It seems that "cryptocurrency" and "ICO" are among the 850 new words that are to be added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Inclusion is determined by a daily process conducted by the editors called "reading and marking."
The editors closely monitor the frequency and way in which a word is used in order to track its permeation into the public vernacular. In recognition of their classification as two of the "words people use most," the definitions for "cryptocurrency" and "ICO" are as follows:
Cryptocurrency: any form of currency that only exists digitally, that usually has no central issuing or regulating authority but instead uses a decentralized system to record transactions and manage the issuance of new units, and that relies on cryptography to prevent counterfeiting and fraudulent transactions.
ICO: an initial offering of a cryptocurrency to the public.
"Each word has taken its own path in its own time to become part of our language," notes Merriam-Webster, "to be used frequently enough by some in order to be placed in a reference for all."
These new words will join other ecosystem terms previously recognized by Merriam-Webster, like "Bitcoin" and "blockchain," in the dictionary's efforts to help define "the sometimes perplexing domain of digital financial exchanges" that is, in part, now comprised of cryptocurrency transactions.