You Can Now Use “Bitcoin” in Scrabble, But Not “Blockchain”
09.25.2018

People may have been using bitcoin for years now to make international payments and buy products ranging from pizza to plane tickets. But now, they can also use it to win at Scrabble.

The sixth edition of The Official Scrabble Player’s Dictionary came out yesterday, and it features more than 300 new words, one of which is “bitcoin.” Other notable additions include a couple animal hybrids, like “puggle” (a crossbreed of a pug and a beagle—they look like this) and “sheeple” (when humans act like sheep by mindlessly traveling in herds). Speaking of sheeple, Scrabble players can also benefit from newly minted players’ dictionary term “hivemind,” and let’s definitely not forget “zomboid.”

On a somewhat disappointing note, Scrabble will now allow the two-letter words “OK” and “ew.” The latter is just a cheap way to get rid of a “w” and the former is already covered by the more challenging “okay,” but I digress. “W” tiles have another home in the newly added “twerk,” anyway.

More than 150 million Scrabble sets have been sold in 121 different countries since architect Alfred Mosher Butts created the game in the 1930s. Scrabble was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2004, and it’s inspired notable spinoff games like Qwirkle and Bananagrams. In other words, Scrabble accepting bitcoin as an official word is akin to at least 150 million households giving the concept of a decentralized, digital currency a hearty “OK,” as well. The word even makes it on the front cover of the updated player’s dictionary.

"Bitcoin" on the cover of Scrabble's updated Official Players Dictionary

TheChain: Image

Scrabble giving its blessing to new words can foreshadow enduring digital trends. In its last updated edition, which debuted in August 2014, the game added words like “selfie,” “hashtag,” “texter,” and “vlog.” YouTube is currently overrun with vlogs, everyone I know—besides my dad—is a “texter,” and the importance of an effective hashtag cannot be underestimated. This may sound like a joke, but consider #MeToo.

That said, four years ago the Official Scrabble Players’ Dictionary also added “chillax,” a term that’s as decidedly out of fashion as other 2014 additions like “mixtape,” which feels like it got added 20 years too late, and “webzine.” Perhaps Scrabble isn’t the technology oracle its inclusion of “texter” led us to believe it was.

Bitcoin is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, and most U.S. adults are aware of bitcoin even if they don’t grasp more technologically challenging concepts around cryptocurrencies. This lack of mainstream adoption is reflected in Scrabble’s online dictionary, where a search for “blockchain” results in a message informing you that “this is not an official Scrabble word.” “Dogecoin” doesn’t show up, either. Better luck next edition.