Crypto (noun) abbrev. cryptocurrencies. Digital currencies lacking the backing of authorities, central banks or common sense. Useful as an anonymous means for buying timeshares in horses (apparently) or drugs on the internet The true believers in cryptocurrencies strode into 2018 with their chests and wallets puffed up. This, they thought, was to be the year that their beloved digital tokens started to usurp the fuddy-duddy old world of fiat money. They had plausible reasons for confidence. Despite noisy and repeated warnings from pretty much every sensible economist on the planet that it would all end in tears, the price of bitcoin, the biggest star in the cryptosystem, had rocketed from about $1,000 in January 2017 to a little under $20,000 by December. Companies were cramming the word “blockchain” — the technology behind the crypto craze — into their names and watching their shares rocket 500%. That trick was still alive in the opening weeks of 2018. What is more, crypto had land...

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