Crypto Glossary - A to Z of cryptocurrency

Crypto Words

Altcoin

An alternative coin, or altcoin, is a work to describe any currency that is not Bitcoin.

Not to be confused with a fork, an altcoin operates on a completely separate network. Some popular altcoins include Ethereum and Litecoin. You can read more about altcoins here.

Bearish

Thought to describe the way a bear attacks by bringing its paws down, bearish refers to the price decreasing.

Bitcoin (BTC)

A digital currency that was first proposed by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. Today, Bitcoin is the most traded cryptocurrency. You can learn more about Bitcoin here.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH)

A hard fork within the Bitcoin blockchain that created the new cryptocurrency, Bitcoin Cash. This currency increases the size of blocks, in order to process more transactions.

Bitcoin Core (BTC or XBT)

A software program that ensures users only process valid transactions on the blockchain. On the other hand, Bitcoin Core is sometimes used to describe Bitcoin as opposed to Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

Bit Gold

A precursor to Bitcoin created by Nick Szabo.

Blockchain

The underlying system which Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are built upon. With the launch of Ethereum, blockchain is increasingly becoming a technology that is applied to improve existing business models. You can learn more about blockchain here.

Bullish

Thought to describe the way a bull attacks by pushing its horns up, bullish refers to the price increasing.

Candlestick chart

A popular financial chart used for cryptocurrency where each rectangular ‘candle’ represents one day of trading.

Cold Storage

A completely offline way to store your cryptocurrency that can come in the form of a hardware wallet, paper wallet or a computer disconnected from the internet.

Cryptocurrency

With cryptography the art of writing or solving codes, cryptocurrency refers to currencies that are based on computer codes. You can read more about cryptocurrency here.

DApps

Decentralised applications, or DApps, are the foundation upon which currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are built. They are open-source, decentralised, have an inbuilt consensus mechanism and offer some form of incentive to self-sustain. You can read more about Dapps here.

Double Spending

Double spending is the process where digital currencies are fraudulently spent more than once. This is one of the key issues that Satoshi Nakamoto sought to address through their introduction of Bitcoin.

Decentralisation

The process of removing the authority of a third-party or central power, like a bank. This is the theory that underpins Bitcoin and the entire blockchain network.

Desktop wallet

Downloadable on your laptop or desktop, these wallets store your cryptocurrency directly on your computer. These wallets are ideal for storing small amounts of cryptocurrency. A popular and safe desktop wallet is Exodus. 

Ethereum (ETH)

Created by Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum is one of the largest altcoins. Running on a completely separate blockchain to Bitcoin, Ethereum is a not only a currency but network that hosts a wide range of decentralised applications known as dApps.

Fiat Currency

This refers to a currency that is controlled and authorised by a government. Including AUD, USD or GBP, fiat currency works on the centralised model that cryptocurrency sought to change.

Forks

A fork is an event in the blockchain that causes it to split into two separate chains. Including hard forks and soft forks, this event occurs when there is a split in consensus or change to the protocol rules within the network. You can read more about forks here.

Genesis Block

The very first block mined on the Bitcoin blockchain. The block was mined on 3rd January 2009, likely by Satoshi themselves, and included a reward of 50 bitcoins.

Hard Fork

An upgrade to the software that requires all users to upgrade in order to continue validating and verifying transactions. Recently, this saw the creation of Bitcoin Cash when the blockchain was split in two in 2017.

See: Fork, Soft Fork.

Hardware Wallet

An offline way to store cryptocurrency. This is the most secure way to store your digital currency. Popular hardware wallets include Trezor and Ledger.

See: Cold Storage.

Hot Storage

An online way to store your digital currency. This can include storage on a mobile wallet or a desktop wallet.

ICOs

Often used by start-ups, an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is a way that companies can fundraise through cryptocurrency.

Incentive

The process where miners are rewarded with cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, when they validate or process transaction within the blockchain. This process replaces the role of a mint by allowing the currency to circulate and is essential to upholding the network.

Keys – Public & Private

A password that keeps your wallet safe from being accessed by other people or hackers.

Litecoin (LTC)

Created in October 2011, Litecoin is an altcoin of Bitcoin created by Charlie Lee. Litecoin was created in order to address some key issues associated with the Bitcoin network.

Mining

Made up of a group of people called “miners”, mining is the process of finding Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies within blockchain. Miners are rewarded with these digital currencies when they validate transactions within the blockchain, a process called incentivisation.

Mobile Wallet

Downloadable on your laptop or desktop, these wallets store your cryptocurrency directly on your computer. These wallets are ideal for storing small amounts of cryptocurrency. Popular mobile wallets include Bread Wallet and Blockchain Wallet.

See: Hot Storage

Node

When a computer connects to the Bitcoin network, it is called a node.

Paper wallet

Completely offline and printed on tamper-proof paper, paper wallets are secure but a less practical way to store your cryptocurrency.

Pump and Dump

The practice of encouraging others to purchase a certain cryptocurrency (pump) before selling when the price dramatically increases (dump).

Smart Contracts

Originally proposed by Nick Szabo, smart contracts enforce contracts through the means of a computer code. They currently run on the Ethereum blockchain and remove the need for a third party when validating a contract.

Stable coin

A type of cryptocurrency that is designed to hold a stable value. These currencies are often backed by fiat currency, including Tether, which is backed by the USD.

Soft Fork

An upgrade to the software that does not require all users to upgrade in order to continue validating and verifying transactions.  Examples include a change to Bitcoin’s signature validation, known as BIP 66.

See: Fork, Hard Fork.

Timestamp

A way to accurately record and keep track of all transactions on the blockchain by stamping the time they were processed.

Token

A token is a synonym for cryptocurrency, however, can be applied to different contexts. It can be used to describe a unit of value (Jane has 10 bitcoin tokens), the way that data in encrypted (tokenisation) or a digital asset (Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency token). You can read more about tokens here.

Wallet

The way that digital currencies like Bitcoin are stored. This can include hardware walletsdesktop wallets or even paper wallets.  Check out our Wallets Guide to learn the ins and outs of storing crypto.

White Paper

Written by Satoshi Nakamoto, this infamous document marks the beginning of the Bitcoin universe. Check out our beginners guide here.

Key People

Andreas M. Antonopoulos

Author of Mastering Bitcoin and The Internet of Money, Andreas is a prominent figure within the crypto space.

Ben Ingram

The CEO of Bitcoin Australia and former PwC executive.

Charlie Lee

The founder of Litecoin, a prominent altcoin in the crypto world.

Craig Wright

An Australian computer scientist who falsely claimed to be the real Satoshi Nakamoto.

Dorian Nakamoto

A Japanese man who journalists claimed was the real Satoshi Nakamoto. Though he denied the claims, his face often remains the main image when searching online for Satoshi Nakamoto.

Jimmy Song

Bitcoin educator, developer and entrepreneur who often features on Medium.

Nick Szabo

Considered the founder of smart contracts and bit gold, a precursor to Bitcoin. Spectators often suspect Szabo to be the real Satoshi Nakamoto.

Rupert Hackett

Co-founder of Bitcoin Australia. You can follow Rupert on Twitter for updates on the Australian crypto space.

Satoshi Nakamoto

An individual or group of people responsible for the creation of Bitcoin. Beginning with the original white paper on October 31st 2008, the identity of this creator still today remains unknown. Despite this, many have been suspected or have come forward claiming to be Satoshi. Among others, this list includes Nick Szabo and Australia's own Craig Wright.

You can read more about Satoshi here.

Tim Draper

An American venture capitalist who is known for his accurate predictions on the value of Bitcoin. Check out his website to keep up to date on Draper's projects or follow his Twitter to see if his next prediction is correct!

Tyler & Cameron Winklevoss

Often known as the “Facebook twins”, the Winklevoss brothers are American identical twins known for the wealth they acquired through Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. They currently own their own exchange, Gemini and are the first Billionaires. You can keep up to date by following Tyler and Cameron on their Twitter accounts.

Vitelik Buterin

Creator of the altcoin Ethereum, Vitelik is a Russian-born Canadian computer programmer.

Crypto slang

Bag Holder

When an individual is left with a coin with little value, after failing to sell when the market was high.

HODL

Originating as a typo for ‘hold’, HODL now refers to the practice of holding cryptocurrency as opposed to selling. It also refers to the acronym Hold On for Dear Life.

FUD

Meaning Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, this acronym is often used to describe negative rumours towards Bitcoin within the media.

Mooning

When the price of a coin is experiencing a spike in price and therefore, ‘heading to the moon’.

Rekt (Wrecked)

When a cryptocurrency falls in value to such an extent that an individual or investor is left with nothing.

Whale

An individual or entity who owns a large amount of cryptocurrency.

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