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Glossary

Click on a term to learn more

A

Altcoin

Any cryptocurrency that is not Bitcoin.

ASIC

An expensive computer chip that in a crypto context, is built specifically for mining. ASICs are currently the standard for all cryptocurrency miners. 

B

Binance

The most popular centralized exchange (CEX) by trading volume as well as trading pairs.

Bitcoin (BTC)

The first cryptocurrency and the foundation for all other cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH)

A cryptocurrency that was created from Bitcoin’s code in 2017. Its network can now perform more transactions per second than Bitcoin’s.

Block

The blockchain equivalent of a page in a transactional ledger (database). On the Bitcoin blockchain, each block contains up to 1 megabyte of transactional data.

Blockchain

A database that is stored across a wide group of computers instead of on servers in a single, physical location, whose data cannot be altered once it is live. Additionally, a blockchain is also a protocol that runs behind a cryptocurrency in this particular sort of database.

C

CBDC

Central Bank Digital Currency - A digital currency that would be issued by a central bank and therefore governed like a fiat currency on the blockchain. To date, the only case of a CBDC that has gone live is Petro issued by the Venezuelan government (however, it did not succeed). 

Centralization

The concentration of control over a currency under a single group of people, e.g. a government or a bank.

CEX

A cryptocurrency exchange that is owned and controlled by a single entity and run as a business. The cryptocurrencies that a CEX offers are entirely determined by its management.

ChangeNOW

A leading instant exchange service that focuses on quick, non-custodial, limitless cryptocurrency swaps.

Coin

A cryptocurrency that is based on its own blockchain and works as a medium of exchange and sometimes as a store of value as well.

Cointelegraph

One of the leading crypto media outlets, specializing in daily news round-ups and market analysis.

Consensus algorithm

A set of rules that are utilized to achieve agreement amongst a network of computers. On blockchain networks, consensus algorithms are used as rules for how transactions can be validated and recorded, which means that they also secure the networks they are tied to.

Crypto exchange

An online platform where crypto enthusiasts can buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies.

Crypto wallet

The place where a cryptocurrency user can access as well as “store” their cryptocurrencies. 

Cryptocurrency

A digital currency that is owned and controlled by its users instead of a central authority and secured by cryptography.

CZ (Changpeng Zhao)

The founder of Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange. The richest and one of the most influential crypto enthusiasts in the world.

D

DApp

Decentralized application - a web or mobile application that is hosted on a blockchain instead of on traditional servers in a centralized location.

Decentralization

The distribution of control over a currency across a wide network of its users. Bitcoin will always be the first decentralized currency, depending on rules embedded in lines of code for its supply and issuance, instead of a government.

DEX

A cryptocurrency exchange that runs autonomously and allows all of its users to transact with each other directly.

Digital asset

Any asset that is managed by a peer-to-peer network instead of a centralized entity like a bank or broker. In the world of crypto, a digital asset is synonymous with a cryptocurrency.

Distributed ledger

A type of database in which the responsibility of storing data is spread across a wide network of users. Blockchain is one type of distributed ledger. 

E

Ether (ETH)

The cryptocurrency that acts as the fuel for the Ethereum network, working as both a medium of exchange and a store of value for its apps and services.

Ethereum

The first and still leading open software platform based on blockchain technology. It enables developers to build decentralized applications and create smart contracts. Ether (frequently called Ethereum as well) is the native cryptocurrency of this network.

F

Fiat money

Any currency that is issued and controlled by a government and accepted as legal tender within a particular country. US Dollars, Euros, and all other similar currencies are fiat currencies.

G

GPU

The part of a computer that makes applications and images visually pleasing and attractive for its user. In the early days of cryptocurrency, GPUs were used for mining Bitcoins. Used for mining other coins today.

H

Hash function

A mathematical function that turns data about transactions into an unrecognizable string of letters and numbers, thus encrypting it. Hash functions are used in the verification of transactions and mining.

Hashrate

The measure of the overall computing power being used by miners on a proof-of-work based blockchain network. 

HODLing

The strategy of buying and holding cryptocurrencies in anticipation that their value will grow in the long term.

I

ICO

A smart contract-based fundraising event for a crypto project. Has suffered a boom in 2017, and was later compromised as many used it for scam purposes. “Replaced” by Initial Exchange Offering (IEO) in 2019 and on. 

Immutability

The quality of transactions being set in stone once recorded. Blockchains are immutable because once data goes live on them, it cannot be changed.

Instant exchange service

An online service focused at fast, easy and secure cryptocurrency exchanges. 

K

Key

A secret code that gives someone ownership over and the right to use the cryptocurrencies. This is in stark contrast to the fiat system in which we never really own our money unless it is in cash. 

L

Litecoin (LTC)

An altcoin that is almost identical to Bitcoin, except for higher transaction speed. Typically referred to as the ‘silver to Bitcoin’s gold’.

M

Mining

The process by which transactions are verified and new cryptocurrency coins are issued as a reward. Mining applies to proof-of-work networks like Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dash, Digibyte, and many others.

Mining pool

A service that allows many different cryptocurrency users to put their resources together and act as one miner. All of the fees and rewards that a pool earns are proportionally split between its users. 

N

Node

Any user of a peer-to-peer network who has earned the right to keep it running and secure. Bitcoin nodes help to verify transactions as well as add them to the blockchain. 

O

Offline wallet

A cryptocurrency wallet that is not connected to the internet and can still hold cryptocurrencies. Offline wallets are the most secure form of cryptocurrency wallets.

P

Peer-to-peer network

A group of computers which can store and share cryptocurrency directly amongst each other, without the need for a centralized authority. In the crypto space, a peer-to-peer network is typically synonymous with a blockchain where cryptocurrencies are used and stored. 

Proof of Stake

A consensus algorithm in which nodes are allowed to verify transactions in a blockchain if they own a predetermined amount of cryptocurrency - a stake.

Proof of Work

A consensus algorithm, popularized by Bitcoin, that depends on a process called mining to achieve agreement amongst a network of computers.

R

Ripple (XRP)

A cryptocurrency that is designed to be the medium of exchange for a global, decentralized money transfer network. Overall, the purpose of the Ripple network is to streamline and increase the speed of global money transfers.

S

Satoshi Nakamoto

The anonymous, pseudonymous founder and lead developer of Bitcoin.

Smart contract

A computer program that acts as a real-world contract but has the added security of cryptography. Once conditions of a contract are met on both sides, it automatically performs the action written in the contract. 

Stablecoin

A cryptocurrency that is tied to the value of a traditionally “stable” currency like the US Dollar and shows the corresponding price dynamics. 

T

Token

A cryptocurrency that is used as a medium of exchange and the means of access for decentralized applications. Tokens are cryptocurrencies not based on their own blockchains.

TON

Telegram Open Network was a proposed multi-blockchain platform for secure messaging, decentralized file storage, and cryptocurrency payments. Was being developed with close ties to Telegram messaging app. Shut down in May 2020. 

Trading crypto

The practice of buying, selling, and holding different cryptocurrencies in the anticipation that some will rise and some will fall in price at certain times.

Transaction

Any exchange of value on a cryptocurrency network that is validated by the blockchain network members. 

Transaction verification

The process of making sure that transactions can be done and should be recorded into the blockchain. Though transactions have traditionally been verified by banks and credit card companies, blockchain networks allow them to be verified theoretically by any user.

U

Use case

How a cryptocurrency is used.

V

Vitalik Buterin

The founder of Ethereum and the de-facto head of the Ethereum development community.

Volatility

The range of price swings in the value of an asset. Cryptocurrencies tend to be highly volatile because they are still early-stage investment tools.