Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Glossary of Terms

Listed below are some of the most popular terms and definitions for common cryptocurrency and blockchain technology phrases.  This is by no means comprehensive, but should give you all you need to know for basic research. You can use this glossary for basic definitions and the Bibliography, Links and Resources Page for further research.

This Glossary was written to support the Cryptocurrency and Blockchain awareness programme,
How to Crypto.

All Time High (ATH): An All-time-high price of a cryptocurrency.

Altcoins: Alternative cryptocurrencies to Bitcoin. Examples: Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, etc.

Bag Holder: An unfortunate investor still holding a cryptocurrency after the coin/token price has crashed.

Bearish: A feeling based on some factors that the price of crypto will decrease.

Block: A group of standardised bundled-up, linked transactions that are verified by miners.

Block Reward: It is a reward in the form of native cryptocurrency given to miners for solving a computationally difficult problem. Bitcoin miners now get 12.5 BTC for solving each problem for adding blocks to the blockchain.

Blockchain: A universal public ledger of coin transactions.

Bitcoin: When the B is capitalised, it represents the overarching concept of Bitcoin: The technology, the community, the protocol, and the software. When the b is not capitalised, it normally describes the unit of currency.

BTC: Common abbreviations for bitcoin. There is no difference between these two abbreviations.

Bullish: A feeling based on some factors that the price of crypto will increase.

Cold storage: Cryptocurrency storage offline.

Crypto currency coin:  A currency with its own blockchain such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum etc.

Crypto currency token: A cryptocurrency token uses someone else’s network.  For instance, Axie Infinity uses the Ethereum Network and ecosystem to operate.

Centralised Cryptocurrency Exchange: A website that helps one buy/sell cryptocurrencies.  Typical examples include Coinbase, Gemini, Huobi, Binance etc.

Cryptography: A branch of mathematics and computer science that supported the invention of cryptocurrencies.

Fiat: A regulated and centralised paper currency of a nation usually regulated by a Central Bank.

FOMO: Fear of missing out. The feeling you get when you want to get onboard a price rally.

FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt related to the market.

Genesis Block: The very first block created on a blockchain.

Halving: It is the 50% reduction in block reward after a certain number of blocks are mined. In Bitcoin, the halving happens after every 210,000 blocks are moned.

Hard Fork: A software update or an update on the blockchain protocol that is not backward compatible.

Hash: A digital fingerprint of a fixed size produced by using a complicated hashing algorithm.

Hash Rate: This is the total computational power being used by a proof-of-work cryptocurrency network to process transactions. A high hash rate is an indicator of a network’s security because it shows a large number of miners are verifying transactions.

HODL: It is a crypto investment colloquialism that means hold. It means to keep your cryptocurrency investment.  A hodler ignores outside sentiments as much as possible and resists the urge to buy or sell.

ICO: Initial Coin Offering of new crypto coins or tokens offered to the general public in return for their fixed priced investments. It is a new way of decentralised crowdfunding.

Layer 0, 1 & 2 coins: This refers to the hierarchical level of complexity of the token or coin.  Layer 0 is a cross functional system or service between blockchains (e.g. the internet), Layer 1 is a proprietary ecosystem designed for its own services and applications (e.g. bitcoin or Ethereum). Layer 2 (often called the application layer) is a functional service that sits on a Layer 1 (e.g. the Lightning Network is a Layer 2 solution that improved bitcoins speed of transaction and efficiency). 

Limit Order (Limit Buy/Limit Sell):  Buy/Sell orders placed by traders to buy or sell a crypto-currency when the price meets their target amount. 

Mining: The process of computer hardware doing mathematical calculations for the Bitcoin network to confirm transactions and increase security. Users who use their computers and/or rent resources for mining are called miners.

NFT: Non fungible Token: An item on the blockchain that is unique.  E.g. a piece of digital art, video or data.  Commonly, it could be a character or player item in a computer game.  It can be traded on exchanges in the same way as a cryptocurrency.

P2P: Peer to Peer or person to person.

Private Key: A private key is a secret, alphanumeric password/number used to spend/send your bitcoins to another Bitcoin address.

Proof Of Work: A decentralised consensus mechanism that uses calculates a Hash by spending computational power.

Proof Of Stake: A decentralised consensus mechanism in which your existing cryptocurrency stake is used to mine or forge blocks to reach the consensus.

Public Key/address: This is another alphanumeric address/number which is derived from private keys and is used to publicly receive cryptocurrencies (including bitcoin).

Pump & Dump: Very positive price action (Pump) then very negative price action (Dump).

Recovery phrase/seed keyword: Random 12, 18, 24 or more words that are used to derive numerous pairs of private and public keys. Using these seeds, you can restore your wallet to any other supported seed key wallet.

Satoshi: A Satoshi is the smallest unit of Bitcoin. It is named after Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin. Each BTC is divisible until the 1/10^8 part. A unit of Satoshi is equal to 0.00000001 bitcoin.

Soft Fork: A software update or an update on the blockchain protocol that is backward compatible.

Transaction fees: cryptocurrency transaction incentives that the miners receive for mining blocks or cryptocurrency on the respective blockchain. This is usually a small fee (except Ethereum fees) that the users pay to complete transactions.

Transaction ID: An alphanumeric string through which you can publicly see the transfer details (amount sent, sending/receiving coin address, as well as the date of transfer) on the blockchain.

Web3: An evolutionary period of the World Wide Web heralded with the advent of cryptocurrencies. Users of the internet can now not only read linked information on the web (Web1), write and interact with it (Web2) but they can also own and trade their personal data and funds (Web3). 

Whale: It refers to an entity or a person who holds an absurd amount of particular cryptocurrency and has the potential to manipulate the market.

Whitepaper: A report which articulates the problem and solution that the blockchain project/cryptocurrency is trying to solve.

You may also find the bibliography useful. I have linked various resources for you to continue your familiarisation with crypto and blockchain technology. How to Crypto Bibliography : CryptoNET: Bibliography, Recommended Reading & Resources.

Another useful crypto and blockchain glossary is: The Glossary


This article was put together by Tony Fawl of CryptoNET.

This page is part of the How to Crypto Web Series, an awareness course for beginners interested in blockchain projects and cryptocurrency investment. Please checkout the Bibliography and Glossary of Terms pages for other useful recourses and links. To find out what we do, checkout the About Us page.

Disclaimer: is not a registered investment, legal or tax advisor or a broker or dealer.  All investment/financial opinions expressed by are from the personal experiences of the owner of the website and are intended as educational and entertainment material. Best efforts are made to ensure that al information is accurate and up to date but we would still recommend that you do your own research before making investment decisions. 


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