Since several questions under the tag have nothing to do with Bitcoin per se, but, rather, are related to proof of work, why not rename the tag or ?

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    $\begingroup$ I think that proof-of-work is a much better name for the tag that is less likely to attract the kind of insanity that seems to follow cryptocurrency. $\endgroup$ May 1, 2023 at 15:26
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    $\begingroup$ Since proof-of-work protocols are cryptographic protocols, we may want to consider using the tag 'cryptography' instead of 'proof-of-work'. $\endgroup$ May 1, 2023 at 16:30
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    $\begingroup$ I understand that cryptocurrencies have been controversial and have unfortunately attracted too many bad actors. But there are several StackExchange sites dedicated to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cryptography, so we should also be welcoming to cryptocurrency enthusiasts who ask high quality questions for this site. Those other SE sites are not full of low quality posts, so I doubt that a cryptocurrency tag will attract too many low quality users. $\endgroup$ May 23, 2023 at 15:26
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    $\begingroup$ Instead of disparaging users of cryptocurrency, it would be much better to innovate and help create better cryptocurrency technologies. $\endgroup$ Nov 27, 2023 at 12:08
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    $\begingroup$ People can do interesting research on cryptocurrencies and blockchain tech, while at the same time cryptocurrencies can be the cause of rather questionable behaviour—like pump-and-dump schemes, or doing a rug-pull on hopeful people—can can attract people with issues, or people with tendencies to gambling addiction-like behaviours. Focusing on purely the maths is fine for MO. $\endgroup$
    – David Roberts Mod
    Apr 19 at 2:16
  • $\begingroup$ I think the point here is to not get entangled with the non-mathematical aspects, and treat the mathematical side objectively—or rather as objectively as any other piece of mathematics—rather than getting into the economic, social, philosophical, etc aspects of actual real-world implementations of the kind of mathematics underlying bitcoin et al, unless it is treated as raw experimental data useful for addressing a technical question about the mathematics. @JosephVanName (I couldn't fit the tagging in the first comment, the URLs took up space) $\endgroup$
    – David Roberts Mod
    Apr 19 at 2:19
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidRoberts I would rather see a meta-analysis on this issue than a single study. The trait Machiavellianism referred to in the paper that you cited is not listed in the DSM and many of the Machiavellianism traits may be considered as virtues (goal orientation and impulse control). Bitcoin just reached its all-time high, so we should consider Bitcoin as a currency that is still growing. Over time, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin will settle down and become less volatile, so Bitcoin will over time attract less people who just want to gamble. $\endgroup$ Apr 20 at 20:59
  • $\begingroup$ The people on this site who own or understand cryptocurrency are much different from the typical cryptocurrency users, so anything said about your typical cryptocurrency user is irrelevant to the content on this site. One of the few questions about Bitcoin was asked on the main site in September 2012 when Bitcoin was worth 11 dollars instead of the 60,000 that it is today. If someone asked a question in 2012 instead of 2024, that means that the demographics of MO Bitcoin askers includes people who are genuinely interested in the technology and mathematics. $\endgroup$ Apr 20 at 21:11
  • $\begingroup$ @JosephVanName Andy made his comment in 2023, not 2012. Tag names suitable for 2012 may be not the wisest choice now, given that the ambient culture around cryptocurrencies has attracted a much wider and wilder range of attitudes. My take on Andy's comment is that we want to avoid making more work in having to clean up misguided questions, spam (as we saw), and have weird debates about non-mathematical aspects, by making MO a magnet. There's nothing wrong with using a generic term like [proof-of-work] in place of a specific named coin. $\endgroup$
    – David Roberts Mod
    Apr 20 at 22:04
  • $\begingroup$ The first comment to this post is not constructive. $\endgroup$ Apr 28 at 14:35

1 Answer 1


I am in favor of replacing the tag or with the more appropriate and specific tags and , but I am currently less in favor of using the tag .

The word 'bitcoin' refers to a specific (though decentralized) product that you can buy on an exchange. I cannot think of any appropriate tags on this site that refer to specific products, and I do not believe that it is appropriate to have tags on this site about specific products. Tags on this site are uncapitalized, and since the tags on this site are uncapitalized, this site favors tags which are not proper nouns. Bitcoin is a proper noun when referring to the cryptocurrency network, so we should not use the tag .

The tag does not seem like the best tag since it seems like even the tag is an improvement over . The term 'Bitcoin' with an upper-case 'B' refers to the entire cryptocurrency blockchain while the term 'bitcoin' with a lower-case 'b' refers to a specific unit of currency worth $28,175.32 as of 5/1/2023 in the Bitcoin blockchain. The term 'bitcoins' is the plural form of 'bitcoin'. We can therefore conclude that the tag refers to the plural of 'bitcoin' which refers to a quantity of digital currency instead of the blockchain. It is more appropriate for the tag to refer to the entire blockchain than to a specific unit of currency on that blockchain.

The tag is outdated in favor of the more appropriate tags , , and . The tag 'bitcoins' was created in September 5, 2012. In 2012, Bitcoin's market capitalization completely dominated the total cryptocurrency market capitalization. Only in 2017 did we see Bitcoin's percentage of the total cryptocurrency market capitalization drop from about 85 percent to about 33 percent. Bitcoin's percentage of the total cryptocurrency market capitalization has been around 50 percent since the middle of 2017 (take this value with a grain of salt since it does not take into consideration lost bitcoins). Right now there are thousands of alternate cryptocurrencies to choose from besides Bitcoin, but in 2012, Bitcoin was the only cryptocurrency that was not just an experiment. It made more sense to use a 'Bitcoin' tag in 2012, but now it does not make sense to use the tag in favor of .

The site https://crypto.stackexchange.com/tags does not have a tag for Bitcoin. The Cryptography Stack Exchange site has thought about the usage of the Bitcoin tag, and they have decided that it is best not to use a 'bitcoin' or 'bitcoins' tag, and I agree with their determination.

There are several StackExchange sites dedicated to cryptocurrency technologies including Bitcoin, Cardano, Cryptography, Ethereum, Iota, Monero, Stellar, and Tezos. Since the rest of the StackExchange network embraces cryptocurrency technologies, MathOverflow should at least be welcoming to those who ask high quality mathematical questions related to cryptocurrency technologies on this site. Those other sites have not attracted low quality posts, so I doubt that a cryptocurrency tag would attract much more than its fair share of low-quality posts. But I understand that cryptocurrency technologies have been controversial and have unfortunately attracted too many bad actors, so some people on this site may not want anything to do with cryptocurrency technologies. I am in favor of using the tags or instead of since the cryptocurrency related questions on this site have all been about proof-of-work problems which are cryptographic protocols; it is better to use a more specific tag rather than the tag which the people on this site have different opinions about. There may come a time in the future when we will need a tag for mathematical research questions about cryptocurrencies that are not about proof-of-work or any other kind of cryptographic protocol, and we should welcome such questions (even those who are not in favor of cryptocurrencies should at least be in favor of improving cryptocurrency technologies or at least solving a mathematical problem).

Proof-of-work problems are examples of cryptographic protocols, so we may also just use the tag instead of . There is currently no tag, so we should ask ourselves whether we want to create the new tag or use the existing tag .

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    $\begingroup$ "We can therefore conclude that the tag bitcoins refers to the plural of 'bitcoin'" I think concluding anything from the (lack of) capitalisation of tags is meaningless, given that all tags are all lower-case (cf. e.g. erdos). $\endgroup$ May 1, 2023 at 20:37
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    $\begingroup$ I made my conclusion based on how the tag is plural rather than singular instead of on the lack of capitalization. There is only one Bitcoin blockchain. Every other blockchain will have its own name. And the 's' at the end of 'bitcoins' indicates plurality which means that the tag 'bitcoins' is referring to the monetary unit worth about 30,000 USD today rather than the blockchain itself. $\endgroup$ May 1, 2023 at 20:53

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