Blockchain and Crypto Words/Phrase and Their Meaning
The world of cryptocurrencies is a vast and complex one. It can be intimidating to newcomers with its jargon-filled conversations.Lost in a sea of new terms as you try to find your way to crypto clarity? If you are brand new to the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There are so many new technical terms and slang you need to digest and understand. We are here to help with a list of crypto vocabulary to make navigating this new world just a little bit more manageable.
A hypothetical situation where more than half of the computing power on a blockchain network is controlled by one person or group, thus allowing them to dictate which transactions are verified. This would allow them to prevent other users from completing confirmed transactions and cause havoc within the system, and double-spend coins.
51% attack protection
A protection mechanism implemented by several cryptocurrencies that require more than 50% of their total hashing power working together as one entity which would make it difficult for attackers since they'd need even more resources and time) or if this threshold is below 100%, having an additional safeguard feature where at least 66% must agree with every transaction before sending, making them unable to double-spend anything without others noticing until these changes are made on the chain permanently.
Away From Keyboard; used on social media platforms like Twitter where users share their trading activity but only want to receive messages while they're logged into their account (and not away doing other things). AFKs usually trade for more extended periods of time than those who are active on their feeds.
An event where a blockchain project distributes free tokens or coins to the community.
The act of keeping digital information or machinery isolated from unauthorised access in order to enhance security.
Any cryptocurrency that is an alternative to Bitcoin.
Anti-Money Laundering, a legal framework used by governments worldwide to stop financial crimes like money laundering, terrorist financing, fraud, and more.
All-Time High, the highest value reached by an asset at any point in its history.
A derogatory term to describe investors who are still holding certain assets that have dropped significantly in value since their purchase price.
When investors or traders see a bearish trend, they expect a price to decrease and would recommend selling coins/tokens.
A market in which prices fall and negative sentiment is rife; this could lead to a drop-off in demand while buyers wait for lower prices.
The first decentralised cryptocurrency released in 2009.
A person who defends bitcoin against all other crypto assets.
A type of decentralised public ledger which contains records/transactions and forms the basis for how many cryptocurrencies work, using cryptography to link together blocks in a chain so that each block is linked with the previous one chronologically, preventing any tampering or revisionist history from occurring since it would be recognised immediately by other users on the network.
When discussing blockchain networks such as Bitcoin(BTC), this term refers to how many blocks make up their total height/length starting from block #0, also called its genesis block, which was mined during the first round of updates to this network.
A type of monetary incentive provided by cryptocurrencies whenever an individual mines a block successfully. Coins/Tokens are not created out of thin air. Still, rather they must have gone through mining first before being awarded as such since it requires computational resources and electricity costs to mine them effectively. This is how miners make their profits, doing the work necessary in ensuring proper security measures are put in place so that these tokens cannot easily be hacked or stolen from them.
Block size limit
The maximum amount of data that can be included in a block, measured in bytes. Bitcoin's is hard-coded at one megabyte while Ethereum's was recently increased to around 20% of that number (to roughly 12.66MB), with plans for it to increase further over the coming years.
A technical indicator used by traders to measure market volatility consisting of three lines plotted at standard deviation levels above and below a centre line.
Buy The Dip; this means buying coins/tokens when the price drops and they're cheap.
When investors are bullish, they expect a price to go up in the future and would be comfortable buying coins/tokens at these levels because they believe it will increase even more.
A market in which prices are rising, and investors expect even better returns.
Ethereum's proof-of-stake protocol upgrade, designed to replace the proof-of-work as mentioned earlier and improve the scalability of the network while also enhancing security by making it less costly for an attacker to attack the network.
A system of power where a central authority has control over the execution of operations. Often associated with a dictatorial style of rule and a single point of attack.
A decentralised network where all incentive mechanisms are built into the protocol itself and not as an additional layer on top of it (like Ethereum). The purpose is to create fully autonomous systems with no need for central management.
The practice of purposely sending false signals between nodes on a network using fake IP addresses so that they only see information that has already been seen by another node or set of nodes before, thus making consensus impossible for any new data being added onto the chain; this works against 51% attacks where attackers try to introduce invalid blocks into the chain since other miners will not recognise these blocks because they cannot make sense out of what they are seeing due to chaffing.
This is how many transactions have been processed/validated and added to its ledger so far since it began existing, either through mining or other means, including private ones off-chain. Confirmed transactions cannot be reversed without cooperation from others involved with keeping records on the network's shared ledger (see consensus). Cryptocurrencies need at least six confirmations before they can be considered finalised but more often than not, only take one depending on their protocol ruleset, such as Bitcoin(BTC).
The process of selling crypto coins or tokens through crowdfunding, usually done before a new blockchain-based project launches its token/coin on the market so investors can take part in early bonuses and incentives.
A product which has a piece of art embedded on the front, and private keys to an address holding a digital currency or other token. These typically hold less value than traditional cryptocurrencies since they don't have a price set by markets, but are considered collectables that can be bought as gifts for others.
A form of digital asset that uses cryptography as its main security measure to control the creation of additional units and verify transactions on its decentralised network.
A financial instrument that derives its value from an underlying asset. They are usually contracts traded between two parties based on the price of a certain item, rate or index at some future date.
The combination of cryptography, information theory, computer science, and game theory creates secure economic systems that incentivise proof-of-work consensus models through mechanisms such as decentralised control, immutability, and trust less transactions.
The use of cryptographic protocols or mathematical techniques to encrypt messages sent between parties which are then decrypted using a key for security purposes.
An internet meme that became popular in late 2017 and early 2018, referring to an online game where players could breed cartoon cats with special traits using Ethereum-based cryptocurrency called Ether (ETH).
Digital tokens on a blockchain platform that derive their value from the decentralised consensus formed among all/majority of users, rather than coming from an external source like fiat money or company stock. Examples include Ether, Binance Coin (BNB), and Basic Attention Token (BAT).
A project that was launched with intentions of being used as a digital currency but failed.
When something does not have any central control but rather operates independently through peer-to-peer networks and consensus algorithms instead, transactions cannot be reversed once confirmed on blockchains that do not have any central authority or place of residence since they are decentralised.
Decentralised applications (DApps)
DApps are essentially software programs built and hosted on blockchain technology, providing users with various functions through peer-to-peer action rather than depending on traditional intermediaries such as governments or banks. Decentralised apps are frequently used to execute decentralised finance operations.
Decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO)
A company or business that is run by smart contracts and governed by its token-holding community.
Decentralised exchange (DEX)
A system that allows for the trustless, peer-to-peer trading of cryptocurrencies without a third party or intermediary taking fees along the way.
Decentralised finance (DeFi)
Pushes the development of alternative decentralised blockchain-based financial applications to enable peer-to-peer transactions without third parties. DeFi apps include lending platforms, exchanges, prediction markets and many more solutions built on top of various protocols like Ethereum or Bitcoin.
The selling of coins, especially by whales who hold large amounts to stabilise prices and avoid crashing them.
A type of database that is spread out across several nodes in different locations and countries so that it can remain decentralised as well as transparent to those involved with keeping records on it; every single node will hold a complete copy which is updated regularly through consensus algorithms when new transactions take place. This also allows for faster processing speeds since multiple copies are already available rather than one central authority who has to distribute them from scratch if something does go wrong. It should not be confused with distributed computing, though both use similar techniques but ledgers record data while computations perform actions based on said data. Distributed ledger technology (DLT) is another term used for this concept.
When someone tries to send a transaction, but ends up sending it twice since they did not wait for the first one to be confirmed on-chain; this is often done by those with malicious intent and can lead to losing all of your funds if you fall victim.
Different cryptocurrencies are sometimes compared to actual gold based on their storage and appreciation. Bitcoin is sometimes referred to as digital gold.
The process of offloading large quantities of coins onto exchanges all at once which drives down prices because there is more supply than demand for that particular cryptocurrency.
Do Your Own Research; this means that all crypto investors should do their own research on a project before investing in it.
Entry and exit points
These are the points at which an investor decides to buy or sell a particular coin/token.
A technical standard used for smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain which ensures that all tokens and transactions comply with certain rules (such as how many decimal points to use).
Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)
A Turing complete virtual machine that helps run smart contracts on Ethereum's blockchain by keeping track of their state and allowing them to be executed simultaneously across the entire network through consensus. It also calculates gas prices before transactions are conducted so as prevent users from spamming it with infinite loops or useless code which would make it incredibly difficult for others to use since every computational step requires a fee paid in Ether.
A web tool that lets you explore transactions, wallets, and other aspects of Ethereum's blockchain. It also provides various charts to visualize said data as well as a list for those who want to track specific activity on the network.
Platforms that allow users to buy, sell, or trade cryptocurrencies for other digital currency or traditional currencies like US dollars or euros. Cryptocurrency exchanges are a vital part of the crypto ecosystem, providing users with access to crypto funds.
Fear and greed index
A technical indicator that measures market sentiment based on the prices of seven different assets.
A legal tender declared by the government; this can be backed up by its economy and has an institution that regulates it (central bank). For example, the Great British Pound (GBP) and United States Dollar (USD) are both fiat currencies.
A cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to deposit fiat currencies such as the dollar or euro into their account for trading purposes.
The moment when a cryptocurrency's market capitalisation (or the total value of its tokens in circulation) surpasses that of another crypto.
Fear Of Missing Out; the acronym that was coined to describe a phenomenon when investors buy or sell an asset based on others' actions, causing them to miss out on more profitable opportunities.
A software update that is not backwards compatible with previous versions of the same cryptocurrency protocol, creating an entirely new branch from block 0.
Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt; the acronym that was coined for cryptosphere discussions.
A person who spreads FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) about a specific coin or blockchain project, often for self-benefit.
A contract to buy or sell an asset at a later date with the price agreed upon today. Investors use these as both a hedge against risk and a tool for profit.
The name given to the transaction cost of running a smart contract, functions on Ethereum and other similar platforms. It is paid in units called Gwei which are a billionth of an Ether.
The first block in the Blockchain, usually hardcoded into the coin's system which is used to bootstrap its network.
The process by which Bitcoin mining rewards are reduced by 50% every four years; this is done to create scarcity and control the total supply (since no more than 21 million Bitcoins can ever be mined).
A software update that is not backwards compatible with previous versions of the same cryptocurrency protocol, resulting in the creation of an entirely new branch from block 0.
Also known as cold storage/wallet, it's essentially a USB stick that can be used for offline transactions and keeping your private keys safe. It's considered more secure than most other forms of wallets since they're harder to access if you lose them. There are different types including paper and digital ones but each has its own pros and cons.
A specific algorithm that maps data of any size to a fixed size output, also referred as a cryptographic function since they are often used for encryption and other security purposes where it cannot be reversed through computation alone; hashing takes an inputted string/file/document and outputs the same thing every single time so long as its original content has not been altered even if just by one letter or space character. This process is irreversible, making working backwards to discover what was used next nearly impossible unless someone had access to the private key associated with each transaction on blockchain networks containing these hashes written into their blocks instead. Every cryptocurrency's hash algorithm must meet certain requirements before being approved into existence.
The use of two different strategies in order to reduce the risk involved with one strategy. For example, you could hedge by taking a long position and shorting it simultaneously; this would result in your exposure being less than if you just went long or short on that particular asset/trade alone.
An intentional typo for the word "hold" originally posted by an anonymous user on the Bitcoin talk forum, which the crypto community later turned into slang for holding a cryptocurrency long term despite market volatility.
Any cryptocurrency wallet that is connected to the internet and therefore at a higher risk of being hacked; they're not recommended for long-term storage, but rather as a way of sending/receiving funds where necessary.
Initial Coin OfferingThe very first offering for public purchase and sale of tokens or digital assets for a newly born blockchain project.
Initial decentralised offering, which is similar to an ICO but lets users interact with the project before it goes live.
Initial Exchange OfferingThis is when a coin is sold for the first time via a digital currency exchange.
An economic condition where the general level of prices for goods and services is rising and the purchasing power of a currency falls.
Know Your Customer, which refers to the process of obtaining and verifying personal identification information from customers for business purposes before allowing them access to services or products.
Slang term used in reference to a Lamborghini is often an indicator of how quickly someone expects to become rich given the current market conditions. It's also often used ironically to convey the oppositethat someone has lost a lot of money during bearish periods.
A proposed solution that aims to speed up transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain by moving them off the main chain. The network is a decentralised system of pre-funded channels where people can make transfers without having to wait for global consensus and confirmation from miners, thus allowing faster settlement times.
An instruction an investor gives when placing a buy or sell order on the market; it sets the maximum price they are willing to pay (for buy orders) or the minimum amount for which they will agree to sell (orders).
The total value of the circulating supply of a cryptocurrency, calculated by multiplying its current price with its total supply.
A kind of limit order that is placed without specifying the price at which it should be executed.
A digital currency that doesn't have any inherent value and is used for social media purposes.
A proposed upgrade to the Bitcoin protocol, consisting of a number of separate changes which aim to improve privacy and scalability without compromising on the latter. One main change it introduces is Confidential Transactions, which allows for both amounts and other metadata from transactions to be hidden. It was first suggested by Tom Elvis Jedusor (the alias of Harry Potter's nemesis Voldemort) in 2016.
An individual or group of people who use their computing power to confirm transactions on the blockchain network, receiving rewards in exchange for this service.
The process of creating new cryptocurrency units by solving complex mathematical problems, which are then verified and added to the blockchain network; miners usually receive a reward for their work in the form of these coins they mine.
The process in which miners must use their computing power to solve complex cryptographic puzzles before verifying transactions and earning mining rewards. The difficulty level serves as an indicator of how competitive mining is at any given moment in time.
Dedicated computers used for mining cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin etc. These are custom-built machines designed specifically for the purpose of mining coins through finding solutions to complex mathematical problems so they can be added to public ledgers. They tend to have multiple graphics cards installed along with specially designed processors and cooling systems which helps them mine better than your average computer would be able to do alone.
A slang term to describe a crypto price going up astronomically.
Short for non-fungible tokens; digital assets which are unique and can't be replaced by generic items like coins or diamonds.
connected computer that is part of a network, the Blockchain in this case. All nodes are equal and each one can be used to broadcast messages across the entire system.
A system in blockchain technology where token holders vote and make decisions on proposed changes or upgrades to improve the network's performance without compromising its security.
Peer to peer
A system where two parties can conduct financial transactions with each other without involving a third party, like a bank. The Blockchain is an example of this since it connects nodes in its network directly to one another and allows them to share data/transactions freely between themselves.
A distributed ledger where only certain members are allowed access; this is usually determined by a set of rules or an access control layer.
One of the first bitcoin transactions to ever take place. In 2010, a programmer named Laszlo Hanyecz offered to pay 10,000 Bitcoins (valued at around $40 at the time) for two pizzas from Papa John's.
Proof of authority (PoA)
A consensus mechanism where validators are required to demonstrate possession of a certain amount or type of stake before being allowed into nodes on the network for verifying transactions; it's been implemented by various blockchain networks including POA Networks (based on Ethereum), and Oyster Pearl (based on IOTA Tangle)to name a few
Proof of burn (PoB)
A type of consensus algorithm that requires users to "burn" or exchange some tokens by sending them to an unspendable address, thus proving they are real and active participants in the network.
Proof of stake (PoS)
A type of validation that requires members/nodes to prove ownership over a certain amount of cryptocurrency to guarantee their right to vote on transaction validation.
Proof of work (PoW)
The consensus algorithm used to validate transactions on the blockchain, which requires users to solve complex computational puzzles to add new blocks onto the chain.
A cryptographic key that allows a user to receive cryptocurrency from another user, but cannot be used to send funds. They're unique and usually consist of 64 characters to encrypt your wallet or make digital signatures.
Pump and dump
The process of buying and selling a coin on the market to raise its price and attract other users, followed by profit-taking.
A cryptographic key that allows users to send cryptocurrency from their wallet, but cannot be used to receive funds. They're unique and usually consist of 64 characters which you use for decrypting your wallet or making digital signatures.
A blockchain that is resistant to attacks coming from quantum computers. Quantum computers are still not fully functional but they've reached a stage where it's believed they can be implemented in the future, which would make current encryption methods like SHA-256 (which Bitcoin relies on) vulnerable against them because of their ability to break through cryptography codes much faster than traditional computing.
A form of malware that infects computers and encrypts files, holding them hostage until the owner pays to get access back.
Rules created by a government to enforce compliance with laws and standards for certain businesses or industries.
A slang term used to describe a situation where an investor becomes "wrecked" by losing all their money due to trading or other factors within the market.
Return on investment (ROI)
The percentage of investment returns over an initial investment. It's often used to measure the performance of a particular cryptocurrency or trading strategy, where higher numbers indicate better results.
A fraudulent cryptocurrency strategy in which crypto developers desert a project and flee with investors' money.
The pseudonym of the creator(s) behind Bitcoin, their true identity still remains a mystery today despite several attempts to solve this ongoing riddle.
The capability of a system, network or process to handle a growing amount of work, be it products being sold online by an e-commerce store or increased transaction volume on a blockchain network without compromising safety/integrity or performance/speed requirements in any way from its original form when it was first created.
The process of buying and selling a coin/token multiple times on the same day within short timeframes in order to profit from small price fluctuations over that period. These often occur when there is low volume, but many exchanges have daily limits for how much you can trade, so some traders will try to take advantage of these periods by making repeated trades throughout them.
Segregated witness (segwit)
A soft fork upgrade to the Bitcoin protocol proposed by the Bitcoin Core development team and activated in 2017; it increases network capacity (transactions per second), fixes transaction malleability, and reduces UTXO bloat.
A large order on an exchange that is meant to push down the price of a cryptocurrency by discouraging others from buying it while also preventing those who want to sell from doing so unless they get a lower price.
An alternative proof-of-work algorithm designed by Colin Percival for Tarsnap online backup service in an effort to make it more difficult to perform large scale custom hardware attacks (which was possible with bitcoin because its SHA256 hash function could be run on commodity hardware). It's been adopted by many altcoins since then due to the increased cost involved when using ASICs rather than GPUs/CPUs, including Litecoin and Dogecoin.
A process that involves splitting a blockchain network into smaller groups of nodes called shards, each responsible for processing transactions in parallel. This is supposed to alleviate the pressure from other components such as CPU or GPU so more computational power can be used on solving cryptographical puzzles and attaining consensus.
a type of hype where someone heavily promotes a cryptocurrency by using social media or their influence to draw attention towards it, often with no regard for the quality of the said coin .
A separate but interoperable blockchain that runs in parallel to the main chain and which enables assets to be transferred between them. Usually, it allows for faster transactions with lower costs since they aren't included in the more extensive network.
A derogatory term used to describe cryptocurrencies that are poor in value and likely to fail.
A piece of code that is executed on the blockchain after certain conditions have been met; this allows developers to create decentralised applications without having to build the blockchain from scratch.
An upgrade to a blockchain protocol where only previously valid transactions are made invalid.
Special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) are a type of security created by fusing together multiple different asset classes into one. For example, SPACs can be used for registering an initial public offering (IPO) where the company itself doesn't actually exist yet but will in the future once it's become profitable enough to go through with its plans and meet all requirements needed before doing so.
A cryptocurrency designed to minimise price volatility, usually by pegging its value or supply against a physical asset such as fiat currencies like the US dollar or metals like silver and gold.
When you stake coins, you are effectively locking them away in a digital wallet for the purposes of maintaining the network. You are rewarded with more coins/tokens when your wallet is staking, but it also means that you cannot trade these coins while they're locked up.
An instruction given by an investor when placing a buy or sell order on the market; it sets a condition where they will automatically close their position if this condition is met (when the market reaches a certain rate).
Also known as "pure" or "transaction-only" blockchain, a type of distributed ledger that doesn't require native currency to operate.
The study of how different variables within an economy impact each other and affect the decision making process. It is a branch of economics that looks at how different classes of assets, which have a monetary value attached to them, affect the dynamics within an economy.
A unit of value used for various purposes within a crypto ecosystem. Tokens can represent any asset, from commodities like gold or coffee beans, to loyalty points, real estate, or even other cryptocurrencies.
The process of selling digital tokens or coins to raise funds for a blockchain project before it goes live and generates revenue.
Total value locked (TVL)
The total value of coins locked in a master node divided by the number of existing master nodes at that point. Since there is no way to know how many will be created or destroyed, TVL provides an estimate for this figure and can give some indication as to which projects are undervalued and overvalued (however it's important to note that TVL is not a perfect indicator and should be taken with a pinch of salt).
The sum of money paid to miners to confirm transactions into blocks and add them to the Blockchain network. It isn't part of the amount being transferred but rather an additional charge set by users sending tokens via smart contracts (which send tokens automatically). In other words, this is how much you pay your miner when making a cryptocurrency transfer over any given timeframe.
Transaction fee market
The mechanism which allows users of a blockchain platform who are not validators/miners themselves, yet still want their transactions confirmed quickly, to voluntarily increase fees as an incentive for miners to prioritise them over others. This is done via bidding at auction within blocks so that all transactions with the same or similar fees get accepted and included into a said block before those with lower fees do.
The ability to slightly modify a transaction before propagating it across the network to make it easily detectable; this can lead miners/validators to see different versions of the said transaction depending on their location within the blockchain. Segwit addresses this problem since signatures are no longer included with the transaction data itself.
The central component of nodes within a blockchain where all pending/unconfirmed transactions are stored until they're mined into blocks . This is usually done one at a time but can happen concurrently depending on whether there are multiple available or not.
A term used to describe a system that doesn't require trust in any party because it uses encryption and consensus mechanisms for security.
Two-factor authentication (2FA)
A method of confirming a user's claimed identity in which two separate components are required. Usually, something they know (password) and possess (security token).
Virtual Automated Market Makers (vAMMs)
A variant of programmable smart contracts which are designed to automatically create their own market for cryptocurrencies. They do this by placing limit orders to buy or sell tokens at specific prices, thus providing liquidity in the market during times when there are no active buyers/sellers.
A market where prices are fluctuating rapidly, so it's harder to predict what will happen next.
A digital location used to store crypto funds by storing private and public keys that provide access to your cryptocurrency holdings.
The public key of a cryptocurrency wallet that is used to receive funds.
Wallet seed phrase
This is a list of words used to generate deterministic keys for wallets; it can be thought of like a private password or pin number for your crypto funds. It's vitally important you keep them safe since if someone has access, then they could easily withdraw all your tokens.
This is when investors create artificial trading activity to appear as if they are doing business, but in reality, it's fake, and there is no actual, legitimate buying or selling occurring; this occurs most often with exchanges themselves who buy and sell their own tokens between each other to make them look like actual trades, driving up value artificially which can lead people to think that an asset will continue increasing before plummeting once all these fake transactions have been uncovered.
Slang term which refers to individuals who are easily scared by market fluctuations and sell when prices drop, causing further drops in value.
Slang term used in reference to an investor who has a substantial amount of capital to invest, typically one looking to make significant investments.
Slang term used in reference to analysing investors' activity for clues that they are about to pump or dump coins.
A proof that provides evidence of the truthfulness of a statement without revealing any additional information beyond what is already known. This makes it possible to prove possession of knowledge or secret keys, while keeping them hidden.
A type of zero-knowledge cryptography which allows someone to prove that they know something without giving away any additional information apart from the fact that it's true.