Learn Glossary List

Altcoin — Short for alternative coin. A term used to denote any cryptocurrency other than bitcoin.

Airdrop — The distribution of free crypto tokens to promote a new project or encourage community adoption.

Bitcoin — The world’s first and largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Launched in 2009 by a pseudonymous creator known as Satoshi Nakamoto.

Blockchain — A type of immutable, distributed ledger technology used for recording data.

Bear market — A prolonged period of falling prices.

Bull market — A prolonged period of rising prices.

Cardano — A blockchain platform designed to be an alternative to Ethereum. Cardano was developed through a peer-review process and implements certain technologies, such as proof-of-stake (PoS), in order to be more scalable.

Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) — A digital version of a government-issued fiat currency that’s managed by a central bank.

Cryptography — The scientific study and practice of encoding and decoding data.

dapps — Short for decentralized applications. Autonomous apps that operate on distributed networks smart contracts, programs that automatically execute (say, a transaction) when specific conditions are met.

DeFi — Short for decentralized finance, a collective term for all finance-based dapps created on public blockchains.

Digital currency — A term for any money that exists purely in digital form and is sent electronically over the internet.

Dogecoin — The native cryptocurrency of the Dogecoin blockchain. A popular blockchain project created around a viral internet meme of a Shiba Inu dog.

Ethereum — The blockchain that supports the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. The network is called Ethereum and the actual currency is called ether. The Ethereum network directly incorporates smart contracts and provides the basis for many other digital currencies and projects, including decentralized apps (dapps), non-fungible tokens (NFT) and decentralized finance (DeFi).

Fiat — A term for any government-issued currency, such as the U.S. dollar or the Chinese yuan.

FOMO — Short for fear of missing out. A popular acronym used to describe anxiety over missing out on a potential opportunity.

FUD — Short for fear, uncertainty, doubt. Commonly used in the crypto space as a label for spreading negative news or information.

Gas — The ether that must be spent as a fee in order to execute a transaction or contract on the Ethereum network.

Halving — A 50% reduction of mining block rewards for a particular cryptocurrency. For bitcoin, these are programmed to occur every four years.

HODL — An intentional misspelling of hold and common crypto slang term used to promote or describe the idea of never selling crypto. Retroactively designated an initialism for hold on for dear life.

Inflation — An economic term for when prices of goods and services rise, causing the purchasing power of a fiat currency to fall.

Liquidity — A term for describing how easily an asset can be bought or sold at any given price, volume and time.

Market cap — A term used to describe the total value of a project, company or other entity. For crypto, market cap is calculated by taking the current price of a project’s token and multiplying it by the total circulating supply.

Mining — The process of using computer equipment to verify and add new data to a blockchain ledger, as well as add new coins into circulation.

NFTs — Short for non-fungible tokens. NFTs are digital tokens used to prove ownership of unique tangible and intangible items.

Private Key — A code that proves a person’s ownership of a crypto wallet and allows the person to access the funds inside.

Public Key — A code used to create an address so a crypto wallet can receive transactions.

Public ledger — A transparent, distributed digital record of transactions that can be downloaded by anyone around the world.

Sharding — Refers to splitting a blockchain into multiple, identical chains called shards. These shards each execute transactions and smart contracts in parallel, making a network more efficient and scalable.

Smart contract — A special type of computer program that automatically executes a transaction whenever a predetermined input is received.

Stablecoin — A type of digital asset that maintains a stable value by tying it to another asset, such as gold or the U.S. dollar.

Token — A subset of cryptocurrencies. Tokens are units of value issued by platforms built on top of existing blockchains.

Volatility — A word used to describe how much the price of a crypto token deviates from the average over a given period.

Wallet — Hardware or software that stores a user’s private and public key pair and interfaces with a blockchain network.

Whale — A term used to describe investors who hold large amounts of specific cryptocurrencies.

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