Carla, Emerging Technology’s Language Wars: Cryptocurrency ( 2023). 64 William & Mary Law Review 1193 (2023), SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 580, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4321864

Carla Reyes (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275
United States

HOME PAGE: http://bit.ly/Reyes-Carla-L

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