GLOSSARY OF CRYPTOCURRENCY TERMS
A unique string of letters and numbers to and from which cryptocurrency is sent. An address—which is usually a hashed version of a public key—functions like an email address.
AltcoinA cryptocurrency that functions similarly to—but not exactly the same as—bitcoin. Typically, founders will detail in their whitepaper how their project’s altcoin is distinct from bitcoin.
A peer-to-peer network of nodes that maintain a blockchain-based distributed ledger of bitcoin balances. The cryptocurrency native to the Bitcoin network is bitcoin.
BlockA discrete group of valid transaction data that is cryptographically tied to the previous block; collectively forming a chain of blocks (i.e., a blockchain).
Block ExplorerA website or software application that allows users to browse and analyse the entire history of a specific blockchain network.
Block HeightThe number of blocks that exist between a given block and the genesis block. The eighth block to be added to a given blockchain will have a block height of seven, for example.
The amount of newly minted cryptocurrency and transaction fees automatically awarded by the blockchain protocol to a miner when they successfully validate a new block.
A database created and maintained by a peer-to-peer network of nodes. Blockchains comprise individual blocks that are each cryptographically linked to one another.
An individual or firm (i.e., a brokerage firm) that typically charges a fee or commission for executing buy and sell orders submitted by cryptocurrency investors.
A deliberate misspelling of ‘build’, this term is essentially a reminder to focus on improving the quality of tech and projects occupying the space.
The amount of time it takes for an unconfirmed cryptocurrency transaction to be included into the blockchain by miners. Transaction fee size can greatly affect confirmation time.
CryptocurrencyA scarce digital asset or digital form of money enabled by blockchain technology. Cryptocurrencies are native to particular blockchain networks (e.g., bitcoin to Bitcoin).
The practice and study of encrypting and decrypting information through complex mathematics Cryptography is a significant component of blockchain technology.
EthereumAn open-source, decentralised computing infrastructure that uses blockchain technology to synchronise and store changes in state. The cryptocurrency native to Ethereum is ether.
ExchangeAn online platform that allows buyers and sellers to trade a range of cryptocurrencies using fiat currency or other cryptocurrencies.
Money that has no intrinsic value and is declared legal tender by a government. Examples of fiat currencies include the U.S. dollar, Japanese yen, and Australian dollar.
An acronym for ‘fear of missing out’, FOMO refers to the anxiety that one feels when they believe they’re missing out on a potentially lucrative investment or trade opportunity.
Short for fear, uncertainty, and doubt, FUD refers to any baseless, negative information that is intentionally spread by those seeking to gain—often financially—from FUD-induced hysteria.
A type of derivative contract that represents a binding agreement to buy or sell a given cryptocurrency at a specified price and date. Upon expiration, futures are either cash-settled or physically delivered.
GasA unit value that quantifies the work Ethereum does. Gas exists in order to incentivise node operators on the Ethereum network to process transactions.
Genesis BlockThe first block in a blockchain. Because its block height is always equal to zero, the genesis block is also referred to as ‘block zero’.
A scheduled event in which the amount of newly minted cryptocurrency awarded for successfully mining a block (i.e., the block subsidy) halves.
A code change in a blockchain protocol so significant that it becomes incompatible with older versions.
HashThe values returned by a hash function—a deterministic mathematical algorithm that maps data of variable size to a new fixed-size set of data.
Hash RateThe speed at which miners are computing hashes. In the cryptocurrency space, measurements of hash rate are typically approximations.
A deliberate misspelling of ‘hold’, the phrase originated in 2013 when a user posted to the Bitcoin Forum message board, “I AM HODLING.” It is used to reinforce a long-term outlook by cryptocurrency owners.
The extent to which blockchains are cross-compatible and can leverage other blockchains’ unique properties.
A technique involving the use of borrowed funds (i.e., debt) that allows traders to open a position that is larger than the balance of their account.
The ability to buy or sell a particular cryptocurrency in the market without significantly affecting the price.
A trading position opened by investors and traders who buy a cryptocurrency with the expectation to sell it at a higher market value in the future.
MainnetA fully developed and deployed blockchain protocol that is able to facilitate the sending and receiving of cryptocurrency by users.
Margin TradingA method of trading cryptocurrencies where traders use funds borrowed from third parties in order to leverage their positions.
Market CapCalculated by multiplying circulating supply by market price, market cap(italisation) represents the total trading value of a given cryptocurrency.
MempoolShort for ‘memory pool’, a mempool is a collection of all cryptocurrency transactions that are waiting to receive their first confirmation from a miner.
Multi-SignatureA digital signature scheme that enables multiple users to authorise a cryptocurrency transaction before it is broadcasted to the corresponding blockchain network.
NodeA participant in a blockchain network that communicates with other nodes to ensure its security and integrity. Nodes are able to validate transactions.
A solution that allows investors and traders to convert cryptocurrencies to fiat currencies. Off-ramps are offered by most leading cryptocurrency exchange operators.
A solution that allows investors and traders to convert fiat currencies to cryptocurrencies. On-ramps are offered by most leading cryptocurrency exchange operators.
A type of derivative contract that gives the owner the right—but not the obligation—to buy or sell an underlying cryptocurrency at a specified price on or before a specified date, depending on the form of the option.
OracleA blockchain middleware that serves as a secure connection between smart contracts and off-chain data; significantly bolstering the functionality of smart contracts.
A unique string of letters and numbers that essentially functions as a user’s digital signature. It is vital that private keys are kept secret.
Proof of StakeA mechanism by which block validators are selected based on how much cryptocurrency they are staking (i.e., committing funds to help maintain blockchain network).
Proof of WorkA mechanism by which cryptocurrency miners expend computing power to solve cryptographic puzzles; proving they have done so by writing the solution to the blockchain.
Public KeyA unique string of letters and numbers that is visible on a blockchain. A public key can be derived from a private key—but the opposite is not possible.
RektA slang version of the word “wrecked” that is most commonly used to describe a margin trader who has just had their position liquidated.
The smallest denomination of bitcoin (i.e., one hundred millionth of a single bitcoin, or 0.00000001 BTC). The plural form—satoshis—is commonly shortened to ‘sats’.
The name used by the person(s) who invented Bitcoin, authored the Bitcoin whitepaper, and published the original Bitcoin client software.
Seed PhraseAlso known as a mnemonic phrase, a seed phrase—which is typically 12 or 24 words in length—stores the information needed to recover a wallet.
A trading position opened by investors and traders—known as short sellers—who believe the market value of a given cryptocurrency will decline in the future.
Computer code that is able to be stored and executed on a blockchain. Smart contracts self-execute when and if certain predetermined conditions are met.
Soft ForkA code change in a blockchain protocol that is backwards-compatible. That is to say, soft forks do not mandate all participating nodes update their software.
StablecoinA type of cryptocurrency designed to maintain as stable a price as possible. Despite offering the same utility, the form and function of stablecoins differ tremendously.
Bitcoiners use this Matt Odell-coined term to share ways they’ve been accumulating bitcoin. Common examples: buying on Cash App, earning via Lolli, and profitably trading BTC-paired altcoins.