51% Attack

If more than half the computer power on a network is run by a single person or a single group of people, then a 51% attack is in operation. This means this entity has full control of the network and can negatively affect a cryptocurrency by halting mining, stopping or changing transactions, and reusing coins.


A Satoshi

The smallest unit of bitcoin possible. There are 100 million satoshis in a single bitcoin.



Every cryptocurrency coin has a unique address that identifies where it sits on the blockchain. It’s this address, this location, at which the coin’s ownership data is stored and where any changes are registered when it is traded. These addresses differ in appearance between cryptocurrencies but are usually a string of more than 30 characters.



This is a marketing campaign that refers to the expedited distribution of a cryptocurrency through a population of people. It usually occurs when the creator of a cryptocurrency provides its coin to low-ranked traders or existing community members in order to build their use and popularity. They are usually given away for free or in exchange for simple tasks like sharing news of the coin with friends.



Mathematic instructions coded into and implemented by computer software in order to produce a desired outcome.


All Time High

The highest price ever achieved by a cryptocurrency.


All Time Low

The lowest price ever achieved by a cryptocurrency.



Bitcoin was the first and is the most successful of all the cryptocurrencies. All the other coins are grouped together under the category of altcoins. Ethereum, for example, is an altcoin, as is Ripple.


Angel Investor

A wealthy individual who provides startup businesses with capital in exchange for debt or equity in the business.


Anti-Money Laundering

These are a set of international laws that hope to prevent criminal organizations or individuals from laundering money through cryptocurrencies into real-world cash.


Application Specific Integrated Circuit

A piece of computer hardware – similar to a graphics card or a CPU – that has been designed specifically to mine cryptocurrency. They are built specifically to solve hashing problems efficiently.



There are multiple exchanges at any given time trading in the same cryptocurrency, and they can do so at different rates. Arbitrage is the act of buying from one exchange and then selling it to the next exchange if there is a margin between the two that is profitable.


Atomic Swap

A way of letting people directly and cost-effectively exchange one type of cryptocurrency for another, at current rates, without needing to buy or sell.



If you have a large quantity of units in a certain cryptocurrency, you’d have a bag of them.



Base58 encodes binary data into text and is used to encode Bitcoin addresses. Created by Satoshi Nakamoto, its alphanumeric characters exclude "0", "O", "I", “l" since they are hard to distinguish. Addresses are written in Base58.



A variant of Base58 used to detect typing errors in bitcoin addresses.


Bear Trap

This is a trick played by a group of traders aimed at manipulating the price of a cryptocurrency. The bear trap is set by this group all selling their cryptocurrency at the same time, which bluffs the market into thinking there is a drop incoming. As a result, other traders sell their assets, further driving the price down. Those who set the trap then release it, buying back their assets, which are now at a lower price. The overall price then rebounds, allowing them to make a profit.



If the price of a cryptocurrency has a negative price movement.



The very first cryptocurrency. It was created in 2008 by an individual or group of individuals operating under the name Satoshi Nakamoto. It was intended to be a peer-to-peer, decentralized electronic cash system.


Bitcoin Network

The decentralised, peer-to-peer network which maintains the blockchain. This is what processes all Bitcoin transactions.


Bitcoin Protocol

The open source, cryptographic protocol which operates on the Bitcoin network, setting the “rules” for how the network runs.



Blocks are packages of data that carry permanently recorded data on the blockchain network.


Block Explorer

An online tool for exploring the blockchain of a cryptocurrency, where you can watch and follow, live, all the transactions happening on the blockchain. Block explorers can serve as blockchain analysis and provide information such as total network hash rate, coin supply, transaction growth, etc.


Block Halving

The halving of the bitcoin reward that miners receive for mining a block. This takes place approximately every 4 years (every 210,000 block to be precise)


Block Header

Contains information about a block, such as the hash of the previous block header, its version number, the current target, a timestamp, and a nonce.


Block Height

Refers to the number of blocks connected in the blockchain. For example, Height 0 would be the very first block, which is also called the genesis block.


Block Reward

A form of incentive for the miner who successfully calculates the hash (verification) in a block. Verification of transactions on the blockchain generates new coins in the process, and the miner is rewarded with a portion of these.



A blockchain is a shared ledger where transactions are permanently recorded by appending blocks. The blockchain serves as a historical record of all transactions that ever occurred, from the genesis block to the latest block, hence the name blockchain.


Bot Trading

Software programs that operate on trading platforms, executing buy and sell orders with pre-programmed trading instructions.


Brain Wallet

A bitcoin wallet which uses a long string of words to secure its coins. This “passphrase” can be memorised, allowing the wallet owner to spend bitcoins by simply remembering the passphrase.



If the price of a cryptocurrency has a positive price movement.



If a coin in any particular cryptocurrency has been made unspendable, it is said to be burned.


Buy the F$%king Dip

A less-than-savory phrase used when you’re (enthusiastically) telling someone a currency has dipped to a low value and should be bought.


Buy Wall

When a large limit order has been placed to buy when a cryptocurrency reaches a certain value, then that is a buy wall. This can prevent a cryptocurrency from falling below that value, as demand will likely outstrip supply when the order is executed.


Capital Controls

These are local measures such as transaction taxes, limits, or prohibitions that a government can use to regulate flows from capital markets into and out of the country.


Central Ledger

When a single entity has control of all financial records, it is considered to be a central ledger. This is how banks operate.


Chain Linking

Each cryptocurrency has its own blockchain – the digital ledger that stores all transaction records. Chain linking is the process that occurs if you transfer one cryptocurrency to another. This requires the transaction to be lodged in two separate blockchains, so they must link together to achieve the goal.



Let’s say you are spending $1.90 in your local supermarket, and you give the cashier $2.00. You will get back .10 cents in change. The same logic applies to bitcoin transactions. Bitcoin transactions are made up of inputs and outputs. When you send bitcoins, you can only send them in a whole “output.” The change is then sent back to the sender.



The name given to the algorithm that encrypts and decrypts information.


Circulating Supply

The total number of coins in a cryptocurrency that are in the publicly tradable space is considered the circulating supply. Some coins can be locked, reserved or burned, therefore unavailable to public trading.


Coin age

A measure of how long a coin or group of coins from a transaction have remained unspent. It can be determined by multiplying currency amount by holding period.


Cold Storage

Another term used for a paper wallet (see below).


Coloured Coins

The coloured coins protocol is an project built on top of the blockchain. It aims to facilitate the trading of assets beyond bitcoin such as financial instruments, gold, or property using Bitcoin’s underlying payment infrastructure.



A confirmation means that the bitcoin transaction has been verified by the network, through the process known as mining. Once a transaction is confirmed, it cannot be reversed or double spent. Transactions are included in blocks.



When a transaction has been confirmed, it means it has been approved by the network and permanently appended to the blockchain.



When a transaction is made, all nodes on the network verify that it is valid on the blockchain, and if so, they have a consensus.


Consensus Process

Refers to those nodes that are responsible for maintaining the blockchain ledger so that a consensus can be reached when a transaction is made.


Consortium blockchain

A privately owned and operated, yet publicly transparent, blockchain.



The act of imitating something in order to commit fraudulent behaviour. An example of this is shopping with fake money.



The pooling of resources such as information or money contributed by the general population, to a goal. This is usually done online via websites where people can donate.



A form of money that exists as encrypted, digital information. Operating independently of any banks, a cryptocurrency uses sophisticated mathematics to regulate the creation and transfer of funds between entities.


Cryptographic Hash Function

This process happens on a node and involves converting an input – such as a transaction – into a fixed, encrypted alphanumeric string that registers its place in the blockchain. This conversion is controlled by a hashing algorithm, which is different for each cryptocurrency.



The process of encrypting and decrypting information.



Shorthand for “decentralized application”



Darksend is Darkcoin’s decentralized mixing implementation, which was designed to give users of Darkcoin greater transactional privacy/anonymity.


DDos Attack

An attack on a server or network intended to suspend or interrupt the services it provides. Stands for “distributed denial of service” attack. This is done by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources.


Decentralized Application

A computer program that utilizes a blockchain for data storage, runs autonomously, is not controlled or operated from a single entity, is open source and has its use incentivized by the reward of fees or tokens.


Decentralized Autonomous Organization

Refers to organizations that are run by an application (computer program) rather than direct human input. Control of this application is granted to everyone rather than a single central entity.



Turning encrypted cipher text back into plain text.



The content online not indexed by search engines making it difficult to access. The majority of content on the internet resides on the deepweb and can be accessed using a program called TOR. This is also where illegal sites such as Silk Road exist.



When the demand for a particular cryptocurrency decreases, bringing down the price of its economy.



Certain currencies penalise users for hoarding, this is done via demurrage, where a fee is charged for holding unspent coins. This fee increases as time passes.


Depth Chart

This graph plots the requests to buy (known as bids) and the requests to sell (known as asks) on a chart. Because you can put a limit order on your buy or sell transaction, the depth chart shows the crossover point at which the market is most likely to accept a transaction in a timely fashion. It also shows if there are any significant buy walls or sell walls in play.


Desktop Wallet

A wallet that stores the private keys on your computer, which allow the spending and management of your bitcoins.


Deterministic Wallet

This type of wallet is created by producing multiple keys from a seed. If you lose this wallet, your wallet key can be recovered from the seed. Plus, when you make transactions, instead of producing new keys each time, you use variations from the seed, which makes it more transferable and easier to store.



When someone refers to difficulty in the cryptocurrency space, they are referring to the cost of mining in that moment in time. The more transactions that are trying to be confirmed at any single moment in time, divided by the total power of the nodes on the network at that time, defines the difficulty. The higher the difficulty, the greater the transaction fee – this is a fluid measurement that moves over time.



This refers to how easily a data block of transaction information can be mined successfully.


Digital Commodity

An intangible, hard-to-get asset that is transferred electronically and has a certain value.


Digital Currency

Another term for digital commodity


Digital Signature

Used to confirm that a document being transmitted electronically is authentic. They generally appear as a code generated by a public key encryption.


Distributed consensus

Collective agreement by various computers in a network and allows it to work in a decentralized, P2P manner without the need of central authority to deter dishonest network participants.


Distributed Ledger

A ledger that is stored in multiple locations so that any entries can be accessed and checked by multiple parties. In cryptocurrency, this refers to the blockchain being held on multiple nodes on the network, all of which are checked simultaneously.


Distributed Network

A type of network where processing power and data are spread over the nodes rather than having a centralised data centre.


Double Spend

This occurs when someone tries to send a cryptocurrency to two different wallets or locations at the same time.


Double spend

The spending of a single token (a bitcoin for example) twice in order to fraudulently get goods or services without paying for them. This is possible because digital information can be replicated easily and sent to multiple parties.



The term used to describe selling all (or a lot) of your cryptocurrency.



When a lot of people dump at once, causing a sharp downward movement in a cryptocurrency’s price.


Dust Transaction

Sometimes people will look to slow the network by deliberately flooding it with minor transactions that are incredibly small. These minuscule amounts are referred to as a dust transaction.



Converting plain text into unintelligible text with the use of a cipher.



When an intermediary is used to hold funds during a transaction, those funds are being held in escrow. This is usually a third party between the entity sending and the one receiving.



One of the top three cryptocurrencies in the world based on its market capitalization. Despite being open source and based on blockchain technology, it differs from bitcoin in two key ways: it allows developers to create dApps and also write smart contracts.


Ethereum Classic (ETC)

 A type of cryptocurrency that is a continuation of the original Ethereum blockchain following the DAO attack in June 2016. Ethereum is essentially a hard fork of the blockchain that was formed to refund the money that was siphoned during the attack (around $50 million). Ethereum Classic assumes no hard fork occurred and is supported by those who believe in complete immutability of the blockchain. For more information, visit the website for Ethereum Classic.


Ethereum Virtual Machine

A virtual machine, effectively sitting in the cloud, that is Turing complete and is used by all nodes on the network during blockchain confirmations. It allows those on the node to execute random EVM Byte Code, which is part of the Ethereum Protocol.



The platform through which cryptocurrencies are exchanged with each other, with fiat currencies and between entities. Exchanges can vary widely in the currency conversions they enable and their fee structures.



If you find a website that offers to give you free cryptocurrency for connecting with them, it is termed a faucet. The majority of these are scams.



Refers to money recognized as legal tender by governments, such as the US dollar, British pound, Euro and Australian dollar.


Fiat money

Refers to currencies that have minimal or no intrinsic value themselves (i.e. they are not backed by commodities like gold or silver) but are defined as legal tender by the government, such as paper bills and coins.



Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. A bureau of the United States Treasury Department dedicated to combating financial crime, money laundering and maintaining national security.



A type of investment strategy (popular in real estate investing) where you buy something with the goal of reselling for a profit later, usually in a short period of time. In the context of ICOs, flipping refers to the strategy of investing in tokens before they are listed on the exchanges and reselling them for a profit when they are trading in the secondary market.



When a new version of a blockchain is created, resulting in two versions of the blockchain running side-by-side, it is termed a fork. As a single blockchain forks into two, they will both run on the same network. Forks are categorized into two categories: soft or hard.



If there is no transaction cost and no restraints on trading, then the system is considered frictionless.


Full Node

Some nodes download a blockchain’s entire history in order to enforce its rules completely. As they fully enforce the rules, they are considered a full node.


Fundamental Analysis

A method through which you can attach value to a coin by looking at similar economic and financial factors and researching the underlying motives of the creators and market opinion.


Futures Contract

This is a pre-approved contract between two entities to fulfill a transaction when the value of cryptocurrency hits a certain price. It’s different than a limit order in that the buyer and seller are already nominated and bound. A future contract becomes relevant when a buyer wants to go short and a seller wants to go long on the asset.



Gas a is measurement given to an operation in the Ethereum network that relates to the computational power required to complete it. That measurement relates to the fee offered to miners who process that transaction. Other operations have a small cost of 3 to 10 gas, but a full transaction costs 21,000 gas.


Gas Limit

When users make a transaction on the Ethereum network, they set their gas limit, which is the most they are willing to pay as a fee for that transaction. If the transaction is going to cost more gas than what is offered, the transaction will not go through. If it costs less, the difference will be refunded.


Gas Price

The amount you are willing to pay for a transaction on the Ethereum network. If you want miners to process your transaction fast, then you should offer a higher price. Gas prices are usually denominated in Gwei.


Genesis Block

The first or first few blocks of a blockchain.


Group Mining

Another term used to describe a mining pool (see below).



The denomination used in defining the cost of gas. Set a gas price of 20,000 Gwei, for example.



Every time miners approve transactions on the bitcoin blockchain, they earn bitcoin. As each block on the blockchain fills up with transactions, a certain amount of bitcoin enter the marketplace. However, the number of bitcoin that will ever be created is finite, locked at 21 million. In order to ensure this cap is kept, the amount of bitcoin earned by miners for filling one block is halved at the completion of that block. This is called halving. For the record, by the year 2140, all 21 million bitcoin will be in circulation.


Hard Cap

During an ICO, the creator can set a hard cap. This is the maximum amount it planned to raise, and it will therefore stop offering coins at this figure.


Hard Fork

A fork in the blockchain that converts transactions previously labeled invalid to valid, and vice versa. For this fork to work, all nodes on the network must upgrade to the newest protocol.


Hardware Wallet

A physical device, similar to a USB stick, that stores cryptocurrency in its encrypted form. It’s considered the most secure way to hold cryptocurrency.



The shorthand for cryptographic hash function (see description above).


Hash function

A hash function takes an arbitrary input such as a string of integers (a key) and outputs a value of a pre specified length (a hash). Bitcoin uses a cryptographic hash function to secure the network.


Hash Rate

Measurement of performance that reveals how many hashes per second your computer is capable of producing. Each hash is an attempt to find a block by creating a unique block candidate and testing it against the network.


Hashing Power

The hash rate of a computer, measured in kH/s, MH/s, GH/s, TH/s, PH/s or EH/s depending on the hashes per second being produced. 1,000 kH/s = 1 MH/s, 1,000 MH/s = 1 GH/s and so forth.


Hot Wallet

A bitcoin wallet that has an active connection to the internet. These are used for “everyday” transactions and should never hold large amounts of bitcoin, since their connectivity reduces their security.


Hybrid PoS/PoW

A hybrid PoS/PoW allows for both Proof of Stake and Proof of Work as consensus distribution algorithms on the network. In this method, a balance between miners and voters (holders) may be achieved, creating a system of community-based governance by both insiders (holders) and outsiders (miners).


Initial Coin Offering

In order to raise funds, the creator of a cryptocurrency will put an initial batch of its coins up for purchase. This is an initial coin offering.


Initial coin offering (ICO)

 An unregulated means by which a cryptocurrency venture, typically early stage, can raise money from supporters by issuing tokens. It is often referred to as a crowdsale as ICO participants may potentially earn a return on their investments (as opposed to crowdfunding, where supporters donate money to a project or cause). Ethereum is currently the most popular platform for launching ICOs.



Refers to the cryptocurrency and the name of an open source distributed ledger founded in 2015 that does not use blockchain (it uses a new distributed ledger called the Tangle). 


Kimoto Gravity Well

A mining difficulty readjustment algorithm, which was created in 2013 for Megacoin, an altcoin. The well allows difficulty readjustment to occur every block, instead of every 2016 blocks for Bitcoin. This was done as a response to concern about multi pool mining schemes.



Shorthand for Lamborghini, which is how someone might refer to themselves if they are getting rich quickly. The idea being there is so much money coming in that they are going to go buy an exotic car.



A record of financial transactions. A ledger cannot be changed, it can only be appended with new transactions.



A loan of sorts offered by a broker on an exchange during margin trading (see below).


Lightning Network

A peer-to-peer system for cryptocurrency micropayments that is focused on low latency, instant payments. They’re typically low cost, scalable and can work across chains, and transactions can be public or private.


Limit Order/Limit Buy/Limit Sell

If you set a rule whereby a cryptocurrency is sold or bought when at a certain price, you are setting a limit order. When traders place an order for a buy or sell, the system looks for these limit orders.



The liquidity of a cryptocurrency is defined by how easily it can be bought and sold without impacting the overall market price.


Liquidity Swap

As a financial instrument on cryptocurrency exchanges, liquidity swaps are contracts where investors offer loans to others to trade with in exchange for a set return.


Litecoin (LTC)

A type of cryptocurrency that was created by former Google employee Charlie Lee in 2011. It offers features such as Segregated Witness and the Lightning Network which allows for faster processing at lower cost. For more information.



If a transaction request comes with a rule delaying when it can be processed to a certain time or certain block on the blockchain, that is referred to as the locktime.



When you intend to take a large amount of cryptocurrency and stockpile it with the anticipation that it will grow in value, you are going long (or taking a long position).


Margin Bear Position

This is the position you are taking if you are going “short”.


Margin Bull Position

This is the position you are taking if you are going “long”.


Margin Trading

The trading of assets or securities bought with borrowed money. A trader usually contributes an initial amount which is then used as collateral for their debt.


Margin Trading

A risky strategy used by experienced traders where they risk their existing coins to magnify the intensity of their trades. This allows them to buy more than they can afford using leverage provided by an exchange.


Market Capitalization

This is defined as the total number of coins in supply multiplied by the price. Cap = supply x price.


Market capitalization (market cap)

The market value of a company, market or sector at a point in time commonly used to rank relative size. In equities, it refers to the total market value of a company's outstanding shares. In cryptocurrency investing, it refers to either price multiplied by the circulating supply (i.e. free float market cap) or price multiplied by the total supply (i.e. fully diluted market cap).


Market Order

As opposed to a limit order, a market order does not wait until a certain price to buy or sell; it trades wherever the price is at the time the transaction order is made.


Maximum supply

An approximation of the maximum number of coins or tokens that will ever exist for a cryptocurrency or crypto asset. See also: circulating supply and total supply.


Merged Mining

This allows a miner to work on multiple blockchains simultaneously, contributing to the hash rate (and thus security) of both currencies being mined. E.g. Namecoin has implemented merged mining with Bitcoin.



A financial transaction involving small to tiny sums of money. Traditionally amounts under a dollar have been impractical due to transaction fees, however, cryptocurrencies have potential to change this.



A computer participating in any cryptocurrency network performing proof of work. This is usually done to receive block rewards.



The term, somewhat confusingly, given to the process of verifying transactions on a blockchain. In the process of solving the encryption challenges, the person donating the computer power is granted new fractions of the cryptocurrency.


Mining Algorithm

The algorithm used by a cryptocurrency to sign transactions, these vary across different cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin’s mining algorithm is SHA256, whilst Litecoin & Dogecoin’s are Scrypt.


Mining Contract

An investment in mining hardware whereby you rent out the hashing power of mining hardware for a certain amount of time. The renter does not pay for the hardware or the maintenance and electricity required to run it.


Mining Pool

If a number of miners combine their computing power together to try and help complete the transactions required to start a new block in the blockchain, they are in a mining pool. The rewards are spread proportionately between those in the mining pool based on the amount of power they contributed. The idea is that being in a mining pool allows for better chances of successful hashing and therefore getting enough cryptocurrency reward to produce an income.


Mining Pool

A group of miners who have decided to combine their computing power for mining. This allows rewards to be distributed more consistently between participants in the pool.



The process of rewarding users in proof of stake coins. New coins are minted as the reward for verifying transactions in a block.


Mobile Wallet

A wallet which runs a “mobile client”, allowing people to have bitcoin wallets on their phones and tablet computers and pay on the go.


Monero (XMR)

A type of cryptocurrency created in 2014 that is focused on privacy and scalability, and runs on platforms like Windows, Mac, Linux and Android. Transactions on Monero are designed to be untraceable to any particular user or real world identity. For more information, please visit the Monero website.


Money Laundering

The act of trying to “clean” money earned from criminal activity by converting these profits to what appear to be legitimate assets.


Money Services Business

A legal term used to represent an entity that transfers or converts money.



A term used to describe a major price movement upwards. For example, Ripple is mooning.


Moving Average Convergence Divergence

A part of the technical analysis of a cryptocurrency’s value, this tracks the momentum of price change to try and forecast into the future.


Multipool Mining

If a miner moves from one cryptocurrency blockchain to another depending on the profitability provided by the network at that moment in time, they are engaging in multipool mining.


Multi-Signature (Multi-Sig) Wallets

If, in order for a transaction to go through, more than one user needs to provide their unique code, then it is multi-signature. This system is set up at the creation of the account and is considered less susceptible to theft.



An altcoin which implemented a distributed DNS (domain name system)  amongst other features. This distributed DNS helps people using the .bit domain to resist internet censorship. Can also be used to refer to the unit of currency NMC.



a platform for management of a variety of assets, including currencies, supply chains, ownership records, etc. It offers additional features to blockchain technology such as multi-signature accounts, encrypted messaging, etc.



A network refers to all the nodes committed to helping the operation of a blockchain at any given moment in time.



Any computer that is connected to a blockchain’s network is referred to as a node.



When a miner hashes a transaction, a random number is generated, called a nonce. The parameters from which that number is chosen change based on the difficulty of the transaction.


Off Blockchain Transactions

Exchanges of value which occur off the blockchain between trusted parties. These occur because they are quicker and do not bloat the blockchain.


One Cancels the Other Order

When two orders for cryptocurrency are placed simultaneously with a rule in place whereby if one is accepted, the other is cancelled.


Open Source

The practice of sharing the source code for a piece of computer software, allowing it to be distributed and altered by anyone.



The smart contracts stored on a blockchain are stuck within the network. They can only be reached by the external world through a program called an oracle. The oracle sends the data to and from the smart contract and the outside world as required. Oracles are most commonly found on the Ethereum network.


Orphaned Block

A valid block which is discarded by the network after the blockchain has “forked” and then re-achieved consensus on a single blockchain again. This usually happens after two miners simultaneously solve a block, temporarily resulting in two valid blocks in the blockchain.


OTC exchange

Stands for “Over the Counter”. These exchanges are places where trading is done directly between the two parties involved in the transaction, allowing traders to escape some of the limitations set by trading on formalised exchanges.



If a large number of purchases have been made on a cryptocurrency, its price will increase for an extended period of time. At this juncture, it is considered overbought and a period of selling is expected.



If a cryptocurrency has spent significant time being sold without an upward movement, it is considered oversold. In this condition, there would be concerns about whether it will bounce back.


Paper Wallet

Storing your wallet code (your private key) on a physical document makes it a paper wallet. It’s also sometimes referred to as cold storage.


Peer to Peer

In a peer-to-peer connection, two or more computers network with each other without a centralized third party being used as an intermediary.



The first cryptocurrency to implement “Proof Of Stake” alongside Proof Of Work.



As part of bitcoin mining, mining “pools” are a network of miners that work together to mine a block, then split the block reward among the pool miners. Mining pools are a good way for miners to combine their resources to increase the probability of mining a block, and also contribute to the overall health and decentralization of the bitcoin network.



A period before an ICO goes public when private investors or community members are able to buy the cryptocurrency.


Price Bubble

An economic cycle in which the price of a security or asset will surge unsustainably, and then crash as a selloff occurs. This is usually caused by speculation, and has been observable in bitcoin’s past prices. When done deliberately, this is known as a “Pump and Dump”


Private Key

A string of numbers and letters that are used to access your wallet. While your wallet is represented by a public key, the private key is the password you should protect (with your life). You need your private key when selling or withdrawing cryptocurrencies, as it acts as your digital signature.


Proof of Authority (PoA)

A private key that gives the holder the right to create the blocks in a private blockchain. It can be held by a single entity or a set number of entities. This is an alternative to the proof-of-work model, as instead of getting multiple random nodes to approve a transaction, a group of specific nodes are given the authority to approve. This is a far faster method.


Proof of Burn

This is a method of “burning” one Proof of Work cryptocurrency in order to receive a different cryptocurrency. This is a form of “bootstrapping” one cryptocurrency off another, and is done by sending coins to a verifiable unspendable address.


Proof of Existence

A service provided through the blockchain that allows anyone to anonymously and securely store a proof of existence for any document they choose online. This allows people to prove that a document existed at a certain point in time and demonstrate their ownership of it, without fear of that proof being taken from them.


Proof of Stake (PoS)

Another alternative to proof of work, this caps the reward given to miners for providing their computational power to the network at that miner’s investment in the cryptocurrency. So if a miner holds three coins, they can only earn three coins. The system encourages miners to stick with a certain blockchain rather than converting their rewards to an alternate cryptocurrency.


Proof of Work (PoW)

In order to receive a reward for mining a cryptocurrency, miners must show that their computers contributed effort to approve a transaction. A variable is added to the process of hashing a transaction that demands that effort before a block can be successfully hashed. Having a hashed block proves the miner did work and deserves a reward – hence proof of work.



The set of rules that defines how data is exchanged across a network.


Public Address

A public address is the cryptographic hash of a public key. They act as email addresses that can be published anywhere, unlike private keys.


Public Address

A public bitcoin address is cryptographic hash of a public key. A public address typically starts with the number “1.” Think of a public address like an email address. It can be published anywhere and bitcoins can be sent to it, just like an email can be sent to an email address. Learn how to receive bitcoin in your bitcoin wallet here.


Public blockchain

A blockchain that can be accessed by anyone through a full node on their computer.


Public Key

This is your unique wallet address, which appears as a long string of numbers and letters. It is used to receive cryptocurrencies.



This is a term used to refer to an upward price movement, usually driven by whales investing large sums of money in a cryptocurrency.


Pump and Dump

The frowned-upon practice of buying a lot of one cryptocurrency to drive up its price and encourage others to invest, then selling the lot when there is a suitable margin.


Quantitative easing

A form of monetary policy where a Central Bank purchases government securities with cash which did not exist before, in order to increase the money supply and lower interest rates.


Relative Strength Index

A type of technical analysis whereby you determine the momentum of price change over time. It looks at recent changes in price exponentially, with the most recent changes given more weight than older ones. This produces an overall trend of movement for a cryptocurrency that can determine if the market is overbought (a reading higher than 70) or oversold (a reading lower than 30).


Ring Signature

A ring signature is a type of encryption process that retains anonymity for the user. The concept gives the network of nodes the power to approve a transaction on a blockchain without identifying which of the nodes requested the transaction. As a result, it cannot be traced.


Ripple (XRP)

Refers to the cryptocurrency and the name of an open source payment platform where the cryptocurrency (Ripple or XRP) can be transferred. The vision for the platform is to enable real-time global payments anywhere around the world. The Ripple payment protocol was built by OpenCoin which was founded in 2012. For more information, visit Ripple's official website.


Satoshi Nakamoto

The individual, or group of individuals – it has never been confirmed – who created bitcoin.



Coins created as get rich quick schemes by their developers. These coins usually have certain properties, such as being clones of an existing coin and being pre-mined.



An algorithm that encrypts a key in such a fashion that it takes a serious amount of RAM to hash it. The system makes it challenging to attack for hackers. Despite its spelling, Scrypt is pronounced “ess-crypt”.



The origin point from which you created your wallet ID. Usually, a seed is a phrase or a series of words that can be used to regenerate your wallet ID if you lose it. Something to keep very secret.


Segregated Witness

The processes of separating digital signature data from transaction data. This lets more transactions fit onto one block in the blockchain, improving transaction speeds.


Self executing contract

Also known as “smart contracts” these are protocols that facilitate or enforce the obligations of a contract without the need for human intervention.


Selfish Mining

If a miner finds or creates a new block in the blockchain and then doesn’t share that information with the network, he or she is partaking in selfish mining. This is because other miners are now burning their computational power on an old block, allowing the selfish miner to get a head start on the new block.


Sell Wall

When a large limit order has been placed to sell when a cryptocurrency reaches a certain value, that is a sell wall. This can prevent a cryptocurrency from rising above that value, as supply will likely outstrip demand when the order is executed.



Sharding is a way of splitting up the full blockchain history so each full node doesn’t need the whole copy of it. It’s considered a scaling solution for blockchains because as they grow larger, it begins to slow the network performance if every node is required to carry the full blockchain.



Also known as short selling, this is a concept whereby traders sell an asset they don’t have. The hope is that they can then buy the asset at a lower price than which they sold it to complete the deal. Thereby they earn a margin in the interim.



The combination of private and public keys in a hash, this proves ownership of Bitcoin in a wallet and authorises the transaction.


Silk Road

The online marketplace where drugs and other illicit items could be traded for Bitcoin. Accessible through “TOR”, Silk Road was shut down in October 2013 by the FBI.


Smart Contracts

When a contract is written in computer code, as opposed to traditional legal language, it is deemed a smart contract. This programmed contract is set up to execute and carry itself out automatically under specified conditions. When a smart contract is on the blockchain, both parties can check its programming before agreeing to it, and then let it do its thing, confident that it cannot be tampered with or changed. It lets two parties agree to complex terms without needing to trust each other and without needing to involve any third parties. This function