CryptoCurrency & Blockchain Terms and Definitions

Cover Image for CryptoCurrency & Blockchain Terms and Definitions
Chris Dugan

Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is changing the way individuals and businesses are interacting with each other, and how they are investing. Yet diving into this new arena can seem difficult and unfamiliar. New technology always has a learning curve that one must educate themselves with. Just understanding the terminology can be challenging. But without it, everything that comes after is just that much more difficult to comprehend.

Here is a list of the 50 most used terms and their definitions.

  1. Cryptocurrency - A digital currency that uses encryption techniques to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds.
  2. Blockchain - A decentralized, digital ledger that records transactions on multiple computers and is resistant to modification or tampering.
  3. Bitcoin - The first and most well-known cryptocurrency that uses a peer-to-peer network to enable transactions without a central authority.
  4. Altcoin - Any cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin.
  5. Mining - The process of creating new units of cryptocurrency by solving complex mathematical problems using specialized hardware.
  6. Wallet - A software program that stores cryptocurrency and enables users to send and receive digital currency.
  7. Satoshi - The smallest unit of Bitcoin, equivalent to 0.00000001 BTC.
  8. ICO - Initial Coin Offering, a fundraising method in which new cryptocurrency projects sell their tokens to investors.
  9. Hash Rate - The amount of computational power used to mine cryptocurrency.
  10. Node - A computer that participates in the network by validating transactions and maintaining a copy of the blockchain.
  11. Smart Contract - A self-executing contract with the terms of the agreement between buyer and seller being directly written into lines of code.
  12. Proof of Work - A consensus mechanism used in some cryptocurrencies, in which miners solve complex mathematical problems to validate transactions and earn rewards.
  13. Proof of Stake - A consensus mechanism used in some cryptocurrencies, in which validators are chosen based on the amount of cryptocurrency they hold and are willing to "stake" as collateral.
  14. Private Key - A secret code that allows a user to access their cryptocurrency holdings and authorize transactions.
  15. Public Key - A code that allows other users to send cryptocurrency to a user's wallet.
  16. Fiat Currency - Government-issued currency that is not backed by a physical commodity, such as the US dollar or Euro.
  17. Decentralized - A system that operates without a central authority or governing body.
  18. Centralized - A system in which a single entity has control over the operation and management of a system.
  19. Cold Storage - The practice of storing cryptocurrency offline, typically on a hardware device, to reduce the risk of hacking.
  20. Hot Wallet - A wallet that is connected to the internet and used for frequent transactions.
  21. Fork - A change in the protocol or codebase of a cryptocurrency that creates two separate versions of the blockchain.
  22. HODL - A misspelling of "hold" that has become a popular slang term in the cryptocurrency community, used to encourage investors to hold onto their cryptocurrency rather than sell.
  23. Market Cap - The total value of all the cryptocurrency in circulation.
  24. Whale - A person or organization that holds a large amount of cryptocurrency and has the ability to influence the market.
  25. Sharding - A technique used to increase the scalability of a blockchain by dividing it into smaller, more manageable pieces.
  26. Gas - The fee paid to execute a transaction on the Ethereum blockchain.
  27. ERC-20 - A standard for creating tokens on the Ethereum blockchain.
  28. Stablecoin - A cryptocurrency that is designed to maintain a stable value, often by being pegged to a fiat currency or commodity.
  29. KYC - Know Your Customer, a process used by exchanges and other cryptocurrency businesses to verify the identity of their customers.
  30. DeFi - Decentralized Finance, a movement to build financial products and services on top of blockchain technology, without the need for intermediaries.
  31. Cryptography - The practice of using mathematical algorithms to secure and protect data, including the data used in cryptocurrencies.
  32. DApp - Decentralized Application, a software application that runs on a blockchain and does not rely on a central authority to operate.
  33. DAO - Decentralized Autonomous Organization, an organization that is governed by a set of rules encoded as smart contracts on a blockchain.
  34. Hash Function - A mathematical function used in cryptography to convert input data into a fixed-size string of characters, which serves as a digital fingerprint of the data.
  35. Hard Fork - A type of fork in which a change to the protocol of a cryptocurrency is not backwards-compatible, resulting in two separate and incompatible blockchains.
  36. Soft Fork - A type of fork in which a change to the protocol of a cryptocurrency is backwards-compatible, meaning that the new version of the blockchain can still communicate with the old version.
  37. Merkle Tree - A data structure used in cryptocurrencies to efficiently store and verify the integrity of large amounts of data.
  38. Whale Alert - A service that monitors blockchain activity and alerts users to large transactions or movements of cryptocurrency.
  39. Lightning Network - A layer-2 scaling solution for Bitcoin that allows for faster and cheaper transactions by processing them off-chain.
  40. Decentralized Exchange (DEX) - An exchange that operates on a decentralized blockchain network and does not rely on a central authority to facilitate trades.
  41. Gas Limit - The maximum amount of gas that can be used to execute a transaction on the Ethereum blockchain.
  42. Gas Price - The amount of cryptocurrency that a user is willing to pay for each unit of gas when executing a transaction on the Ethereum blockchain.
  43. Non-Fungible Token (NFT) - A unique digital asset that is stored on a blockchain and represents ownership of a specific item or piece of content.
  44. Proof of Burn - A consensus mechanism in which users burn (i.e. destroy) their cryptocurrency to validate transactions and earn rewards.
  45. Proof of Space - A consensus mechanism in which users allocate storage space on their devices to validate transactions and earn rewards.
  46. Whitepaper - A document that outlines the technical specifications, features, and potential use cases of a cryptocurrency project.
  47. Cryptocurrency Exchange - An online platform that allows users to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies.
  48. 51% Attack - A situation in which a single entity controls more than 50% of the computing power on a blockchain network, allowing them to potentially manipulate transactions and undermine the security of the network.
  49. FUD - Fear, uncertainty, and doubt, a term used to describe negative or misleading information about a cryptocurrency project that is spread to create panic or doubt among investors.
  50. ATH - All-time high, a term used to describe the highest price that a cryptocurrency has ever reached.

    Learning these terms and their meanings will help you to navigate through the rest of your travels in crypto. The education will always be ongoing as the technology keeps expanding. But this is a good place to start.

    To learn more about crypto and blockchain technology join our communities here.

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