Crypto Glossary A to Z: Jargon for Beginners
Learn and stay up to date with all of the most common blockchain and crypto terms and slang with our Crypto Glossary. We have all seen those words and abbreviations on social media like HODL or ATH but if you're new to crypto (or over 30) you may not know what they mean. So we have put together some key phrases and terms you need to know and keep up with the kids.
A crypto airdrop is a marketing campaign where a project will deliver free crypto tokens or coins to participating users’ wallets.
An algorithm is a set of well-defined instructions used to perform calculations, accomplish a task, or solve a problem(s). The instructions must be executed in a specific order to produce the desired outcome.
All-Time High (ATH) refers to the highest price that a financial asset has ever reached. The term is used to analyze traditional financial assets like stocks and bonds, as well as digital assets like Bitcoin.
All-time low (ATL) refers to the lowest price a digital asset has ever reached in its entire trading history.
Altcoins refers to any other cryptocurrency apart from Bitcoin. They are called altcoins because they are considered alternative currencies to Bitcoin.
An ask price is the lowest amount at which a seller is willing to sell an asset such as a stock, bond, or cryptocurrency.
A bear market is a lasting downward trend in the market when asset prices are declining and supply is greater than demand.
The bid price is the highest price that a buyer is willing to pay for a particular asset, such as a cryptocurrency or stock.
Bid-ask spread in crypto is the difference between the highest price a buyer is willing to pay and the lowest price a seller is willing to accept for a specific asset.
Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency, without a central bank or single administrator, that can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer Bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries. It was introduced in 2009 by an anonymous entity known as Satoshi Nakamoto.
Bitcoin Core is the software used to connect to and interact with the Bitcoin peer-to-peer network.
A block in a blockchain is a container of data that records all transactions in a secure and transparent way.
A block reward is the sum of crypto awarded to a miner or validator by a blockchain protocol for successfully mining and validating a block.
A blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger that records transactions across multiple computers, ensuring data integrity and transparency by making information tamper-resistant and verifiable without a central authority.
A blockchain bridge connects two separate blockchain networks and enables the transfer of data and tokens between the different networks. Blockchain bridges facilitate interaction and the ability to operate between networks (commonly referred to as “interoperability”).
A blockchain explorer is a tool that enables users to navigate and review information about any public blockchain network.
The term “BUIDL” is a call for crypto users and enthusiasts to build and contribute to the progress of the blockchain and crypto space, as opposed to passively holding digital assets.
A buy wall is the result of a large buy limit order(s) placed on a cryptocurrency when it hits a certain price. Automated trading algorithms are responsible for most buy walls.
The Byzantine Generals’ Problem is a game theory problem that illustrates how difficult it is for decentralized parties to arrive at a consensus or agree on a single truth without relying on a trusted third party.
A Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) is the electronic version of a country’s fiat currency, and is issued by the central government. CBDCs are like cryptocurrencies, but their value is tied to the country’s physical currency.
A crypto’s circulating supply is that specific cryptocurrency’s amount of tokens or coins that are in circulation at a particular time and are available to the public to buy or sell.
A coin is a digital asset that functions as a currency or store of value on its own blockchain network.
Cold storage is a method of holding data or crypto assets in devices that are not connected to the internet, which provides added security for its users.
A cold wallet also referred to as “cold storage” is A device or system that secures crypto private keys offline.
The term “consensus mechanism” refers to a self-regulatory stack of protocols, algorithms, incentives, and concepts that help ensure a blockchain’s integrity. It is used in maintaining the underlying blockchain’s security and verifying transactions.
Cross-chain technology allows blockchains to share and access information and assets across different blockchains without intermediaries.
Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual form of currency that uses cryptography for security and operates independently of a centralized authority. Enabled by blockchain technology, it offers decentralized peer-to-peer transactions, making it resistant to government interference or regulation.
A crypto winter is a long period of time when crypto prices dramatically drop below their previous all-time high values.
Crypto custody involves safeguarding, storage, and management of digital assets on the behalf of individuals or institutions.
A decentralized application is a software program operating on a peer-to-peer network. It runs independently on the internet using smart contracts, outside the control of a single entity or authority.
A decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) is a community with no centralized authority, in which members collectively make decisions in a bottom-up manner regarding its governance and operation.
A decentralized exchange (DEX) is a peer-to-peer marketplace that allows users to directly trade with each other. It doesn’t need a custodian or intermediary to hold the users’ funds or facilitate transactions.
DeFi, short for “Decentralized Finance,” is a term that represents financial services using blockchain technology without traditional intermediaries, such as banks. It aims to democratize finance by enabling direct peer-to-peer transactions and providing access to financial services using smart contracts on platforms primarily like Ethereum.
In the crypto world, “degen” is a playful way to describe someone who takes big risks with their investments. It’s short for “degenerate.” If someone’s making bold moves in the market, they might be called a “degen.”
Delegated proof-of-stake is a consensus mechanism which allows users of a network to vote and elect delegates who will validate transactions on that network.
Derivatives are products or contracts that obtain their value from an underlying asset like stocks, bonds, commodities, or cryptocurrencies.
A digital signature is an encrypted, electronic imprint that authenticates digital information, software or messages. Like a handwritten signature, it verifies the identity and origin of data.
A distributed ledger is a record or database spread across a network that is accessible from several geographical locations.
Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA) is a strategy that involves investing a fixed amount in any asset like digital asset at regular intervals.
Double spending is a scenario where an individual manages or attempts to use the same units of a currency more than once for valid transactions.
DYOR (Do Your Own Research) is a common crypto slang referring to the idea that investors should conduct extensive research before investing in a project.
The ERC-1155 is a multi-token standard that allows for the creation of both fungible and non-fungible tokens within a single smart contract.
ERC-20 tokens is the technical standard for fungible digital tokens that run only on the Ethereum blockchain network. They are built on smart contracts that keep track of the tokens created on the Ethereum network.
ERC-721 is the token standard used on Ethereum to create non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Each token created using the ERC-721 standard is unique and not interchangeable.
Ethereum is a blockchain platform that enables developers to build and deploy decentralized applications using smart contracts. Introduced in 2015 by Vitalik Buterin, it also has its own cryptocurrency called Ether, which is used primarily for conducting transactions within the network.
Ethereum 2.0 is an ongoing series of network upgrades aimed at addressing scalability, security, and accessibility.
The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is a software framework on the Ethereum network that allows developers to execute smart contracts and create decentralized applications.
FOMO stands for the “fear of missing out,” which is the anxiety or fear traders experience when they think they are missing out on a profitable investment or trading opportunity.
The term “fiat” or “fiat currency” refers to a type of currency that is declared by governments as a country’s legal tender. Fiat currencies include the USD, Euro, Sterling Pound, and Chinese Yuan amongst others.
Flash loans allow you to borrow crypto assets without collateral or borrowing limits within the DeFi space. The lending condition is that you pay back the loan within the same blockchain transaction.
FUD stands for “Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.” It’s a term used when someone spreads negative or false info about a cryptocurrency to make others worried. If you hear someone talking about FUD, they’re likely discussing rumors or news that might be causing people to doubt or panic.
A full node is a component of a blockchain that stores and validates transactions. It is a computer program that ensures the security of a blockchain by enforcing consensus rules and transmitting data to other full nodes.
Fundamental analysis is a technique traders use to establish the underlying fundamental factors that affect an asset’s intrinsic value.
Crypto futures contracts are a derivative in which traders agree to either buy or sell an asset on a specific date at a predetermined price.
GameFi is a new gaming concept that blends blockchain technology, non-fungible tokens, and game mechanics to create a virtual environment where players can participate and earn rewards.
Gas is the measurement unit for the amount of computational power required to complete a transaction on the Ethereum network.
A gas fee is the amount you pay to complete a transaction on a blockchain.
A genesis block is the first ever block recorded on a blockchain. The block is also known as Block 0 or Block 1.
In Ethereum, Gwei serves as a standardized unit that quantifies transaction costs, gas fees, and computational resources for executing transactions.
Halving in crypto is an event that occurs in certain cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, to reduce the rate of issuance of new coins and limit the total supply.
A hard cap is the maximum number of tokens that a cryptocurrency project can ever produce.
A hard fork is a significant change that permanently splits a blockchain into two different networks when the nodes fail to reach a consensus.
A hash is a unique string of text created by mapping a piece of data through a mathematical function to encrypt and secure the data against alteration or unauthorized access. Hash can also be referred to as the digest, hash value, or hash code.
“HODL” refers to the strategy of holding onto one’s digital assets with a long-term perspective despite market fluctuations.
Hot storage, also known as a “hot wallet” is a crypto wallet that is connected to the internet, allowing users to manage their crypto assets online.
A hot wallet is a crypto wallet that secures crypto private keys within an interface that is connected to the internet.
The term “immutable” in the context of a blockchain implies that the data or ledger is permanent and tamper-proof, and its history cannot be modified or changed after its creation.
Impermanent loss is a risk that occurs when participating in DeFi liquidity pools. It happens when the price of your deposited assets change from the time you deposited them.
An Initial DEX Offering (IDO) allows blockchain projects to launch their unique coins or tokens directly on a decentralized platform, known as a DEX, as a means of crowdfunding.
Blockchain interoperability refers to the ability to share or see information across different blockchains. It allows blockchains to communicate, share data, and build on each other’s features and use cases.
An InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is a distributed, peer-to-peer system for sharing, storing and accessing files, digital data, applications, and websites.
A keylogger is a tool deployed by hackers to record keystrokes and access sensitive data from a victim’s computer. In the crypto industry, cybercriminals often use it as an instrument to steal important information.
Know Your Customer (KYC)
KYC or “Know Your Customer” is a procedure used within financial institutions to confirm their customers’ identities and prevent fraudulent activity.
Layer 1 is the foundational layer of a blockchain network that provides the underlying infrastructure to securely process and validate transactions.
A ledger is a digital or physical log that records transactions associated with a financial system. Blockchain networks are a type of decentralized ledger system designed to store data securely.
Leverage refers to when individuals use borrowed money or capital to amplify their buying or selling power in a market.
The Lightning Network is a second layer built on the Bitcoin blockchain designed to scale the blockchain’s capability and conduct transactions more efficiently.
Liquidation in crypto refers to the process of converting assets, typically leveraged positions or collateral, into cash to cover losses or repay borrowed funds when the market moves unfavorably.
A liquidity pool is a collection of digital assets or tokens supplied by platform users and locked in a smart contract to facilitate faster transactions.
A Mainnet is a blockchain that is independent, complete, and runs by itself, where all crypto transactions are broadcasted, verified, processed, and recorded on its distributed ledger.
Margin trading is the practice of trading with borrowed money to improve one’s trading position.
Market capitalization is a measure of the total value of a cryptocurrency. It is calculated by multiplying the current market price of a coin by its available supply.
A mempool is a node’s mechanism for tracking all the unconfirmed transactions.
Metadata is a basic summary about a larger set of data. Metadata helps users understand the nature and context of a larger set of data.
The metaverse is a virtual shared universe, combining augmented reality, virtual reality, and the internet, where users interact with digital environments and each other in real-time using avatars.
A miner is a participant in a cryptocurrency network responsible for generating new coins and verifying transactions.
Minting in the context of blockchain refers to the mechanism through which new coins or tokens are produced and introduced into circulation.
Money is a medium of exchange that allows people to buy and sell goods and services. It serves as a unit of account, a store of value, and a standard of deferred payment. Traditionally represented as coins and notes, money can also exist in digital forms. Throughout history, its form has evolved from commodities like salt and cattle to precious metals, banknotes, and electronic currency.
Multisignature or “multisig” transactions are a type of transaction that requires multiple signatures for a single transaction to be executed.
A node refers to a computer that participates in a blockchain network and is responsible for creating, receiving, and transmitting a message.
Non-Custodial wallets, also known as self-custodial wallets, are crypto wallets that give you complete control over your public and private keys, and subsequently full control over your crypto wallet and assets.
An NFT, or non-fungible token, is a digital asset that represents ownership of a unique item or asset including art, music, in-game items, and other forms of media.
A nonce is a variable input used by miners to find a valid hash for a block. It is an authentication model used to verify the validity of data in the blocks.
Off-chain transactions is a transfer of value or data, including transactions, that occurs outside a given blockchain network.
On-chain transactions are transactions that are recorded on the blockchain’s distributed ledger and are publicly accessible to anyone who has a copy of the blockchain’s ledger.
Open source is a principle between developers who believe in creating, sharing, and modifying data freely for public use. Transparency and free participation are often the goal.
Operation Choke Point was an initiative of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) that was announced in 2013. Its primary goal was to investigate U.S. banks and the business they did with firearm dealers, payday lenders, and other companies believed to be at a high risk for fraud and money laundering.
Operation Choke Point 2.0 refers to the perceived regulatory crackdown on the crypto industry in the U.S., with many viewing it as a significant challenge to the industry’s survival in the country.
Oracles are bridges that connect blockchains and smart contracts with external systems and off-chain data. They are third-party services that transmit information from external sources into smart contracts to help them execute based on predefined conditions.
Over-the-counter (OTC) trading refers to trading that is carried out through dealer networks rather than formal exchanges.
Paper trading is the practice of simulating trades in cryptocurrencies or other financial instruments, like stocks, without investing real money. Paper trading helps users practice trading strategies before investing with actual funds.
A permissioned blockchain is a distributed ledger with limited accessibility. Only certain authorized individuals can access it.
A Play to Earn (P2E) game is an online game that rewards the players for their active participation or in-game achievements such as completing tasks, clearing game levels, or winning player-versus-player (PvP) battles.
“Privacy coin” is a type of cryptocurrencies built on the principles of preserving privacy and enhancing data security. They are designed to conceal transactions and trader identities.
A private key is a string of characters that allows you to access and manage your digital assets. It is used to sign transactions and provide proof of ownership for the corresponding cryptocurrencies.
A public address is what allows individuals to request or receive cryptocurrency payments into their digital wallets.
A public key is a code of alphanumeric characters that users use to receive cryptocurrency in their wallets.
Rekt is crypto slang that means “to lose most or all of your funds due to a bad investment or trade.”
The relay chain acts as the central chain of data in the Polkadot network, a protocol that allows interoperability between different blockchain networks.
A rug pull is a type of crypto scam when founders of a project bring in investors to inflate the value of a project, but later pull their inflated funds and abandon the project, leaving victims with a worthless investment.
A seed phrase is a collection of randomly generated words that represent all private keys associated with a given crypto wallet; the phrase enables the contents of a crypto wallet to be restored, even if access to the wallet itself is lost.
Segregated Witness (Segwit)
Segregated Witness, or “SegWit” is an upgrade for the Bitcoin network designed to allow more transactions to fit within each block on the blockchain.
Self custody is when a user takes full control and responsibility of holding and managing their digital assets without relying on third-party intermediaries.
SHA 256 is an algorithm used in Proof-of-Work blockchains like Bitcoin to verify transactions.
A sidechain is a discrete blockchain that is connected to the main blockchain or mainnet through a 2-way bridge. Sidechains were created to solve transaction speed issues in blockchains by decongesting the mainnet.
Smart contracts are self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement directly written into code. They run on blockchain platforms, like Ethereum, and automatically enforce and execute the terms of a contract when certain conditions are met, eliminating the need for intermediaries and reducing risks of fraud.
A soft fork refers to a protocol change or modification on a blockchain’s software that invalidates transactions that were previously accepted, which requires miners to update their mining software for older nodes.
Solidity is a high-level, object-oriented programming language created for designing and implementing smart contracts.
A source code is a computer code or programming statements that define how a software functions based on specific instructions.
Stablecoins are a type of cryptocurrency that is pegged or tied to another asset, such as fiat currencies or gold.
Staking refers to when a blockchain user locks up their cryptocurrency to secure the network and earn rewards.
A testnet is like a practice version of the main blockchain network. It lets developers test new ideas and features without affecting the main network.
A ticker in crypto is a symbol with a unique combination of letters to help identify a particular cryptocurrency.
A timestamp is a digital record used in blockchain networks to track when information and data was exchanged, created, or removed.
Tokens are a type of digital asset that refers to a programmable unit of value or utility and can be used to represent ownership, access rights, or participate in decentralized applications.
Total value locked (TVL) is a metric that refers to the sum of assets that are staked or locked in a protocol.
Trading volume in crypto refers to the total amount of funds flowing in and out of a specific cryptocurrency or the crypto market over a given period.
A transaction ID (TXID) or transaction hash is a unique set of numbers given to every verified transaction on the blockchain.
Transactions Per Second (TPS) is the number of transactions that a network can process in a second. It is a measurement used to evaluate the transaction speed of a network.
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is a security measure that requires users to provide two distinct forms of identification before accessing an account. In addition to a password, users might enter a code sent to their phone or generated by an app, ensuring an extra layer of security against unauthorized access.
Unspent Transaction Output (UTXO) refers to the amount of a cryptocurrency that is leftover following a specific transaction.
A utility token, also known as a ‘user token’, serves a specific function that gives holders access to features of a decentralized application or ecosystem and forms the economy of that system. This could include a DEX, metaverse platform or blockchain based Web3 platform.
A blockchain validator is a computer or node that verifies transactions in the blockchain network.
Vesting is a process where a certain amount of a project’s overall token supply is set aside for a period of time and released after certain conditions are met.
A vesting period in crypto refers to a predetermined time frame during which certain tokens or assets are restricted and become accessible or transferable over time.
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a service that encrypts and routes internet traffic through remote servers, ensuring online privacy and anonymity by masking a user’s IP address and protecting data from potential eavesdroppers.
Volatility is a measure of how much an asset’s price fluctuates over time. It describes how much and how quickly a particular asset’s value can shift.
WAGMI stands for “We’re All Gonna Make It.” It’s a positive phrase people use in the crypto world to encourage each other, especially during uncertain times. Think of it as a way to say, “Don’t worry, we’ll get through this together!” But sometimes, people might use it in a joking or sarcastic way.
A wash trade is a kind of market manipulation where an individual simultaneously sells and repurchases the same assets, such as NFTs, cryptocurrencies or stocks. This deceptive practice is an attempt to influence the asset’s value or trading volume.
“Weak hands” is a negative term used to describe a trader with a low-risk tolerance or low confidence in a volatile asset that they’ve invested in.
Web3 refers to a new paradigm for applications on the internet. It represents the third era of the web. Unlike the previous web architectures, Web3 is built on blockchain technologies and principles, enabling decentralized and trustless peer-to-peer interactions.
A crypto whale is an individual or entity that holds a large proportion of a specific cryptocurrency’s token supply.
A crypto whitepaper is a detailed document released by cryptocurrency projects, outlining their technical and operational specifics, goals, and mechanisms. It serves as a blueprint for potential investors and participants to understand the project’s vision and how it functions.
Wrapped Ether (WETH) is an ERC-20 compatible token that is pegged to Ether at a 1:1 ratio.
A zero confirmation transaction is any transaction that has not been recorded or validated on a blockchain.
A Zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) is a type of secure verification that allows one party to prove the validity of something, without having to reveal any personal details, passwords, or statements. In the context of blockchain it is a cryptographic method that allows for the verification of a data without the need to reveal any of the underlying data.
A Zk-SNARK is a special mathematical technique that allows individuals to prove that something is true without revealing specific details about it.
In the context of blockchain, sharding refers to dividing the network into smaller partitions to improve accessibility, scalability, and process more transactions per second.
A 51% attack is a type of attack on a blockchain network, wherein a single person or a group of people try to gain control of a network, generally in order to commit malicious acts, such as double-spending.