Learn all of the most important blockchain and cryptocurrency terms and jargon here.

2FA
2FA is a two-factor authentication method, also called double authentication. The method consists of using an application on your smartphone which considerably increases the security of access to a platform, an exchange or an investment site for example. The principle is that this application gives fairly long numbers, which change every thirty or sixty seconds and which must be entered after entering your password to access the site.


MFA
The AMF is the French financial market authority. It regulates, organizes and controls the various practices of players in the French financial market and informs investors of each new regulation. The AMF is therefore currently involved in issues of regulation of cryptocurrency investments and exchanges to determine a clear legal framework for these new financial assets.


Ask
We systematically see “Ask” and “Bid” values ​​on a trading platform. The “Ask” value is the price at which sellers wish to sell a given cryptocurrency.


ASIC
An ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) is a type of electronic circuit integrating on the same chip all the active elements essential and specific to a certain type of very precise calculation (for example SHA 256 hashes for Bitcoin). The ASIC allows much greater computing power than a GPU graphics card and is therefore increasingly used in mining for cryptocurrencies with a very high level of difficulty, such as Bitcoin or Dash. Some cryptocurrencies have chosen a “resistant ASIC” algorithm to guard against this race for computing power, which poses significant environmental problems and centralizes mining, leaving very little chance for individual miners to make their equipment profitable. . This is for example the case of Monero, based on the CryptoNightV7 algorithm.


Airdrop
An airdrop consists of a cryptocurrency project distributing free tokens to its community. These marketing systems allow the project to make itself known by energizing its community. Airdrops are generally donated under specific conditions: liking a Facebook page, completing a KYC, translating a whitepaper, etc.


Altcoin
An altcoin – or “alternative cryptocurrency” – refers to any cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin.


ATH / ATL
“ATH” means “All time high”, and thus designates the highest price ever reached by a cryptocurrency. “ATL” conversely means “All time low” and therefore designates the lowest price it has has ever reached. These two data are important to define supports and resistances on each cryptocurrency.


Arbitration
Arbitrage involves taking advantage of price differences between two different trading platforms, by buying on one and selling on the other. Arbitrage must also take into account commissions to remain strategic and allow the trader to maximize his profit.


Fundamental analysis
Fundamental analysis is a method on which investors rely to estimate the evolution of the intrinsic value of a good or an asset. Fundamental analysis seeks to interpret all the different factors that can impact its future price: external events and influences, elements internal to the company (financial diagnosis, human resources, etc.). Fundamental analysis is often based on a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). It must be supplemented by a technical analysis if one wishes to carry out trading activities, regardless of the asset in question (cryptoasset, stock market indices, Forex, etc.).


Technical analysis
A technical analysis makes it possible to study and anticipate market movements based on key indicators. It is based on the study of different graphs of the history of an asset at different time scales, these scales varying according to the preferred trading method (swing trading, day trading or scalping). Technical analysis makes it possible to determine market trends to better anticipate future movements to strategically choose its entry and exit point.


Bid
“Bid” means “offer” in French. We often see “Ask” and “Bid” values ​​on a trading platform. The “Bid” value is the price at which buyers wish to buy a given cryptocurrency. Conversely, the “Ask” refers to the price asked by sellers.


Block
A block is the main element of a blockchain, or “chain of blocks” in French. Each block contains a set of transactions, which, when integrated into the blockchain, allows the miner to earn a reward. The reward on bitcoin is currently 12.5 bitcoins. The production time of a block varies according to the different cryptocurrencies. On Bitcoin, a block is integrated into the blockchain every 10 minutes.


Burn
Burning is the act of removing a certain number of tokens from a cryptocurrency to lower the total available supply. Concretely, the tokens are sent to a public address whose private key nobody knows and are therefore unusable. This creates an imbalance between supply and demand and generally aims to increase the value of each token.


Bitmex
BitMEX  is a cryptocurrency trading platform that offers specific  margin trading options . Its use is suitable for seasoned traders. It is possible to trade futures contracts or perpetual contracts. BitMEX offers leverage of up to X100. The platform does not work with any fiat currency: deposits must therefore be made in Bitcoin.


BitPay
BitPay is a payment system allowing e-commerce to accept payments in bitcoins. It is dubbed the “Paypal of Bitcoin” and processes Bitcoin payments for over 40,000 businesses and organizations. It allows instant conversion into USD, EUR, GBP, CAD and many other national currencies, and thus protects merchants from the risk of Bitcoin volatility while allowing them to diversify the means of payment accepted.


Bearish
Bearish is an English term derived from the word bear (ours) which designates the state of mind of an investor who thinks that the trend is bearish. The bear metaphor is used to characterize a bear market because of the way a bear fights. It attacks its opponent with its front legs, kicking from top to bottom.


Binance
Binance  is one of the main marketplaces for trading cryptocurrency. The exchange funded itself via an ICO in 2017 with the Binance Coin (BNB) token and quickly became the leading exchange platform in terms of volume and security. 


Bittrex
Bittrex is also a leading cryptocurrency exchange. However, it does not allow cryptocurrencies to be exchanged for more traditional currencies, such as the euro or the dollar.


Bullish
Bullish is an English term derived from the word bull (bull) which designates the state of mind of an investor who thinks that the trend is bullish. By extension, bullish applied to a market indicates that most observers believe that market is in an uptrend.


Bitfinex
Bitfinex is the cryptocurrency exchange with the largest trading volume for the BTC/USD pair. There are frequent comments claiming that Bitfinex “drives the market”, a sign of its significant influence. It has the particularity of integrating the euro and the dollar, and offers its users tools intended for experienced traders. It is the platform that allows short selling on the most cryptocurrency pairs. You must have a minimum capital of $10,000 to open an account on the platform.


Bear trap
Bear trap means “bearish trap” in French. This characterizes a situation in which an investor or trader sells a position short, anticipating a market decline from a false sell signal. The trend therefore does not turn downwards as expected, but continues to rise. The trader or investor is therefore forced to buy back his asset at a higher price than he sold it to close his position quickly.


Bollinger Bands
Bollinger Bands is a trading tool developed by John Bollinger. This indicator performs a dynamic measurement of two elements: price volatility and directionality. When there is an increase in volatility and strong directionality, the price breaks out of the bands. This is a rare occurrence since statistically the price only breaks out of the bands about 5% of the time.


Binance Coin (BNB)
BNB is the cryptocurrency sold during the Binance ICO . It is used to pay transaction fees on the exchange platform. By paying in BNB, transaction fees are reduced by 50%. Binance Coin (BNB) can only be found on the Binance Marketplace.


Block lattice
The block lattice is a DLT technology offering an innovative block structure, used for the first time by the Raiblocks cryptocurrency (renamed Nano). These are braided blocks allowing each user account to have its own blockchain storing balance and transaction history. The owner of the channel account is the only one who can update it. The block lattice is an ideal solution for micropayments, as it allows instant transactions without fees, while being able to manage a very large number of transactions simultaneously.


Blockchain
Blockchain is a type of  distributed ledger technology  (  DLT). It looks like a large database made up of blocks, cryptographically linked to each other, containing information (transactions, lines of code, etc.). These blocks are added according to a very specific protocol that can be viewed by everyone. The particularity of the blockchain is that it is in essence decentralized, because everyone can contribute to it by forming blocks that are added to it, according to certain very strict conditions defined by a consensus protocol.. Cryptocurrencies are the first viable application of blockchain technology. The decentralized web could be next. A distinction is also made between public and private blockchains: in the first, everyone can participate in the continuation of the blockchain, in the second the participants are chosen according to certain criteria by the creator of the blockchain.


Speculative bubble
A speculative bubble is a disproportionate rise in the price of a security, an index, or even an entire sector. This increase is decorrelated from the real growth of the market or an economy. The formation of a bubble is caused by an excess of optimistic speculation on the growth of valuations. A bubble can last several months or several years before bursting. The bursting of a bubble is followed by a drastic fall in prices which causes what is commonly called a “crash”.


CFD
A CFD (Contract for Difference) is a financial instrument (a derivative product) that allows you to bet on the rise or fall in the price of a financial asset, without buying this asset directly. Let’s take the example of a CFD for purchase on bitcoin. A contract is made between the buyer and the seller. If the price of Bitcoin goes up, your position will be positive. If you close your position at this time, then the seller of the CFD will owe you the difference between the purchase price and the resale price. If, on the contrary, you close your position at a price lower than your entry into the position, you are the one who owes the seller money. You are at a loss. It is possible to check whether you have purchased a CFD or the cryptocurrency by trying to transfer it to the appropriate digital wallet. If the transfer does not occur, it is a CFD.


CPU
The CPU (for Central Processing Unit) is the central organ of a computer. A CPU is a processor or microprocessor and contains all the logic circuits to execute a program. In the world of cryptocurrencies, a distinction is made between CPU mining, which requires little computing power, GPU mining (graphics card) and finally ASIC mining, which allows much higher computing power.


Corner
Coin, from the English “coin”, is the word commonly used to describe the accounting unit of a cryptocurrency. We distinguish the corners of the tokens. A coin refers to a cryptocurrency that serves as a unit of account, store of value and intermediary of exchanges. A token designates a cryptocurrency giving access to a particular right or service on a public DLT. Note that one and the same cryptocurrency can be both a coin and a token.


Casper
Casper is a highly anticipated update to the Ethereum consensus protocol, which in 2019 plans to transition from a PoW (Proof of Work) mechanism to a PoS (Proof of Stake) mechanism. During the launch of Casper, Ethereum will temporarily use a hybrid mechanism between PoW and PoS and then end up using only PoS in a later update.


Coinbase
Coinbase  is one of the largest cryptocurrency shopping platforms. It is certainly the best platform to buy bitcoins to start in the world of cryptocurrency. Coinbase is all the more convenient as it is possible to buy bitcoins there by credit card , in addition to payments by SEPA transfer.


Broker
A broker is an independent intermediary who offers to sell or buy assets and is remunerated by taking a commission. You can call on a broker either because he is authorized to intervene in a given market, or for his ability to grow capital.


Consensus
Consensus is not a term unique to cryptocurrencies, but it is an essential element for the proper functioning of any system. Consensus is the truth accepted by the participants in the system. This does not mean that the consensus is the absolute truth or that it is indisputable, but it is the reality on which the participants in the system agree. In sport, for example, it is the referee who creates the consensus in the event of disagreement. In the judicial world, it is the judge. In the world of cryptocurrencies, various algorithms, starting with “Proof of XXXXX” make it possible to reach consensus on a blockchain. The strength of a blockchain is therefore to reach a consensus systematically, efficiently and in a decentralized manner: we speak of a “consensus protocol” or “consensus mechanism”.


Japanese candlesticks
The Japanese candlesticks are a form of representation of the behavior of the price according to the unit of time which one selected. It is usually green if the price has moved up, and red if the price has moved down. 


Coin Stats
Coin Stats is the first bitcoin and altcoin portfolio app to track real-time cryptocurrency prices on over 100 exchanges. The application can be automatically synchronized with wallets and exchange accounts and allow each investor to know the value of his portfolio without having to manually add his transactions. It is also possible to set up alerts to be notified when the price of a cryptocurrency reaches a certain level.


CoinMarketCap.com
CoinMarketCap  is a reference site for the cryptocurrency market. It contains a very large list of cryptocurrencies and allows you to be informed about several essential information on them: price, market place on which the asset is listed, link to the whitepaper, volume of transactions according to the exchanges…


Cold storage
Cold storage – or “cold storage” – designates a way of holding and storing one’s private keys on a medium disconnected from the Internet. It is possible to store your private keys on a simple sheet of paper – a paper wallet – or to use electronic wallets such as the Ledger Wallet or the Cool Wallet.


Smart Contract / Smart Contract
A smart contract is a computer protocol of the type “if this happens, then this happens and vice versa”. In English, it is referred to as “if-then”. A smart contract can be executed automatically via digital tools, provided that these can draw the data necessary for the operation of the contract. Digital tools make it possible to check in real time if the conditions of the contract are respected and if the time has come for a particular event to occur. Oracles can come into play to provide data to the system that machines cannot see in the real world or evaluate properly. 


Correction
A correction is a rapid and abrupt reversal in the price of a cryptocurrency, up or down. We speak of a “correction” because following this reversal, the price approaches its previous price, after a rather long period of rise or fall.


Cryptoactif
In 2018, cryptocurrencies were requalified by the AMF, which now prefers the term “cryptoasset”. This term better represents the underlying of the majority of cryptocurrencies, which are more easily assimilated to financial assets than to traditional currencies whose function is the unit of account, the store of value and the intermediary of exchanges.


Cryptocurrency
A cryptocurrency is a digital currency based on the principles of cryptography. It is exchanged on a decentralized network, peer-to-peer, thanks to Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) technologies such as blockchain, DAGs or block lattice. It integrates the user into the processes of storing, issuing and settling transactions and eliminates the intervention of an intermediary or a trusted third party such as a bank.


DAY
A DAG (Direct Acyclic Graph) is a type of distributed ledger technology  (DLT), just like blockchain. DAG technologies do not use blocks, but use a direct acyclic graph where information is stored in nodes. The transactions are linked to each other: one transaction confirms the next and so on. DAGs have the advantage of being more scalable than blockchains, faster and more suitable for microtransactions. But these networks are also more vulnerable to attacks. The most well-known cryptocurrencies to be based on a DAG are  IOTA and ByteBall.


KNIFE
A DAO is a Decentralized Autonomous Organization, in other words an autonomous decentralized organization, which means that its rules of governance are entirely automated and do not in principle require any human intervention. The DAO is therefore based on a “trustless” principle, which removes the need to grant one’s trust to a third party: in a DAO, “code is law”, in other words the code makes the law. The operating rules of a DAO are written in a blockchain and are therefore both immutable and transparent.


Dip
A dip is a sudden but short-lived fall in the price of a cryptocurrency. After a dip, a cryptocurrency regains its value very quickly. A dip can result from different market mechanisms, very often it is a sale by a heavyweight (a “whale” or a “whale”, according to crypto market jargon). The ideal is to manage to buy a cryptocurrency during a dip to realize a nice capital gain.


DLT
A DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) is a distributed ledger technology. The purpose of a DLT is to improve the transparency, security and traceability of information related to different transactions by sharing an immutable register that can be consulted by everyone. DLTs can be public or private, and thus restrict access to a minority of authorized persons. Almost all cryptocurrencies on the current market are based on public DLTs. A large majority of them are based on blockchains, however the blockchain is not the only type of DLT possible: there are also technologies such as the DAG (Direct Acyclic Graph), used by IOTA  in the form of a  tangle , or the  lattice block , used by Nano.


DApp
DApp is an acronym for “decentralized application”. A decentralized application runs on a network of computers often called a virtual machine, such as the EVM (Ethereum virtual machine), which allows it to be “indestructible” because it is disseminated on several computers rather than on an Amazon or Google server. or Microsoft. Networks like Ethereum, Stratis or EOS are dedicated to hosting these DApps. See the full DAPP definition here.


DDoS
A DDoS attack (denial of service attack) aims to render a computer system inaccessible or inoperative for a certain period of time. This type of attack paves the way for hacks and major thefts on cryptocurrency exchange platforms. Every day, exchanges are victims of attempted DDos attacks and must therefore know how to protect themselves in order to continue to resist attacks and protect their funds.


DPOS
Le protocole DPOS, pour Delegated Proof of Stake, is a blockchain consensus algorithm developed by Daniel Larimer and first used for the BitShares blockchain. The DPOS protocol consists of a delegated proof of stake which aims to solve the problems of centralization posed by the mechanisms of Proof of Work and Proof of Stake. elect different delegates. Only delegates will be able to contribute to the production of blocks, but network members have the final say on all changes made to the protocol. The system is sometimes criticized for abuses of dominance by delegates, who can stay in place for a very long time. On the other hand, the lower the number of delegates, the greater the centralization (21 for EOS, 51 for Ark,


Dump
A dump is simply a fall in the price of a cryptocurrency. A dump is usually a prolonged decline, which may cause traders or investors to worry.


Dust
The dust, dust in French, corresponds to all these small amounts of cryptocurrencies that you keep in your wallet if you regularly trade, and that you can neither sell nor convert, the amounts being too low.At Binance , it is possible to convert your dusts into BNB (platform token) to recover them or pay transaction fees with them.


DYOR
DYOR is the acronym for “Do Your Own Research”, or in French, “do your own research”. This is a very common adage in finance that is often repeated to novices. Always do your own research before making any investment.

For the anecdote, the director of the CFTC in the United States, Christopher Giancarlo (who is known to be in favor of cryptocurrencies) had left a session in the Senate on the theme of cryptocurrencies by writing on Twitter “Thank you for your huge response to my recent remarks in the US Senate. Lol. When investing, remember: be careful, measured and DYOR”.


Deflation
Deflation opposes inflation, and therefore means falling prices. It is often confused with a fall in inflation – disinflation – which consists of a decrease in the rise in prices, not a fall. . Deflation is synonymous with the regression of a market or an economy, so much so that we often speak of a “deflationary spiral”. It is therefore not desirable to observe a situation of deflation in the cryptocurrency market, any more than in any other money market.


Downtrend
Downtrend simply means a downtrend, which is its French translation.


Daniel Larimer
Daniel Larimer is both a cryptocurrency developer and entrepreneur. Creator of BitShares in 2014, co-founder of the Steemit blockchain in 2016, and technical director of Block.one ( EOS project ), Dan Larimer is one of the main figures in the cryptocurrency ecosystem and is widely recognized by the crypto community. He is also at the origin of the first consensus algorithm DPOS (Delegated Proof of Stake), since taken over by large projects like Lisk.


Day Trading
Day trading consists of taking rather short trading positions, ranging from a few hours to a few days maximum. Day trading requires significant availability to be able to monitor positions every day and take advantage of price increases or decreases. Day trading differs from swing trading (longer time frame) and scalping (shorter time frame).


Difficulty Target
In the Proof of Work system, the difficulty target, “difficulty level” in French, is a condition that the hash of a block must meet in order for it to be accepted by the network and for the miner who created this block collects his reward. On Bitcoin, for example, the current difficulty target requires the hash to start with twenty zeros, which is extremely difficult to achieve and requires very high energy consumption. The level of difficulty varies over time so that the frequency of creation of the blocks conforms to that indicated in the protocol of the cryptocurrency. The higher the level of difficulty, the more miners must “work” to satisfy it, validate a new block and receive the corresponding reward. The more miners there are,


Double spending
Double spending, double spending in French, is precisely one of the innovations of Bitcoin, proposed by Satoshi Nakamoto at the end of 2008. As its name suggests, double spending consists of spending the same token twice. This is the major problem digital assets, which by definition are just computer code. The duplication of computer files in particular was a big problem in the music industry. This has made it possible to share files illegally on the Internet. Bitcoin solves the problem thanks to the cryptographic system that is its decentralized blockchain. If miners receive two transactions spending the same bitcoins, they only accept the first transaction and decline the second.


ERC-20
The ERC-20 (Ethereum request for comment n°20), is a standard smart contract that allows the creation of tokens based on the Ethereum blockchain, in other words without having to develop a new blockchain. It is the major tool used by ICO organizers that allows them to create a new currency based on the efficiency and good reputation of the Ethereum blockchain.


Exchange
An exchange platform, or an exchange in English, is a market place dedicated to cryptocurrencies. In addition to the possibility of selling and buying cryptocurrencies and possibly fiat currencies, exchanges provide you with a wallet that allows you to store, transfer your coins, and receive them from other people. Note that it is the exchange that controls the wallet’s private key in this case, not you. There are currently more than 10,000 more or less large, secure, and specialized cryptocurrency trading platforms for certain currencies. Each platform is remunerated by charging fees, generally low (almost always below 1%), on each operation, except for the storage of currency, which is free.


Decentralized exchange
Decentralized exchange platforms, or DEXs for Decentralized Exchanges, offer an alternative to large centralized exchange platforms such as Binance, Bittrex or Kraken to allow users to trade their cryptocurrencies on peer-to-peer markets directly on the blockchain. Traders thus remain custodians of their funds and avoid the risk of hacking that can occur on centralized exchange platforms. DEXs thus make it possible to completely dispense with trusted third parties to take full advantage of the advantages of the blockchain. The use of these platforms is however complex and not very intuitive.


Leverage
The leverage effect makes it possible to multiply its exposure on the market, while immobilizing only part of its capital, which is called hedging. The broker makes the remaining part of the total position value available. Gains and losses are calculated on the total value of the position. Leverage allows you to earn very large sums, but also exposes you to proportional risks of loss. Leverage exists for most financial products, including cryptocurrencies. Trading with leverage is possible on BitMEX .


Equity token
An equity token gives its investor rights in return for the funds contributed to a company, at the time of its ICO or later. An equity token works on the same principle as a share: it represents a stake in the capital of the company and therefore allows you to receive any dividends. The increase in its value is correlated with that of the value produced by the company. There are other types of tokens, such as security or utility tokens.


Evening Star
The Evening Star is a graphic pattern of 3 Japanese candlesticks announcing a bearish reversal of the market: A first bullish candle with a large body; A second candle of indecision (large wicks and small body); A third bearish candle with a large body.


ALL
Fear, uncertainty and doubt. FUD is a technique used in marketing. In cryptocurrencies, FUD consists of trying to influence potential investors or traders by disseminating negative information vague enough to sow doubt. FUD is, for example, denigrating a cryptocurrency or a project.


Fiat
Fiat is a word of Latin origin that has nothing to do with car manufacturer and is synonymous with fiduciary. Fiat means “so be it” in Latin and refers to a currency that is legal tender and taxed by the issuer, which may be a state or a group of states (in the case of the euro), such as the euro, yen or US dollar.


FOMO
FOMO is the acronym for Fear of Missing Out. In the financial markets, this expression refers to the fear of an investor or trader of missing out on a good deal, which leads to acting impulsively to be sure to jump on the bandwagon. FOMO is closely related to crowd psychology and is very common in the cryptocurrency market, which has a large number of investors or traders unfamiliar with market movements.


Fork
A fork, bifurcation in French, is the update of the program that governs a blockchain. If this update modifies the consensus rules, but these new rules remain compatible with the previous ones, we speak of a soft fork. By software analogy, a soft fork can be compared to a Windows update to make the system more secure. If, on the other hand, the new consensus rules induce such a change that they are incompatible with the previous ones, a new copy of the blockchain is created and we then speak of a hard fork. One of the two blockchains will apply the new rules in this case, the other will continue to apply the old ones.


Faucet
A faucet, faucet in English, is a site or part of a site where you can, by performing very simple actions such as clicking on a button, recover infinitesimal parts of cryptocurrencies.


Forger
A forger can be likened to a miner, except that the latter contributes to the protocol of a blockchain based on a mechanism of Proof of Stake , and not of Proof of Work. A forger is therefore a person who participates in the creation of the blocks of a PoS blockchain. This is chosen by the algorithm at random to forge the next block in the chain. The more tokens of the blockchain in question a forger has, the more likely it is to be selected to forge the next block. He will then be paid for each block that he manages to forge and validate.


Futures
“ Futures ”, or forward contracts, are products derived from underlying assets in the form of contracts duly approved by the regulatory authorities. A future can relate to any type of underlying: gold, commodities, and more recently, cryptocurrencies. For example, you can trade Bitcoin on Futures by going to BitMEX .

The interest in using futures contracts instead of directly buying a cryptocurrency is mainly found in  hodlers . In the event of a bear market, they can leave their cryptocurrencies in their haldware wallet, and take a short position –  on the downside  – on futures. This allows them to protect themselves against the decline in the price of their assets.


Futarchy
The English term futarchy, which does not yet have an official French translation, refers to a form of government in which predictive markets are used to determine what political choices will be made.


Flippening
Flipping refers to when the total capitalization of Ethereum (ETH) will exceed that of Bitcoin (BTC). Dominance of Bitcoin. This phenomenon almost took place in June 2017. Ethereum’s capitalization was $37 billion and Bitcoin’s was $45 billion. Since then, this term can refer to other struggles for market position between two cryptocurrencies. For example, Ethereum lost its second place to Ripple in December 2017, only to regain it in January. This theory is often mocked on the networks and is represented by a dolphin spinning in circles.


Gas
Some smart contract blockchains, such as Neo or Ethereum, use several tokens, including  gas . On these blockchains, gas is used to pay transaction fees or perform the various operations provided for by a smart contract. To use the Ethereum or Neo blockchain, it is therefore essential to have gas. In the case of Neo, it is possible to mine Gas directly from your wallet .


GPU
A GPU (Graphical Processing Unit) is a graphics card processor that equips computers. GPUs are compute-optimized and are therefore widely used for cryptocurrency mining . Mining rigs are made up of multiple graphics cards to maximize computing power. A mining farm contains several hundred GPUs. For some currencies, GPU mining is not powerful enough and ASICs are now essential to rely on higher computing power.


Risk management
Risk management is essential for any trader. It is a set of rules to be applied during its activity to control risks in order to protect its capital and increase its profits. In trading, risk management is essential to limit losses. Maintaining good risk management involves knowing how to keep a cool head in order to manage your emotions.


Hack
A hack is a computer hack. In the world of cryptocurrencies, a hack can consist of stealing private passwords on an exchange, exploiting a flaw in the consensus algorithm by double-spending, or carrying out a 51% attack to claim coins illegally, as was the case in May 2018 at Verge or Bitcoin Gold.


Hash
The hash (English term) can be translated into French as “checksum” or “imprint”. The hash is used in computing, but also in cryptography. A fingerprint aims to authenticate an initial data (sometimes unknown), by being able to compare it with other fingerprints. In cryptography, the fingerprint is the result of the application of encryption software to a given message. Whatever the nature of the data entered into the encryption software, the fingerprint will always have the same syntax, ie the same number and the same type of characters. For example, if I apply an imaginary encryption software to the formulas “New York” followed by random numbers, I obtain the hashes (fingerprints) to the right of the arrow which are a series of unintelligible letters and numbers but always of the same length and size:


Hodl
The word “Hodl” is frequently used on crypto forums. This word actually comes from the word “hold”, which in English means to maintain, to preserve. The use of “hodl” is said to come from the fact that several years ago a drunken person posted a message on BitcoinTalk to urge investors not to panic and not to sell despite the fall in price: instead of write “hold”, this one would have written “hodl”. The term has since remained and continues to be used with each cryptocurrency dump to prevent various investors from panicking.


Hold
The term “hold” continues to be used on forums to encourage crypto-investors not to sell in a downtrend and to wait until prices rise to avoid too many price drops. violent. The cryptocurrency market is still very sensitive to crowd psychology and panic can set in quickly if a trend reversal occurs. Encouraging investors to “hold” therefore also aims to gently mature the market to avoid extreme volatility. It should be noted, however, that this term is not specific to the cryptocurrency market, but remains a general remainder for the markets.


Hacker
A hacker is a hacker.


Hacking
Hacking is the activity of computer hacking.


Hard cap
The Hard Cap of an ICO is the maximum budget that the company or association plans to raise. It is thus considered that all the additional funds to the hard cap will be a priori useless compared to the maximum of tokens provided. Depending on the nature of the token distributed during an ICO (equity, security or utility), the hard cap can vary significantly. Of course, this also depends on the level of progress, the complexity and the scope of the project, which requires more or less funds.


Hash rate
The hash rate is the hash rate per unit of time. The unit of time used is H/s (hashes/second). In the case of bitcoin, we are at PH/s (1 million billion hashes per second).


Hardware wallet
A  hardware wallet  is the most secure way to store your cryptocurrencies . The hardware wallet is a physical wallet that allows cold storage. It is thus distinguished from online wallets or  desktop wallets , which are much less secure and more easily hackable. The particularity of a hardware wallet is to fully protect access to its user’s private key (necessary to access the funds in the wallet). The owner himself has no knowledge of his private key: a code and a recovery key allow him to access it, without the latter being able to read it. The best known hardware wallets are the Ledger Nano X , the  Ledger Blue , the Trezor , and the Cool Wallet S.


Hot Storage
As opposed to cold storage, hot storage is the act of storing private keys and other passwords on a connected device or directly online. Desktop and exchange wallets are essentially hot storage, while hardware wallets and paper wallets are cold storage.


Hyperledger
Hyperledger is a private blockchain (or consortium blockchain) supported by the Linux Foundation. Hyperledger is open source and is arguably the most comprehensive private blockchain on the market, as it offers many possibilities for businesses. It is also one of the most complex to deploy. Hyperledger is particularly flexible and allows you to customize consensus and registry access rights. IBM has made Hyperledger the basis of its blockchain offer, and is participating in the development of various projects alongside Airbus, JP Morgan, Intel and Cisco. Hyperledger is certainly the most used private blockchain along with Quorum, Corda, and Ripple in the world of finance.


ICO
An  ICO (Initial coin offering)  is a fundraiser in cryptocurrencies. During an ICO, a new cryptocurrency is created, and the public is invited to invest in this new token with generally ETH, but it can also be bitcoins or other “safe” currencies. The investor therefore takes the risk of selling reference currencies against a currency that does not yet exist and which may never exist. There are many scams among ICOs. France is currently working on defining a legal framework for ICOs. 


Joseph Poon
Joseph Poon is co-author of the white paper and co-creator of the Lightning Network. The Lightning Network is a major breakthrough allowing the Bitcoin network to gain in scalability and speed, and to considerably reduce transaction costs. Since August 2017, Poon has been working on the Plasma project with Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin. The Plasma project aims to improve the scalability of Ethereum. The Plasma solution was first implemented on part of the OmiseGo network in 2017.


KYC
KYC is an acronym referring to the English expression “Know Your Customer”, or in French “Connaçoisez votre client”. This term refers to all procedures that require you to send documents to prove your identity. Exchange platforms, for example, will systematically ask you to go through a KYC verification procedure where you will have to send a selfie, an identity document and proof of residence. These steps are aimed at combating money laundering. It is a legal obligation.


Kraken
Discreet but influential and present for a long time (mid 2011) in the world of cryptocurrencies, Kraken is one of the major exchanges used on the market. Known for having taken over the Mt Gox business and for accepting many fiat currencies, it only offers about thirty currencies, among the most important, unlike Binance , or Poloniex, which quote a lot of altcoins. According to some, Kraken represents the best gateway to the cryptocurrency market, especially in Europe because it is the first exchange in terms of volumes on the BTC/EUR pair.


Lambo
The word “Lambo” sometimes comes up out of context on some crypto forums. Investors use it to refer to their future car (the “Lambo”, in other words the Lamborghini) once their cryptocurrency portfolio has enabled them to make a fortune. The term is used with humor, since no cryptocurrency investor can be sure of seeing a price increase over the long term.


Limit
A limit order is a type of stock market order also used in cryptocurrency markets where you agree to buy or sell an asset when it has reached a certain price that you specify. If you want to buy, the exchange will place the order when the asset has reached the price you specified on the downside (so the price of the asset was higher when you placed the limit order). If you want to sell, it will do so when the asset reaches the price you specified on the upside (so the asset price was lower when you placed the limit order).


Ledger
Ledger is a French start-up offering several hardware wallets and secure storage solutions like Ledger Vault. Its flagship product remains the Ledger Nano S , the most popular hardware wallet on the market. There are currently three Ledger keys: Ledger Nano S , Ledger Blue  and the latest,  the Ledger nano X. Ledger hardware wallets are renowned for offering the best value for money on the market. Launched only in 2014, Ledger now has more than 150 employees and is one of the fastest growing French start-ups in recent years.


Liquid
Liquid is a Bitcoin (BTC) sidechain project developed by Blockstream. This will allow bitcoins to be exchanged anonymously, but also any other type of data: fiat currencies, information, any data, etc. The first block was produced on September 27, 2018.

The consensus is obtained in a particular way since there are no miners, but 23 “federators” including many exchanges. 


Liquidity
Liquidity is an important financial market indicator that describes the ability to buy or sell assets quickly in a given marketplace without having a major effect on prices. The more liquid a market is, the easier and faster you can trade in that market. Liquidity is an essential feature that a good market must provide. It depends in particular on the number of buyers and sellers, the transaction costs and the methods for passing orders on this market.


Lightning Network
The Lightning Network is a secondary layer of the Bitcoin protocol. This aims, among other things, to considerably improve the scalability of the Bitcoin network to solve problems of congestion during load increases. The idea of ​​the Lighting Network is to offer an overlay to the Bitcoin network to pass certain off-chain transactions on a payment channel. The only transactions recorded on the Blockchain will be the opening and closing of the payment channel. The Lightning Network makes it possible to considerably accelerate the speed of transactions, and also to significantly reduce costs.


Liquidation
We speak of liquidation when a position is liquidated with the maximum deficit authorized by the broker for the position taken. Liquidation is not desirable and is usually the result of a bad trading strategy. It is therefore important to carefully manage your risk and plan for different scenarios to avoid this type of situation at all costs.


MVP
The term “MVP” stands for “minimum viable product”. This is generally cited in the phenomenon of startups, which is found with projects financed by an ICO. The MVP then designates the product, or the strategy making it possible to offer the promised innovation in the simplest and fastest way possible. This makes it possible to demonstrate to investors the startup‘s ability to execute, which also benefits from feedback from its community, allowing it to develop its product according to its users, without embarking on long and costly developments that would take it away from its market.


MACD
The acronym MACD stands for Moving Average Convergence Divergence. It is a technical indicator for determining trend changes. The MACD is the difference between two exponential moving averages of different periods (usually 12 and 26 days). MACDs are useful when crossed with its signal line, to determine a buy or sell signal.


Maker
The “maker” is an order to buy or sell in the order book of a broker or a trading platform. Basically, market makers are intermediaries like brokers, who quote markets for investors and generate a margin (a spread) between the buying and selling prices to get paid. The proposed purchase price is therefore slightly higher than the market price, and the selling price slightly lower. By extension, a “maker” is a person who places an order to buy or sell on the order book at a price different from that of the current price. His order will therefore be executed on a deferred basis.


Market
A market in cryptocurrencies designates a pair on an exchange, for example ETH/EUR on Kraken, that is to say all exchanges between ethers and euros on this exchange. An exchange therefore offers as many markets as pairs which can be a cryptocurrency and a fiat currency (for example BTC/JPY) or two cryptocurrencies (for example ZEC/BTC).


Minor
A miner is a person or company that invests in one or more computers and spends large amounts of electricity to mine cryptocurrencies. The role of a miner in the PoW system is therefore to contribute through his work to determining the consensus in a blockchain, respecting the protocol for creating blocks to the letter, being the first to satisfy the level of difficulty of the moment and by submitting a block validated by the majority of the nodes of the network.


Mt Gox
Mt Gox is a trading platform created in 2009 originally offering Magic: The Gathering Online card trading. In 2010, it was converted into a bitcoin exchange platform and was bought by Mark Karpelès in 2011, who propelled it to make it the essential market platform. In 2014, Mt Gox handles 80% of the bitcoin trading volume, before closing abruptly following the observation of a hole of 650,000 bitcoins in the boxes of the platform. Victim reimbursement procedures are still ongoing in 2018.


Mainnet
The mainnet is the original network for transferring cryptocurrency from one address to another within the blockchain. The mainnet differs from the testnet, which aims to test the transfer function on a prototype network. Many cryptocurrencies are only at this stage and therefore do not yet have a mainnet. The tokens of a project without mainnet can have no other use than that of trading, or failing to materialize the sum invested by temporary tokens. When the mainnet comes out, we will use what is called a “token swap” to obtain the final tokens.


Minting
Minting differs from mining, which in English means mining a cryptocurrency based on a proof-of-work consensus. Minting therefore refers to the fact of forging the blocks of a cryptocurrency based on a proof-of-stake blockchain. In French, we will vulgarly speak of “forgeage” to refer to minting, so as to clearly distinguish it from mining.


Mineable
The adjective “mineable”, which we find in particular at Coin Market Cap, designates the coins whose consensus algorithm is the Proof of work (proof of work, see corresponding entry). We can therefore mine them and invest in advanced computer equipment to try to be the first to find the right fingerprint to add your block to the chain and receive the corresponding reward. Ether should stop being mineable soon to move to Proof of Stake.


Malta AI & Blockchain Summit
The MAIBS is the largest (“business”) congress on cryptocurrencies in Europe. It is held twice a year in May and November and brings together many actors from the blockchain and AI sectors on the island of Malta. Conferences, Workshop, Exhibitions and Networking are of course part of the event.


Margin trading
Margin trading involves borrowing money to gain leverage in trading activities. Margin trading allows you to amplify your gains, but also has the effect of multiplying your losses. It is therefore a practice that can be very risky. Some platforms like BitMEX specialize in margin trading and offer several cryptocurrencies to give traders more choice.


Mark Karpelès
Mark Marpelès is the former leader of the MtGox exchange platform, the largest bitcoin exchange platform in 2014. Arrested in 2014 following the volatilization of 650,000 missing bitcoins from Mt Gox accounts, Mark Karpelès has always proclaimed his innocence. He remains one of the most hated characters in the crypto community and is still considered guilty by the majority of aggrieved investors today. Mark Karpelès is all the more suspect as the latter had already been convicted of misappropriation of data from one of his previous employers.


Market Cap
Market Cap is an English expression that means market capitalization. It is the value, generally expressed by default in USD, that a given cryptocurrency represents. The market cap is calculated by multiplying the number of tokens in circulation by the price of the currency. The Coin Market Cap site calculates it based on the weighted average price of the exchanges where the cryptocurrencies are listed.


Masternode
A masternode is rewarded in coins each time it adds and validates a block. The addition of each block and therefore the corresponding rewards are randomly assigned to the different masternodes. In addition to rewards, a PoS protocol may offer to use economic penalties to prevent hacker attacks. If an attack is detected, the protocol may provide for the application of a penalty system to the pirate forger, who would automatically lose his deposited coins.


Mining/Mining
Mining refers to the process of solving a mathematical problem or computing challenge imposed by a blockchain’s Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus. Mining activity requires varying computing power depending on the blockchain algorithm and mining difficulty. This activity validates and processes transactions while maintaining network security and synchronization. Miners are rewarded for their work by generating and/or distributing new tokens.


Nuncio
In cryptography, a nonce is a random number, intended to be used only once, which is added to an immutable sequence of characters to find a new hash when passing through encryption software. As the long sequence of characters formed by a block is indeed immutable, miners have no choice but to try billions of nonces for each block, until they find the one that leads to a hash satisfying the current level of difficulty for his block to be accepted by the network.


Nick Szabo
Nick Szabo is a lawyer, computer scientist and cryptographer, and his work is at the origin of the creation of cryptocurrencies and smart contracts. The expression and the concept of smart contract is for the first time developed by Nick Szabo in order to improve contract law and facilitate e-commerce protocols between foreigners. This is also the origin of a cryptocurrency mechanism called Bit Gold designed in 1998. Although not having won the support of the population, Bit Gold lays the foundations of the Bitcoin architecture.


Nodes/nodes
Nodes are the participants in a peer-to-peer network that perform certain unpaid backup, validation, verification, or data transfer functions, if they do not engage in mining ( PoW ) or minting (PoS). In the network of a blockchain like that of Bitcoin for example, a node is a computer that stores the entire ledger (all transactions that have taken place since the creation of the cryptocurrency) and which transfers user requests to miners. The number and availability of nodes are important factors in the quality and reliability of a decentralized network.


Oracle
Oracles are professional, neutral and certified providers of information. An oracle is often a person but can also be an application that directly or indirectly collects a very specific type of information in the real world, enters it into blockchain networks and is paid by the holders or beneficiaries of the blockchains. Oracles intervene when an injection of data coming from very precise sources external to the network (meteorological services for example) or observations that only people can carry out is necessary. Oracles are indispensable players in some blockchain-managed smart contracts and predictive markets.


Order book
The order book means “order book” in French. This is the list of buy or sell orders from a market, which can be observed for each cryptocurrency on an exchange platform. The order book is updated in real time throughout the day and can give information about other traders’ expectations of market movements.


Over The Counter
Over the counter, abbreviated OTC, or “over-the-counter” in French, is a type of financial transaction in which two natural persons or entities are put in direct contact to exchange assets, therefore without going through a stock market platform or an exchange. , usually with large sums of money at stake. In the world of cryptocurrencies, the most important exchanges offer this functionality from a certain rather high amount. This type of transaction therefore incurs higher costs than simply using the exchange to sell or buy, but has the advantage of discretion, since the price of the transaction is not disclosed, and a certain form of security because the two people or entities are directly connected and can meet physically to carry out the transaction. Over-the-counter transactions also make it possible to exchange assets whose quality or quantity do not lend themselves well to the standards of stock exchange platforms. Finally, an OTC transaction allows both parties to insure themselves against the payment default of the other party such as on a stock exchange or an exchange, but using other mechanisms. You should know that in the United States, about 40% of stock transactions are over-the-counter.


PIP
The pip is a unit of measurement that is used in the Forex market, but which can also be used in cryptocurrency, especially for CFDs. A pip defines the change in value between two currencies and represents the smallest movement a currency can make. In trading or investing, the pip is used to calculate the spread (the difference) between the buying price and the selling price of a currency pair, place a Stop Loss or a Take Profit.


PIHR
A PIHR, high yield investment platform, HYIP or high yield investment platform in English, is a type of fraudulent investment of the Ponzi pyramid type which experienced a new youth with cryptocurrencies and made many victims at the end of 2017 with the surge in the price of cryptocurrencies, the most emblematic of which was Bitconnect.


Pump
A pump is a sharp and sustained rise in the price of an asset. The opposite of the pump is the dump. A pump remains a rather violent movement on a market, and often generates other mechanisms by snowball effect.


Plasma
The Plasma project is jointly led by Joseph Poon and Vitalik Buterin and aims to improve the scalability and speed of Ethereum. The Plasma project is similar to what the Lightning Network brings to Bitcoin and consists of offering an overlay to the Ethereum blockchain in order to lighten the network. The project calls for all transaction data to be aggregated on the Plasma blockchain, which will communicate with the Ethereum blockchain to securely validate blocks. The goal of Plasma is to allow Ethereum to support several thousand or even hundreds of thousands of transactions per second (against 20 transactions per second today).


Poloniex
Like Bittrex and Binance, Poloniex is a major exchange specializing in altcoins and not accepting fiat currencies.


Panic sell
The “panic sell” consists of selling a cryptocurrency in an emergency for fear that the price will collapse. This often happens in the cryptocurrency market as soon as bad news is announced, or a price drop suddenly accelerates. The most experienced and well-educated traders do not panic sell and manage to maintain good risk management to avoid hasty and unthoughtful decisions.


Paper wallet
A paper wallet is a physical wallet allowing you to print your private key on paper in order to keep it in a safe place (the best being a safe) and to use it only when needed. The paper wallet is cold storage, or “cold storage”, which is ideal for securing your assets over the long term (several months or even several years). However, it is very impractical if you regularly want to connect to your wallet to send funds. The paper wallet is for example not suitable if you want to carry out trading activities with the funds it contains.


Peer to peer
A peer to peer network, peer to peer in French, is a network without a central organ or server, where each computer can play the role of client or server, that is to say, it can offer all the services of a central server, namely the storage and processing of data, the allocation of tasks, the communication of information and data, and being itself a client of the network, that is to say issuing requests. A peer to peer system is not necessarily decentralized, but it is for almost all cryptocurrencies. It allows, for example, to set up file sharing as in the case of Bittorrent, or distributed computing as in the case of cryptocurrencies. It also gives a significant advantage in terms of security, because the essential functions and data of the network are not concentrated on a central server,


Entry point
When we refer to the entry point without further precision, we are actually referring to the entry point in a trading position. The position can be long or short, but in all cases, its entry point will be decisive for the success of the trade. A bad entry point can make exit very difficult. Knowing how to set your entry point is therefore decisive for carrying out an effective and viable trading strategy over the long term.


exit point
The exit point refers to when a trader closes their position. The exit can therefore result in a gain or a loss depending on the entry point. The exit point is more difficult to determine than the entry point for many traders. This is even more true in the cryptocurrency market, which is very difficult to predict. Defining your exit point therefore requires having a trading and risk management plan, and always combining your fundamental analysis with your technical analysis without letting your emotions take over.


Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance
The goal of Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) protocols is to allow a distributed network to achieve sufficient consensus despite the presence of malicious or faulty nodes in the system. These nodes could indeed communicate incorrect information to the rest of the network and jeopardize its durability. The purpose of a BFT is to protect the network against these Byzantine Faults (“Byzantine Failures”) by reducing their influence. The Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (pBFT) algorithm, introduced in 1999 by Miguel Castro and Barbara Liskov, is one of the different BFT protocols and is today one of the most popular. This has the advantage of being able to perform tens of thousands of transactions per second and maintains network security as long as less than a third of its nodes are malicious.


Proof of Stake
The Proof of stake, proof of stake in French, is one of the most widespread blockchain consensus mechanisms. The idea of ​​this algorithm is to assign the determination of consensus by adding blocks to the blockchain to nodes called masternodes which hold a certain amount of the coins of the blockchain in question. This amount is systematically clearly indicated by the issuer of the cryptocurrency.


Proof of Work
The Proof of work, proof of work in French, is one of the two major consensus algorithms for blockchain. It is also the oldest, since Bitcoin is based on this consensus protocol. In a public blockchain, a consensus algorithm is used to designate the block that is added to the blockchain at a time T and therefore the “truth” of this blockchain. Creating blocks of transactions is easy for a computer connected to the network. A process is therefore needed to determine for each block a single participant will add it to the chain, because the chain must be unique. The idea of ​​Proof of work is to require miners to perform a certain work, namely to solve a very difficult mathematical problem whose solution can only be found by chance, to allow them to add their block to the chain and thus determine the consensus at a given time. They will then be able to receive remuneration (12.5 bitcoins per block for the current case of Bitcoin). The major problem of Proof of work is that it generates a phenomenal energy expenditure because the miners engage in a race for power to be able to solve this mathematical problem first and thus pocket the rewards. It also favors miners with the most means to invest in computer equipment and electricity. The major problem of Proof of work is that it generates a phenomenal energy expenditure because the miners engage in a race for power to be able to solve this mathematical problem first and thus pocket the rewards. It also favors miners with the most means to invest in computer equipment and electricity. The major problem of Proof of work is that it generates a phenomenal energy expenditure because the miners engage in a race for power to be able to solve this mathematical problem first and thus pocket the rewards. It also favors miners with the most means to invest in computer equipment and electricity.


Crowd psychology
Crowd psychology refers to the mass behaviors that can be observed in a particular situation. In trading, it is essential to understand the psychology of crowds and anticipate it to build a winning strategy. The behavior and actions of the crowd as an entity are strongly influenced by the loss of responsibility of individuals. The role of the trader is to maintain his responsibility and to position himself as a spectator of the crowd to adapt his positions according to his behavior.


Public address/Private key
The public/private key couple is fundamental in asymmetric cryptography and materializes in cryptocurrencies in the form of public address/private key (public address/private key in French). The public address is like an IBAN: it is used to receive coins and is specific to a given cryptocurrency. It can be distributed to the whole world because it is theoretically impossible to determine its private key. The private key gives us control of a public address and therefore of the funds attached to it. It is very easy to generate public addresses from private keys, but the reverse is impossible: this is the principle of asymmetric cryptography.


KING
ROI is an English acronym for Return on Investment, “return on investment” in French. The ROI gives a very important indication of the profitability of an investment or a trade. It is calculated by taking the ratio of the profit obtained to the amount invested. As an example, a 100% ROI means doing “times two” – doubling your original bet.


Root
On each computer system, there are several levels of rights. On Windows for example, the guest session makes it possible to strongly limit the number of permissions on the computer.

Having a “rooted” device simply means that you have access to the highest level of rights possible. This has advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage is that you will be able to modify absolutely all the parameters, but if ever an individual came into possession of your device, he could also have easy access to the most sensitive parameters.

Andrea Antonopoulos warns in one of her videos that mobile phones are generally more secure than computers and therefore it is better to store your bitcoins there. However, more and more phones are “rooted” by users to unlock functions. This is the famous iPhone jailbreak. In this case, storing your bitcoins on your phone is not recommended, and in general you will have to turn  to a hardware wallet .


Range
In finance, the range is, as its translation into French indicates, a price range in which an investor thinks that an asset will evolve during a certain period.


Raiden Network
The Raiden Network offers an off-chain scaling solution for Ethereum to help the blockchain be able to keep up with a higher transaction frequency without having to fork. The network works with a system of state channels, in other words zones allowing to manage transactions outside the blockchain. The states channels make it possible both to accelerate the speed of transactions and to reduce their costs. Like the Plasma project, Raiden therefore aims to improve the performance of the Ethereum network.


Resistance
Support and resistance levels are fundamental to technical analysis in trading. A resistance is a threshold from which downward movements slow down the rise in prices: we therefore observe a certain level, which the price of a cryptocurrency never or very rarely seems to exceed. This threshold can be considered as an interesting sell signal. Very often, once reached, it therefore leads to a bearish correction. But the difficulty remains knowing how to correctly identify a level of resistance.


Fibonacci retracements
Fibonacci retracements are a method used to set price targets during a consolidation phase. The idea is to assess the level of corrections or rebounds to position yourself correctly on a trend. In this sequence, each number is equal to the addition of the two previous digits: 1,1,2,3,5,8 ,13,21…This sequence allowed us to discover the golden number 1.618 and the golden ratio 0.618. Each number in the sequence is more or less equal to 0.618 times the next number and 1.618 times the previous number. It is from the golden ratio that one can determine the Fibonacci retracements.


Scam
Scam is a slang term meaning “scam”, it is simply a scam. A project is a “scam” when the instigators of it leave with funds from investors, for example.


Spot
The “spot” price is the spot price of an asset. This price is set for immediate delivery in a spot market, as opposed to the futures market. The spot market provides the investor with price stability and is therefore less risky than the futures market.


Segwit
Segwit is an update (soft fork) applied in August 2017 to the Bitcoin blockchain, and then to those of other currencies such as Litecoin, Digibyte or Vertcoin which means “segregated witness”, “segregated witness” in literal translation. The goal of Segwit is to increase the scalability of the network by decreasing the size of transaction id (Tx-ID). This system gets around the fact that block sizes cannot be increased by changing the way space is counted from bytes to units, this sleight of hand inflating the maximum block size from 1 to 1.8 Mo.The data of each transaction is separated into two parts: the information on the donor, the receiver and the transaction on the one hand (public addresses and number of coins transmitted), which are not modified by Segwit, and the new “witness” structure, which contains validation scripts and signatures, and takes up four times less space than in the pre-Segwit system. The signatures are separated from their transaction and put end to end together at the end of the series of numbers and letters made by the miners to form blocks. By removing the signature from the Tx-ID, Segwit also makes it impossible to modify.


Spread
The spread is the difference between the offer price to buy (Ask) and to sell (Bid) of an asset. It can also designate the price difference between two trading platforms and allow for arbitrage.


Satcoin
A satcoin is a coin that is worth a few satoshis, or practically nothing.


Satoshi
A satoshi, named after the mysterious inventor of bitcoin, is a unit of account that represents one hundred millionth of a bitcoin, or very little money. It is the smallest fraction of a bitcoin.


Support
A support is a threshold from which upward movements slow down the price decline. It is therefore the opposite of a resistance. The support can therefore correspond to the end of a bearish period and announce the upward recovery of a price. A support is therefore an interesting entry point for buyers. In the cryptocurrency market, supports are more difficult to determine than in stable markets, because the values ​​are much more volatile and frequently break their support and resistance levels.


Scalping
Scalping is a very fast trading method similar to microtrading. Positions only last a few seconds to a few minutes. Very often, scalping is done on futures or CFDs. Scalping is particularly effective on range periods with very little volatility. We distinguish scalping from day trading or swing trading, for which the positions are much longer.


Sharding
Sharding is the act of partitioning a blockchain in order to improve its scalability. Sharding is planned for the Ethereum blockchain. The goal is to increase the number of transactions per second on the network, by partitioning all computational resources into shards so that each node only has to process shards of the state of the blockchain to operate faster . Sharding aims to go from 15 transactions per second to 1 million transactions per second. Note that the scalability of Ethereum is the subject of several other projects, such as Plasma and the Raiden Network.


Shitcoin
A shitcoin is a cryptocurrency with no viable project, no serious technical basis and therefore no intrinsic value. This type of coin is often used to speculate in order to take advantage of price volatility. However, some shitcoin projects are very well disguised scams that can easily deceive investors who are a little too fooled. It is therefore very important to find out precisely about each project before obtaining tokens.


Soft cap
A soft cap is a term specific to ICOs. This term designates the minimum amount that an entity must raise in order to carry out its project. In theory, when the soft cap is not reached, the project has little chance of succeeding and considers that it will not be able to carry out its development activities for lack of a sufficient budget. Often, the ICO is therefore canceled and the funds returned to the participants. The founders can however decide to continue their project, even when the soft cap is not reached.


Solidity
Solidity is the programming language initially used by Ethereum for the development of smart contracts and DApps. Many blockchains have taken it up but Ethereum remains today an undisputed leader in its field. Other blockchains offer alternatives allowing developers to avoid having to learn Solidity, which remains quite complex. This is for example the case of Lisk, which offers the possibility of developing DApps in JavaScript.


Sidechain
A sidechain is a child blockchain attached to a parent blockchain. The purpose of this architecture is to be able to segment the information in order to increase the volume of information processed while making communication possible between the parent chain and the child chains. The sidechain architecture is a response to the scalability problems encountered by first and second generation blockchains, which today must find solutions to increase their number of transactions per second. Projects like Ardor or Lisk are based on sidechains and are attracting great interest from the crypto community.


Stop Loss
The stop loss is a type of order in finance which consists of indicating to the market place that one is ready to buy or sell an asset when it has reached a certain price. If this price (stop price in English, or trigger threshold in French) is reached, the stop loss order becomes a normal buy or sell order and will be executed more or less quickly depending on market liquidity.


Scalability
The word “scalability” is a neologism using the English verb “to scale”, which means “to scale”. Scalability designates the capacity of a system to be able to operate with the same efficiency on a larger scale, for example with hundreds of millions of additional users compared to a time T. Scalability is a major problem of blockchains and makes the object of many reflections, both for Bitcoin and for Ethereum. Next-gen blockchains are making this a priority to qualify for mass adoption.


Security token
A security token grants its investor a reward right that allows him to be remunerated according to the wealth created by the company. The security differs from the equity token, which assigns a right of possession of a security and therefore corresponds to a participation in the capital of the company. We can somehow bring security tokens closer to ETFs or mutual funds. Overall, however, this type of asset remains very specific to the blockchain.


Short Selling
In finance, short selling, or short selling in French, consists of selling an asset that we do not hold on the day of the sale but that we will obtain on the day it must be delivered. The person who sells short therefore bets on the fall in the price of the asset, which can be a share, a currency, a commodity or a cryptocurrency, because he hopes to buy on the day of delivery the asset cheaper than the the day she sold it (short), implying that its price would have fallen. In this case, the short seller is said to have a short position and the holder of a security has a long position.


Digital signature
The digital, or electronic, signature is a process that makes it possible to guarantee the integrity of an electronic document and to authenticate its author. Most use asymmetric cryptography, especially in the case of cryptocurrencies. Such a process must make it possible to identify the person or organization who has affixed his signature, and to guarantee that the document has not been altered between the moment when the person or organization affixes his signature and when the reader consult it. This process is constantly used in cryptocurrency systems to validate transactions: the digital signature, which varies according to each currency, allows the sender of a request to show that he is indeed the holder of the private key associated with the public address it uses, without having to reveal this private key, which would take away all interest from the system. The digital signature also makes it possible to guarantee that the transaction has not been modified during its short passage on the network: the slightest change in the transaction data would completely modify the electronic signature.


Stablecoins
A stablecoin is a coin that replicates the value of a stable asset generally outside the world of cryptocurrencies, the US dollar or gold for example, making them safe havens for investors who want to protect themselves against high volatility. of the cryptocurrency market without leaving it. Indeed, when an investor thinks that the cryptocurrency market will go down, he buys stablecoins (Tether in particular), and sells them against cryptocurrencies when he thinks that the market will go up, so that the BTC/USDT pairs ( Bitcoin/Tether) and ETH/USDT are systematically the first trading pairs for these currencies.


Stop Limit
Stop Limit is an order to buy or sell a cryptocurrency on the condition that its price is within the range of 2 amounts: the “stop” and the “limit”. The principle is to have better control of its orders than with a simple stop loss, because it happens to see the order greatly exceeding the threshold envisaged. The stop limit therefore makes it possible to define a range outside of which a sale or a purchase cannot take place.


Swing Trading
Swing trading refers to trading operations with rather long positions. The time difference between the opening and closing of orders exceeds 24 hours, so swing trading involves taking a longer position than in day trading. The goal is to enter the market at the beginning of a trend and exit when it runs out of steam. The difficulty is therefore to find a good entry point, but above all a good exit point, to maximize your gains while minimizing your losses.


Taker
A taker is a trader or investor who buys at market price. His buy or sell order will therefore be executed immediately. The taker reads the order book and buys or sells at the most satisfactory price at the time. Takers buy and sell at the market price, while makers act on market prices by setting up or down sell or buy prices.


Token
We distinguish the token from the coin, although there is not yet a clear consensus on their definition and the differences between a token and a coin. A token can be thought of as a digital voucher whose uniqueness is mathematically provable and can be exchanged for assets, services or goods. Ether is both a coin and a token: it is a coin in its role as currency as a unit of account, store of value or intermediary of exchanges. It is also a token in its ability to provide access to a service, when it is used to pay for Gas and thus have access to the functionalities of the EVM. Therefore, pure “coins” (Bitcoin, Monero, Dash, Litecoin etc.) can only be coins. But REM, DFT, LSK, EOS, GNT, STRAT and many others can be coins as well as tokens. CoinMarketCap’s definition is different and considers a token to be a cryptocurrency that does not (yet) have its own blockchain. A token is generally created on the ETH blockchain, but it can also be on that of Next, Omni, Counterparty or even Neo. According to this definition, a coin is a cryptocurrency with its own blockchain. The concept of token does not come directly from the cryptocurrency ecosystem: it is much older. A token already designated several centuries ago, in England in particular, a currency parallel to the national monetary unit issued by a guild, a group of traders, or even a city, and accepted by the power in place. but it can also be on that of Next, Omni, Counterparty or even Neo. According to this definition, a coin is a cryptocurrency with its own blockchain. The concept of token does not come directly from the cryptocurrency ecosystem: it is much older. A token already designated several centuries ago, in England in particular, a currency parallel to the national monetary unit issued by a guild, a group of traders, or even a city, and accepted by the power in place. but it can also be on that of Next, Omni, Counterparty or even Neo. According to this definition, a coin is a cryptocurrency with its own blockchain. The concept of token does not come directly from the cryptocurrency ecosystem: it is much older. A token already designated several centuries ago, in England in particular, a currency parallel to the national monetary unit issued by a guild, a group of traders, or even a city, and accepted by the power in place.


Tangle
The Tangle is a DLT architecture based on a DAG (Directed Acyclic Graph). IOTA originated the term and is the first to propose its application. In the Tangle, a transaction validates two past transactions. The consensus is not managed by a part of the network (miners or forgers), but by all the active participants (ie devices carrying out transactions). The Tangle is therefore highly decentralized, but weakly secure.


Tether
Tether is a stablecoin pegged to the value of the US dollar. The only function of tether is therefore to always be worth a US dollar. Its role is very important for the cryptocurrency market, because it allows investors to stay in this market even when it goes down instead of reselling their cryptocurrencies for fiat currencies. Tether is always in the first twenty market capitalizations: it is therefore a heavyweight in the market as a safe haven. To ensure that the value of tether is always stable and remains at 1 tether = 1 dollar, Tether Ltd issues and sells tokens to permanently act on the course as a regulator. Tether is widely used to buy cryptocurrencies, in particular bitcoin and and ether. Around 30% of ETH is indeed purchased in USDT. If tether were to collapse because it was found that Tether Ltd did not hold the $2.5 billion of tether in circulation, it could take the entire market with it in a matter of days. Other stablecoins are emerging, however, and tether will soon no longer be the only safe haven in the cryptocurrency market.


Ticker
All fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies are represented on the markets by a symbol called a ticker, such as BCH for bitcoin cash, USD for US dollar or DFT for Draftcoin.


Trader
A trader, or market operator in French, is a negotiator of financial products which can be stocks, bonds, cryptocurrencies, derivatives, and who operates on organized or over-the-counter markets. A trader usually works in a trading room during the hours of the marketplace on which he operates, but this is set to change with the fact that cryptocurrency markets operate 24/7. An individual can also offer his trading services if he has acquired expertise in this area by being, for example, specialized in a certain market place or a certain type of financial product.


Testnet
A testnet is a prototype mainnet used to perform protocol and network testing without risking harm to users. The launch of a testnet is a first good news for a blockchain, because it allows to have a prototype to show to investors to witness the progress of the project. However, it is when a blockchain launches its mainnet that it is fully operational and its tokens have real value. Before this stage, any investment remains a big bet on the future, and a blockchain project may never launch its mainnet.


Trading
Trading is the activity carried out by a trader, namely the trading (buying and selling) of financial products with the aim of making a profit.


Take profit
Take profit is a stock market operation consisting of leaving a market by selling because it is considered that the listed asset has gained enough value and that its price should fall very soon. This does not mean that the investor will not return to this market: he will probably do so when the price of the asset has fallen sufficiently or if, on the contrary, it starts rising sharply again.


To the moon
“To the moon” is an expression very frequently used by crypto communities. It designates the enthusiasm for a cryptocurrency, whose investors see its value grow “to the moon”. The expression often comes up during a bullish period or when a currency makes a pump. We generally find the expression on social networks via different memes. Often, the “to the moon” message is accompanied by a rocket-shaped emoji.


Tokenisation
Tokenization refers to the process of digitizing an asset on a token (and more specifically a security token). It thus makes it possible to assign rights of possession or use of this asset to different people and to exchange its tokens peer-to-peer on a blockchain. The tokenization phenomenon could eventually affect all types of goods and assets: real estate, furniture, financial securities, but also works of art and other valuables, patents, credits, copyrights, raw materials, etc. he advantage of tokenization is to significantly increase the liquidity of assets.


Blockchain Trilemma
The blockchain trilemma is a limit put forward by Vitalik Buterin based on observations of the first generations of blockchain. For now, it would seem impossible to create a system that provides an excellent level of decentralization, security, and scalability at the same time. The first blockchains presented excellent levels of decentralization and security, but big problems of scalability. New solutions, especially micro-payment blockchains like IOTA, emphasize scalability, but this is currently at the expense of network security. The blockchain trilemma is currently relevant and the priority now is to find a satisfactory compromise between these three criteria.


Triple hollow
The triple bottom is a chart pattern also called triple bottom reversal. The triple bottom or triple bottom reversal is a bullish reversal pattern. This situation therefore appears at the end of the downtrend. This figure is also called this “wv” figure. The triple bottom is moving between a support line and a horizontal resistance line. The figure indicates the running out of selling current. The troughs are therefore less and less low. We can generally take a long position from the formation of the second or third trough.


three crows
The three crows are a reversal pattern of Japanese candlesticks. In an upward trend or on high market levels, they can announce a drop in prices. The three crows are three black candlesticks. Ideally, the body of the first candlestick is above the highest part of the previous white candlesticks. Each candle open is inside the body of the previous candle. All three candlesticks close at their low.


UTXO
The term “UTXO” is the acronym for “Unspent Transaction Output” or in French “unspent transaction output”. This term is one of the pillars of Bitcoin (BTC). It refers more to a system involving various technical notions, than to a simple definition. To put it simply, Bitcoin is a register of transactions. The coinbase brings new bitcoins freshly mined on the network by an “input”. As these bitcoins move, there will be a whole bunch of input for the receiver, and output for the sender. Each Bitcoin wallet thus represents several inputs (the bitcoins that you have entered into your wallet) and several outputs (the bitcoins that you have sent).


Uptrend
Uptrend, bullish trend in French, designates a market in which prices tend to appreciate, which can be seen graphically by observing the price curves.


Use case
The term “use case” is not specific to blockchain or cryptocurrencies. On the other hand, it is particularly used to designate the different use cases of the blockchain, which arouse the interest of many companies in all types of sectors of activity: supply chain, management control, human resources management, finance, trade. international… Many sectors of activity are interested in the various use cases of the blockchain, and wish to exploit its potential.


Utility token
Utility tokens are tokens dedicated to the use of a platform and are intended to serve as currency in exchange for platform services. The value of a utility token is correlated to that of the platform and therefore to the number of users who trust the product. Utility tokens are the most numerous on the market, and paradoxically, are also the least useful. Few utility tokens bring real added value to platforms, which generally also accept fiat currencies to grow their number of users.


Vaporware
A vaporware, from the English terms meaning “steam” and “merchandise”, is sometimes translated by the term “fumiciel” in French. Initially, vaporware refers to software whose release is announced but the launch is constantly postponed, which can make a project suspicious. In the world of cryptocurrencies, the adjective “vaporware” designates a coin that has no real project and is therefore not worth much. There are also the terms “shitcoin” and “scam”. Examples: Veritaseum, Paccoin, Fucktoken, Dimoincoin…


Vitalik Buterin
Vitalik Buterin is the co-founder of Ethereum, the second largest blockchain after Bitcoin. Born on January 31, 1994, Vitalik Buterin is a genius developer of his generation. He is also known for being a co-founder of Bitcoin Magazine. Buterin is highly appreciated by the crypto community and is one of the mythical figures of the ecosystem.


Volatility
Volatility represents the variations in the price of a currency (or another security) over a defined period. The higher it is, the more the security is considered to be risky, since we have no guarantee that its value will not drop significantly in a short period of time. Volatility is very high in the cryptocurrency market, which makes it a risky market, but also very profitable for good traders.


Wall
A wall refers to a very large buy or sell order. We use the word “wall” because the importance of the order displays as a wall on the orderbook and occupies all the available space.


Whale
A whale, a whale in French, is an investor with significant weight in a market. In the world of cryptocurrency, whales are generally people who invested very early in bitcoin and accumulated a large enough amount of cryptocurrency to influence prices by making a transaction.


Wallet
A wallet, portfolio in French, is an application that manages your private keys and therefore your cryptocurrencies. An electronic wallet offers several functions: display the balance of your coins, create public addresses and private keys, send and receive coins… There are four types of wallets: paper wallet, hardware wallet, desktop wallet, and exchange wallet.


Weekly
The weekly, weekly in French, is a summary sent generally on Monday by media or agencies specializing in the financial markets summarizing the news of the past week and what should happen the week of the sending.


Whitelist
A whitelist, “white list” in English, is a list of people authorized to participate in an ICO. The organizers of the ICO ask you to meet certain criteria that are fairly easy to achieve (have a valid e-mail address, prove that you have an off-exchange ETH wallet, etc.) to join their whitelist, to give an exclusive side to their ICO.


Weak hands
“Weak hands” is a derisive term for people who panic easily and sell their cryptocurrency very quickly at the slightest negative rumor or the start of a downtrend. This type of behavior often causes their investors to lose a lot of money, which is why it is important to have full knowledge of the market risks and to have trading plans to manage your risk.


White hat / Black hat
The terms “black hat” and “white hat” refer to individuals who are experts in computer security. They use their skills to break into a computer system without the designer’s permission. The “white hat” will then designate an ethical hacker, who alerts the company to the presence of a security breach. Conversely, the “black hat” will be the one who exploits the flaw for his personal interest, for example by stealing data to resell them on the Internet.


White paper
The white paper is the white paper of a cryptocurrency. It defines its technological bases, explains its consensus mechanism (algorithm, rewards) and possibly presents a business model and a business plan if the cryptocurrency is a token. The study of the whitepaper allows you to learn more about each project, its team, and to form a personal opinion on its viability before investing. This is the best possible source of information for learning about a cryptocurrency project.

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SAKHRI Mohamed
SAKHRI Mohamed

The blog of a computer enthusiast who shares news, tutorials, tips, online tools and software for Windows, macOS, Linux, Web designer and Video games.

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2 Comments

  1. A
    account
    A public and private keypair that “holds” your funds.

    Your funds are actually stored on the blockchain, not in the wallet or account. Just like your Reddit account has a username (public) and password (private), so does your Ethereum account–the difference being that you are the custodian of your Ethereum keys, while Reddit holds your login information for their site. For additional security, you can use a password to encrypt your private key which would result in a username (public) and password (private) and password for that password (private + more secure). See also ‘keystore file’.

    address / public key
    Used to send and receive transactions on a blockchain network. An address is an alphanumeric character string, which can also be represented as a scannable QR code. In Ethereum, the address begins with 0x. For example: 0x06A85356DCb5b307096726FB86A78c59D38e08ee

    air-gapping
    A method for securing computers in which the device does not connect to the internet or any other open networks.

    airdrop
    A token distribution method used to send cryptocurrency or tokens to wallet addresses. Sometimes airdrops are used for marketing purposes in exchange for simple tasks like reshares, referrals, or app downloads.

    altcoin
    Any digital currency alternative to Bitcoin. Many altcoins are forks of Bitcoin with minor changes (e.g., Litecoin). See also ‘fork’.

    AML (Anti-Money Laundering)
    A set of international laws enacted to diminish the potential for criminal organizations or individuals to launder money. These rules and laws are applied to cryptocurrencies with varying effects in different jurisdictions.

    API (Application Programming Interface)
    A software intermediary that allows two separate applications to communicate with one another. APIs define methods of communication between various components.

    ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit)
    ASICs are silicon chips designed to do a specific task. In ASIC use for mining cryptocurrencies, the ASIC will perform a calculation to find values that provide a desired solution when placed into a hashing algorithm.

    attestation
    Under the Proof of Stake mechanism (on the Beacon Chain), every validator other than the one proposing a new block will provide an attestation, or vote, in favor of a block with which it agrees, hereby forming consensus and confirming the block and the transactions it contains. See also ‘Proof of Stake’.

    B
    Beacon Chain
    The Beacon Chain (always capitalized) is one element in the infrastructure being built to scale Ethereum, and is the foundation for a transition from a Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism to Proof of Stake (PoS). For more information, see this guide.

    Bitcoin / bitcoin (BTC)
    The first cryptocurrency based on a Proof of Work (PoW) blockchain. Bitcoin was created in 2009 by Satoshi Nakomoto — a pseudonym for an individual whose real identity is unknown — and the concept of cryptocurrency was outlined in a white paper titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” Use “Bitcoin” for the blockchain/network; “bitcoin” for the cryptocurrency. The plural of bitcoin is just bitcoin; the abbreviation is BTC, with a space: I have 250 BTC.

    block
    Think of a blockchain as consisting of a ledger that is being constantly updated, and those changes synced between any number of different nodes (indeed, “distributed ledger technology” is another phrase used to describe it).

    After a certain number of transactions have been added to the ledger and consensus has been reached among the nodes that the transactions are valid, then they are cryptographically locked into a “block” and officially recorded. This “block” forms the basis for the next one; in this way, they are all linked together in a chain, hence–blockchain.

    block height
    The number of blocks connected together in the blockchain. For example, Height 0 would be the very first block, which is also called the Genesis Block.

    block reward
    The reward given to a miner after it has successfully hashed a transaction block. Block rewards can be a mixture of coins and transaction fees. The composition depends on the policy used by the cryptocurrency in question, and whether all of the coins have already been successfully mined. The current block reward for the Bitcoin network is 12.5 bitcoins per block.

    block time
    When we talk about ‘block time’, we’re referring to how long it takes for a block of transactions (see ‘block’) to be confirmed by the network, either by miners under PoW or by validators under PoS. See also ‘Proof of Work’, ‘Proof of Stake’.

    blockchain
    A digital ledger comprised of unchangeable, digitally recorded data in packages called blocks. Each block is ‘chained’ to the next block using a cryptographic signature. Ethereum is a public blockchain, open to the world; its digital ledger is distributed, or synced, between many nodes; these nodes arrive at consensus regarding whether a transaction is valid before encrypting a number of transactions into a block. For more on blockchain technology, see here. See also ‘block’.

    bounty / bug bounty
    A reward offered for exposing vulnerabilities and issues in computer code.

    brain wallet
    A blockchain account generated from a seed phrase or password or passphrase of your choosing. Humans are not capable of generating enough entropy, or randomness, and therefore the wallets derived from these phrases are insecure; brain wallets can be brute forced by super fast computers. For this reason, brain wallet are insecure and should not be used. See also ‘Seed phrase / Secret Recovery Phrase’.

    BUIDL
    Ostensibly coined (see what we did there) by Gitcoin’s Kevin Owocki. It reflects the Ethereum-focused mindset of not just investing in a cryptocurrency as a store of value, but rather investing in it as an ecosystem and a platform for public goods and software; it complements, in this sense, the now-infamous HODL.

    bytecode
    Bytecode is a “low-level” computer language, that is, meant to be processed by a computer, rather than a “high-level”, more human-readable, language. In Ethereum, higher-level Solidity is compiled into Ethereum bytecode, which is read by the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).

    Byzantium fork
    A “hard fork” in the Ethereum network that occurred in October of 2017. For detailled information, see here; see also “hard fork”.

    C
    client (Ethereum)
    An Ethereum client is software that accesses the Ethereum blockchain via a local computer and helps to process transactions. A client usually includes a cryptocurrency software wallet. See an up-to-date list of clients here.

    Codefi
    Derived from “Commerce & Decentralized Finance”, Codefi, part of ConsenSys, is building a suite of commerce and financial applications.

    coin
    A coin, in cryptocurrency, is a representation of digital asset value that is generated via its own independent blockchain.

    cold wallet / cold storage
    An offline wallet that is never connected to the internet. These wallets protect cryptocurrencies from getting hacked online.

    confirmation
    A confirmation happens when the network has verified the blockchain transaction. Under a Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism, this happens through a process known as mining; under Proof of Stake (PoS), the process is known as validation. Once a transaction is successfully confirmed it theoretically cannot be reversed or double spent. The more confirmations a transaction has, the harder it becomes to perform a double spend attack.

    consensus
    The process used by a group of peers, or nodes, on a blockchain network to agree on the validity of transactions submitted to the network. Dominant consensus mechanisms are Proof of Work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS).

    ConsenSys
    Short for Consensus Systems, ConsenSys is the software engineering leader of the blockchain space. But you’re here, so you already knew that.

    Constantinople fork
    One of the “hard forks” made to the Ethereum network, in February 2019. For more detailed information, see here; see also “hard fork”.

    contract
    See ‘smart contract’.

    crypto-
    Even though this prefix is originally Greek, our current usage comes from cryptography. Technologies that are referred to with the blanket term of “crypto” tech are underlain by cryptographic tools and processes (such as public/private key pairs) that enable them, and enable them to be secure. Of course, “cryptocurrency” often gets shortened to simply “crypto”, so this emerging field is full of instances where something “crypto” is being added to or shortened.

    crypto bounties
    Bounties paid for in cryptocurrency. See also “bug bounties”.

    crypto-compliance
    A blanket term used to refer to ensuring crypto projects conform with applicable regulations and laws.

    cryptoeconomics
    The economic analysis of decentralized finance; notably, the MIT Cryptoeconomics Lab.

    cryptoassets
    A useful blanket term that covers on-chain assets: cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and other, still emerging, products.

    cryptocurrency
    Digital currency that is based on mathematics and uses encryption techniques to regulate the creation of units of currency as well as verifying the transfer of funds. Cryptocurrencies operate independently of a central bank, and are kept track of through distributed ledger technology.

    cryptography
    A method for secure communication using code. Symmetric-key cryptography is used by various blockchain networks for transfer of cryptocurrencies. Blockchain addresses generated for wallets are paired with private keys that allow transfer of cryptocurrency. Paired public and private keys allow funds to be unlocked.

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    D
    DAO
    A Digital Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO, pronounced like the Chinese concept) is a powerful and very flexible organizational structure built on a blockchain.

    Alternatively, the first known example of a DAO is referred to as The DAO. The DAO served as a form of investor-directed venture capital fund, which sought to provide enterprises with new decentralized business models. Ethereum-based, The DAO’s code was open source. The organization set the record for the most crowdfunded project in 2016. Those funds were partially stolen by hackers. The hack caused an Ethereum hard-fork which lead to the creation of Ethereum Classic.

    decentralization
    The transfer of authority and responsibility from a centralized organization, government, or party to a distributed network.

    decentralized application (dapp)
    An open source, software application with backend code running on a decentralized peer-to-peer network rather than a centralized server. You may see alternate spellings: dApps, DApps, Dapps, and Đapps.

    decentralized exchange (DEX)
    A decentralized exchange is a platform for exchanging cryptocurrencies based on functionality programmed on the blockchain (i.e., in smart contracts). The trading is peer-to-peer, or between pools of liquidity. This is in contrast with a centralized exchange, which is more akin to a bank or investment firm that specializes in cryptocurrencies. There are important technical and regulatory differences between the two which are constantly evolving.

    deposit
    Digital property put into a contract involving a different party such that if certain conditions are not satisfied that property is automatically forfeited to the identified counterparty.

    derive / derivation
    To derive something is to obtain it from an original source. In the context of crypto-technology, we often discuss “deriving” wallets and accounts from seed phrases / Secret Recovery Phrases.

    Devcon
    This is shorthand for the Ethereum Developers’ Conference.

    difficulty
    The concept outlining how hard it is to verify blocks in a blockchain network during Proof of Work mining. In the Bitcoin network, the difficulty of mining adjusts every 2016 blocks. This is to keep block verification time at ten minutes.

    difficulty bomb
    The difficulty bomb, along with the Beacon Chain and others, is an element of Ethereum’s upgrade to Ethereum 2.0 and a Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. As the name indicates, the difficulty bomb is a mechanism that will increase the block verification difficulty, making it more expensive and difficult–eventually, prohibitively so–to mine a new block. The intention is to force the shift to PoS consensus. See also ‘Proof of Stake’.

    digital asset
    A digital commodity that is scarce, electronically transferable, and intangible with a market value.

    digital identity
    An online or networked identity adopted by an individual, organization, or electronic device.

    digital signature
    A code generated by public key encryption and attached to an electronically transmitted document in order to verify the contents of the document.

    Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attack
    A type of cyber-attack in which the perpetrator continuously overwhelms the system with requests in order to prevent service of legitimate requests.

    distributed ledger
    A type of database which spreads across multiple sites, countries, or institutions. Records are stored sequentially in a continuous ledger. Distributed ledger data can be either “permissioned” or “unpermissioned” to control who can view it.

    double spend
    An event during which someone on the Bitcoin network tries to send a specific bitcoin transaction to two different recipients at once. However, as each bitcoin transaction is confirmed, double spending becomes almost impossible. The more confirmations that a particular transaction has, the decreased likelihood of double spending successfully.

    E
    EIP (Ethereum Improvement Proposal)
    EIPs describe standards for the Ethereum platform, including core protocol specifications, client APIs, and contract standards. They are, precisely, proposals for modifications to the network and the way it functions; the official repository is here.

    encrypted vs unencrypted keys
    As discussed elsewhere, public and private crypographic key pairs are one of the technologies that underpins cryptocurrencies and “crypto” tech in general. In MetaMask, an unencrypted private key is 64 characters long, and it is used to unlock or restore wallets. An encrypted key is also 64 letters long and is a regular private key that has gone through the process of encryption.

    For example, if the world ‘Apple’ was your private key, then it was encrypted three letters down the alphabet, your new shortened encrypted key would be ‘Dssoh’. Since you know the way to encrypt this key, you could derive the original private key from it by reversing the method of encryption. Usually encrypted private keys are kept within the extension or device they are encrypted by, and they remain out of sight from the user. This is meant to add another layer of security to keep a user’s wallet information safe.

    encryption
    There are many types of encryption, but for our purposes, it is a process that combines the text to be encrypted (plaintext) with a shorter string of data referred to as “a key” in order to produce an output (ciphertext). This output can be “decrypted” back into the original plaintext by someone else who has the key.

    Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA)
    A group of Ethereum core developers, startups, and large companies working together to commercialize and use Ethereum for different business applications. Website here.

    entropy
    In the context of cryptography, ‘entropy’ refers to ‘randomness’; generally, the more random something is (the more entropy it has), the more secure it is.

    epoch
    An epoch, in general, is a measure of time, or of blockchain progression, on a given blockchain. For the Ethereum Beacon Chain, an epoch consists of 32 slots, each lasting 12 seconds, for a total of 6.4 minutes per epoch. There is additional functionality built upon the epoch measure in the Beacon Chain to help ensure security and proper operation of the Chain.

    ERC-20 Token Standard
    ERC is the abbreviation for Ethereum Request for Comment and is followed by the assignment number of the standard. ERC-20 is a technical standard for smart contracts which is used to issue the majority of tokens (in particular, cryptocurrency tokens) extant on Ethereum. This list of rules states the requirements that a token must fulfill to be compliant and function within the Ethereum network.

    ERC-721 Token Standard
    As stated above, this is another standard for Ethereum smart contracts, which allows for the issuance of a non-fungible token, also known as an NFT. This token standard is used to represent a unique digital asset that is not interchangeable.

    ether (ETH)
    Ether is the native currency of the Ethereum blockchain network. Ether—also referred to as ETH (pronounced with a long “e”, like “teeth” without the “t”)—functions as a fuel of the Ethereum ecosystem by acting as a medium of incentive and form of payment for network participants to execute essential operations. The cryptocurrency of Ethereum has a lowercase e. The plural of ether is just ether; its abbreviation is ETH, with a space: I have 10 ETH.

    ether (denominations)
    There are a number of denominations of the currency we know as ‘ether’ or ETH; for the definitive explanation, see the original Ethereum Homestead documentation here.

    Ethereum
    A public blockchain network and decentralized software platform upon which developers build and run applications. As it is a proper noun, it should always be capitalized.

    ENS
    The Ethereum Name Service is a protocol to assign human-readable and easy-to-remember addresses to Ethereum addresses and assets, homologous to the traditional internet’s DNS.

    ERC
    Ethereum Request for Comment, or ERC, is a bit of a misnomer, as it is used to refer to suggestions for modifications that have already made it through the Ethereum Improvement Protocol (EIP) process and have been made standard on Ethereum. An ERC is, essentially, a set of standards for a given operation or topic on the Ethereum network. The authoritative list can be found here.

    EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine)
    The EVM is a virtual machine that operates on the Ethereum network. It is Turing complete and allows anyone, anywhere to execute arbitrary EVM bytecode. All Ethereum nodes run on the EVM. It is home for smart contracts based on the Ethereum blockchain.

    exchange
    A place to trade cryptocurrency. Centralized exchanges, operated by companies like Coinbase and Gemini, function as intermediaries, while decentralized exchanges do not have a central authority.

    F
    faucet
    A faucet is an application, sometimes a very simple website, other times more complex, that dispenses cryptocurrency for use on test networks only. These faucets are used by developers to test out dapps or smart contracts before deploying them on Ethereum Mainnet, or users who want to practice an action on the blockchain with no risk. Tokens dispensed by a test faucet stay on the test networks and cannot be exchanged for mainnet equivalents.

    fiat currency
    Government-issued currency. For example, US Dollars (USD), Euros (EUR), Yuan (CNY), and Yen (JPY).

    final, finality
    A transaction is considered “final” once it can no longer be changed. In a sense, this happens once there are sufficient confirmations of the transaction, but for all intents and purposes, a transaction is final once the block that contains it is mined or validated. Keep in mind that this reflects a fundamental rule of blockchains: unlike traditional financial systems where charges can be “reversed”, there is no “undoing” a transaction on the blockchain. Once finality is reached, the transaction is immutable.

    finney
    A denomination of ether. See ether (denomination).

    fork
    A fork creates an alternative version of a blockchain, and are often enacted intentionally to apply upgrades to a network. Soft Forks render two chains with some compatibility, while Hard Forks create a new version of the chain that must be adopted to continue participation. In the instance of a contentious Hard Fork, this can create two versions of a blockchain network. See also “hard fork”.

    G
    gas
    A measure of the computational steps required for a transaction on the Ethereum network. This then equates to a fee for network users paid in small units of ETH specified as Gwei. See also “ether (denominations)”. For more on gas, see MetaMask’s user guide here.

    gas limit
    The gas limit is the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for any given transaction to go through the Ethereum network. Another way of looking at it is as a “rough estimate” of how much computing power your transaction will take.

    gas price
    The gas price is what it sounds like: the cost the network is paid for the computational work being performed in a given transaction. It is paid in units of ETH called Gwei. Depending on network congestion, the gas price may vary significantly.

    genesis block
    The initial block of data computed in the history of a blockchain network.

    Gwei
    A minuscule and common denomination of ETH, and the unit in which gas prices are often specified. See ‘ether (denominations)’ entry for more information.

    H
    halving
    Many cryptocurrencies have a finite supply, which makes them a scarce digital commodity. For example, the total amount of Bitcoin that will ever be issued is 21 million. The number of bitcoins generated per block is decreased 50% every four years. This is called “halving.” The final halving will take place in the year 2140.

    hard fork
    A hard fork occurs when there is a change in the blockchain that is not backward compatible (not compatible with older versions), thus requiring all participants to upgrade to the new version in order to be able to continue participating on the network. See also “fork”.

    hardware wallet
    A physical device that can be connected to the web and interact with online exchanges, but can also be used as cold storage (not connected to the internet).

    hash
    A programmatic function that takes an input, and then outputs an alphanumeric string known as the “hash value” or “digital fingerprint.” Each block in the blockchain contains the hash value that validated the transaction before it followed by its own hash value. Hashes confirm transactions on the blockchain.

    HD wallet
    Hierarchical Deterministic wallets were first created for Bitcoin, and enable the creation of a very large number of accounts based on an initial seed phrase. This technology was later adopted in Ethereum wallets; when restoring a MetaMask wallet from the Secret Recovery Phrase, for example, if you “create” accounts, they will be the same accounts as previously created from that same phrase; they are derived from it.

    hexadecimal
    Hexadecimal is a base 16, rather than base 10, counting system. Used all over Ethereum for a variety of things, a hexadecimal string is comprised of the numbers 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 and letters A B C D E F.

    hot wallet / hot storage
    A wallet that is directly connected to the internet at all times, for example one that is held on a centralized exchange. Hot wallets are considered to have lower security than cold storage systems or hardware wallets.

    Hyperledger
    Hyperledger is an ecosystem of open-system tools, libraries, and products designed to enable and support enterprise-grade blockchain technology. In general, the products focus on creating solutions for permissioned blockchains–that is, non-public blockchains, with alternative consensus mechanisms other than Proof of Work (PoW) or Proof of Stake (PoS).

    That said, there are use cases where such institutions would want to integrate with public blockchains, and for that reason Hyperledger Besu and Hyperledger Burrow are actively developed projects, the former being a Java-based Ethereum client, the latter being a smart contract platform which supports EVM bytecode.

    I
    Identicon / AddressIdenticon / AddressIcon
    The colorful blob of colors that corresponds to your address. It is an easy way to see if your address is correct. More specifically, you can choose between jazzicons (created by the MetaMask team!) or blockies.

    immutability
    The inability to be altered or changed. This is a key element of blockchain networks: once written onto a blockchain ledger, data cannot be altered. This immutability provides the basis for commerce and trade to take place on blockchain networks.

    Infura
    Part of ConsenSys, Infura offers backend access to the Ethereum network over established HTTP and WebSockets technology. This enables developers of dapps and websites seeking to interact with the Ethereum blockchain to do so, and at scale.

    ICO
    An Initial Coin Offering (also called ICO) occurs when a new cryptocurrency sells advance tokens in exchange for upfront capital. These have been a vehicle for fraud and scams, and as such are subject to ever-evolving regulation and legislation.

    internal transaction
    An internal transaction on the Ethereum network is one that occurs between smart contracts, rather than between addresses. Notably, they are not included on the blockchain, and therefore do not incur gas fees, but they are often crucial to carrying out the action in question, and can be viewed on Etherscan.

    InterPlanetary File System (IPFS)
    A decentralized file storage and referencing system for the Ethereum blockchain. IFPS is an open source protocol that enables storing and sharing hypermedia (text, audio, visual) in a distributed manner without relying on a single point of failure. This distributed file system enables applications to run faster, safer and more transparently.

    K
    keystore file
    A keystore file is a special, encrypted version of a private key in JSON format. See also ‘private key’.

    Know Your Customer (KYC)
    A process in which a business must verify the identity and background information (address, financials, etc) of their customers. For example, current regulations and laws require banks and other financial institutions to keep and report customers’ personal information and transactions.

    L
    Layer 2
    Layer 2 is a set of upcoming scaling solutions for Ethereum. For the authoritative description, see here.

    light client
    A client that downloads only a small part of the blockchain, allowing users of low-power or low-storage hardware like smartphones and laptops to maintain almost the same guarantee of security by sometimes selectively downloading small parts of the state.

    Liquid Democracy (Delegative Democracy)
    A government system where votes can be delegated or proxied to other individuals such as friends, politicians, or subject matter experts. For example, in a liquid democracy, Bernadette could give Ahmad her vote and Ahmad would then vote for both himself and Bernadette. A liquid democracy has been explored as a governance mechanism for Decentralized Autonomous Organizations where every participant is able to vote or delegate their vote to another individual.

    liquidity
    The availability of liquid assets to a company or market. An asset is considered more liquid if it can easily be converted into cash. The harder the ability to turn an asset into cash the more illiquid the asset. For example, stocks are considered relatively liquid assets as they can be easily converted to cash while real estate is considered an illiquid asset. The liquidity of an asset affects its risk potential and market price.

    M
    mainnet
    The primary network where actual transactions take place on a specific distributed ledger. For example, The Ethereum mainnet is the public blockchain where network validation and transactions take place.

    market cap
    Short for Market Capitalization, this term refers to the total value held in a particular industry, market, company, or asset. For a publicly traded company, the market cap is the total dollar market value of a company’s outstanding shares. For Bitcoin or Ethereum, the total market cap is a reflection of the current existing supply times the market price.

    Merkle Patricia trie
    Merkle treeOften referred to simply as a “Merkle trie” (pronounced “tree”), a Merkle Patricia trie is a data structure in which a single hash code function (a type of cryptographic code) splits into smaller branches. In a similar way to a family tree, where a parent branch splits into child branches, which are then extrapolated into grandchild branches, a Merkle Patricia trie keeps a record of the filiation and history of each element. This type of data structure enables for faster verification on a blockchain network.

    Mesh
    ConsenSys Mesh is a network of loosely coupled, tightly aligned teams, products, and investments advancing the Ethereum ecosystem and the arrival of Web 3.0.

    MetaMask
    MetaMask, either in its mobile app form on iOS and Android, or in its browser extension form, is a tool to access and interact with blockchains and the decentralized web. Its functions include that of a wallet, a dapp permissions manager, and token swap platform.

    mining
    The process by which blocks or transactions are verified and added to a blockchain using a Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism. In order to verify a block a miner must use a computer to solve a cryptographic problem. Once the computer has solved the problem, the block is considered “mined” or verified. In the Bitcoin or Ethereum PoW blockchains, the first computer to mine or verify the block receives bitcoin or ether as a reward.

    mnemonic phrase
    See ‘seed phrase / secret recovery phrase’.

    Multi Signature (MultiSig)
    A crypto-asset wallet that requires multiple keys to access. Typically, a specified number of individuals are required to approve or “sign” a transaction before they are able to access the wallet. This is different from most wallets which only require one signature to approve a transaction.

    N
    node (full node)
    Any computer connected to the blockchain network is referred to as a node. A full node is a computer that can fully validate transactions and download the entire data of a specific blockchain. In contrast, a “lightweight” or “light” node does not download all pieces of a blockchain’s data and uses a different validation process.

    NFT
    When discussing Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), “fungibility” refers to an object’s ability to be exchanged for another. For example, an individual dollar is considered fungible as we can trade dollars with one another. Artwork is usually deemed non-fungible as paintings, sculptures, or masterpieces are likely to be unequal in quality or value. A non-fungible token is a type of token that is a unique digital asset and has no equal token. This is in contrast to cryptocurrencies like ether that are fungible in nature.

    nonce
    The word ‘nonce’ has a few different meanings, and in different contexts, it ends up getting used a lot of different ways. Originally formed from a contraction of a phrase meaning “not more than once”, on the Ethereum mainnet, “nonce” refers to a unique transaction identification number that increases in value with each successive transaction in order to ensure various safety features (such as preventing a double-spend). Note that due to its broader use in cryptography, you may encounter ‘nonce’ being used differently on other sidechains or decentralized projects.

    O
    ommer block
    Under the Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism, miners received rewards for being the first to mine a new block. However, at times a block would be mined just after, and in competition with, the last block; this block, known as an ommer and previously as an uncle, could get rolled into subsequent blocks and the miner of the original ommer would get a partial block reward. All of this functionality is deprecated as of the Beacon Chain.

    optimistic rollup
    A rollup that assumes the validity and good faith of transactions, and only runs a fraud proof in the case of fraud being alleged. See also ‘rollup’.

    Oracle
    Typically, an oracle is any entity or person that is relied on to report the outcome of an event. In a blockchain network an oracle (human or machine) helps communicate data to a smart contract which can then be used to verify an event or specific outcome.

    P
    P2P (Peer-to-peer)
    P2P refers to interactions that happen between two parties, usually two separate individuals. A P2P network can be any number of individuals. In regards to a blockchain network, individuals are able to transact or interact with each other without relying on an intermediary or single point of failure.

    parity
    Parity Technologies is the name of a blockchain technology company that is developing a number of significant projects in the Ethereum space; however, one of its first projects was an Ethereum client, now known as Parity Ethereum; often this client is simply referred to as ‘Parity’. See also ‘client’.

    permissioned ledger
    A blockchain network in which access to ledger or network requires permission from an individual or group of individuals, as opposed to a public blockchain. Permissioned ledgers may have one or many owners. Consensus on a permissioned ledger is conducted by the trusted actors, such as government departments, banks, or other known entities. Permissioned blockchains or ledgers contain highly-verifiable data sets because the consensus process creates a digital signature, which can be seen by all parties. A permissioned ledger is much easier to maintain and considerably faster than a public blockchain. For example, Quorum or Hyperledger Besu are permissioned ledgers that can be more easily set up for large enterprises. In contrast, the public Ethereum blockchain is a permissionless ledger which anyone can access.

    Plasma
    Plasma is a term that is used to refer to one of the scaling solutions being deployed to create Layer 2 of the Ethereum network. A Plasma network functions similarly to an Optimistic rollup, inasmuch as it relies on Layer 1 Ethereum mainnet to maintain the record of transactions, and as the source for arbitration or fraud resolution. However, a Plasma network differs in other important technical ways from rollups, and is currently limited to simple operations, such as swaps and token transfers.

    PoA, PoS, PoW
    Acronyms standing for Proof of X consensus mechanisms: Assignment, Stake, Work. The “o” is lowercase since you wouldn’t capitalize “of” when writing out the phrase. See also ‘consensus’, ‘Proof of Authority’, ‘Proof of Stake’, ‘Proof of Work’.

    PoS/PoW Hybrid
    A hybrid consensus model that utilizes a combination of Proof of Stake (PoS) and Proof of Work (PoW) consensus. Using this Hybrid consensus mechanism, blocks are validated from not only miners, but also voters (stakeholders) to form a balanced network governance.

    private blockchain
    A blockchain or distributed ledger that has a closed network where participants are controlled by a single entity. A private blockchain requires a verification process for new participants. A private blockchain may also limit which individuals are able to participate in consensus of the blockchain network. See also ‘permissioned ledger’.

    private currency
    A currency or token issued by a private individual or firm. Typically, the token or currency is limited to use within the network of that particular firm or individual. This is not to be confused with a “privacy cryptocurrency” which are cryptocurrency with specific privacy features, such as hidden user identities.

    private key
    A private key is an alphanumeric string of data that, in MetaMask, corresponds to a single specific account in a wallet. Private keys can be thought of as a password that enables an individual to access their crypto account. Never reveal your private key to anyone, as whoever controls the private key controls the account funds. If you lose your private key, then you lose access to that account.

    Proof of Authority (PoA)
    A consensus mechanism used in private blockchains, granting a single private key the authority to generate all of the blocks or validate transactions.

    Proof of Stake (PoS)
    A consensus mechanism in which an individual or “validator” validates transactions or blocks. Validators “stake” their cryptocurrency, such as ether, on whichever transactions they choose to validate. If the individual validates a block (group of transactions) correctly then the individual receives a reward. Typically, if a validator verifies an incorrect transaction then they lose the cryptocurrency that they staked. PoS requires a negligible amount of computing power compared to Proof of Work consensus.

    Proof of Work (PoW)
    A consensus mechanism in which each block is ‘mined’ by a group of individuals or nodes on the network. Hashing a block, which is in itself an easy computational process, under PoW requires each miner to solve for a set, difficult variable. In effect, the process of hashing each block becomes a competition. This addition of solving for a target increases the difficulty of successfully hashing each block. For each hashed block, the overall process of hashing will have taken some time and computational effort. Thus, a hashed block is considered Proof of Work, and the miner that successfully hashes the block first receives a reward, in the form of cryptocurrency. PoW is singificantly more energy-intensive than other consensus mechanisms, such as Proof of Stake.

    protocol
    A set of rules that dictate how data is exchanged and transmitted. This pertains to cryptocurrency in blockchain when referring to the formal rules that outline how these actions are performed across a specific network.

    public blockchain
    A globally open network where anyone can participate in transactions, execute the consensus protocol to help determine which blocks get added to the chain, and maintain the shared ledger.

    public key
    In cryptography, you have a keypair: the public and private key. You can derive a public key from a private key, but cannot derive a private key from a public key. The public key, therefore, is obtained and used by anyone to encrypt messages before they are sent to a known recipient with a matching private key for decryption. By pairing a public key with a private key, transactions not dependent on trusting involved parties or intermediaries. The public key encrypts a message into an unreadable format and the corresponding private key makes it readable again for the intended party, and the intended party only.

    R
    Relayer
    Any party or entity which hosts an off-chain orderbook. Relayers help traders discover counter-parties and cryptographically move orders between them. 0x is an example of a popular Ethereum relayer protocol.

    rollups
    Rollups (pronounced “roll ups”) are one element in the set of tools and infrastructure being built as Layer 2, the scaling solutions for the Ethereum network. They consist, in general, of solutions in which the transaction data is still kept on Layer 1, the original Ethereum network, while transaction computation occurs on a side network, freeing up computational power on Layer. There are different ways of approaching this problem from a technical point of view, namely Zero Knowledge, or ZK, rollups, and Optimistic rollups. See the entries on both of these types of rollup for more, and more in-depth discussion here.

    RPC
    The Remote Procedure Call is a protocol that, while not blockchain-specific, is used to transfer data between endpoints. You may often see it referred to as JSON-RPC, which is its full name.

    rug pull
    Similar to the traditional financial scam of a pyramid scheme, a ‘rug pull’ is a cryptocurrency or crypto-token based scam in which the creators of the token create hype, through injecting liquidity into their token, airdropping, and other schemes, and once investors pile in and boost the price of the token up to a certain point, the creators liquidate their share of the tokens, leaving their investors with next to nothing.

    S
    Satoshi Nakamoto
    A pseudonymous individual or entity who created the Bitcoin protocol, solving the digital currency issue of the “double spend.” Nakamoto first published their white paper describing the project in 2008 and the first Bitcoin software was released one year later.

    scalability
    A change in size or scale to handle a network’s demands. This word is used to refer to a blockchain project’s ability to handle network traffic, future growth, and capacity in its intended application.

    Seed (phrase) / Secret Recovery Phrase
    The seed phrase, mnemonic, or Secret Recovery Phrase is a crucial part of public blockchain technology, originally created for Bitcoin, and goes by many names. However, they all refer to a set of ordered words which correspond to determined values. These values never change, and therefore the same string of words in the same order will always produce the same number–this is the underlying functionality that allows seed phrases to back up wallets. The Secret Recovery Phrase is exactly what it sounds like: something that is secret, and should be known only to the owner of the account. If the seed phrase is given to someone else, that person has complete control over the account; they can drain it of tokens and funds, execute transactions with it, etc.

    self-executing
    Functioning by itself, not controlled by any other party other than itself. Self-executing smart contracts cut costs/overhead by removing the need for an arbitrator and trust toward a third party.

    serialization
    The process of converting a data structure into a sequence of bytes. Ethereum internally uses an encoding format called recursive-length prefix encoding (RLP).

    sharding
    Sharding refers to splitting the entire network into multiple portions called “shards.” Each shard would contain its own independent state, meaning a unique set of account balances and smart contracts. Usually, shards must be tightly coupled and side-chains must be loosely coupled.

    sidechains
    A sidechain is what it sounds like — it is a separate blockchain that is Ethereum-compatible. While a sidechain is a sort of scaling tool, as a class they aren’t part of Layer 2; they simply represent a way in which developers can build and enable cheaper transactions for the user (on the sidechain, in sidechain-native tokens or currencies) while maintaining compatibility with the Ethereum network. This often requires routing tokens through a special portal or bridge, as sending tokens from a sidechain to Ethereum mainnet or vice versa would result in token loss.

    slashing condition
    Under a Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, a slashing condition is one that causes the validator’s deposit to be destroyed when they trigger it. See also ‘Proof of Stake’.

    slot
    A slot, on the Ethereum Beacon Chain, is a 12-second period of time during which a new block may (or may not) be proposed. Every 32 slots composes an epoch. See also ‘epoch’.

    smart contracts
    Smart contracts are programs whose terms are recorded in computer code. While they often contain agreements or sets of actions between parties that emulate a traditional legal contract, they are not, in and of themselves, legal documents. Smart contracts are automated actions that can be coded and executed once a set of conditions is met, and are the dominant form of programming on the Ethereum Virtual Machine.

    soft fork
    A change to the software protocol where only previously valid blocks/transactions are made invalid. Since old nodes will recognize the new blocks as valid, a soft fork is backward-compatible. However, this can result in a potential divide in the blockchain, as the old software generates blocks that read as invalid according to the new rules.

    Solidity
    The programming language developers use to write smart contracts on the Ethereum network. Try it out on Remix. See also ‘smart contract’.

    stablecoin
    Any cryptocurrency pegged to a stable asset, like fiat currency or gold. It theoretically remains stable in price as it is measured against a known amount of an asset less subject to fluctuation. Always spelled as one word.

    staking
    In the Ethereum context, ‘staking’ of tokens or currency carries the traditional meaning of ‘setting aside currency for a determined purpose’; however, ‘staking’ can happen in a variety of venues with different effects. For example, on decentralized exchanges (DEXes), there is no centralized authority or bank putting up the funds to allow transfers to happen between parties; rather, the parties amongst themselves have to establish liquidity pools in order to facilitate swaps. In this context, someone might ‘stake’ tokens into a liquidity pool, often for a promised rate of return in exchange for the use of their tokens, with the option to withdraw their tokens later.

    On the Beacon Chain and Ethereum 2.0, ‘staking’ means something a bit different: 32 ETH may be staked at a determined smart contract address in order to operate a validator on the Beacon Chain; in this way, you help ensure the good functioning and safety of the network, and are rewarded for your staking.

    state
    The set of data that a blockchain network strictly needs to keep track of, and that represents data currently relevant to applications on the chain.

    state channels
    State channels are part of the set of tools and platforms involved in scaling Ethereum and enabling Layer 2. While a complex topic, state channels are essentially methods through which the current ‘state’ of the blockchain can be exported, and based on that any given number of transactions can take place off-chain, and then be moved back onto the main Ethereum chain.

    szabo
    A denomination of ETH. See also ‘ether (denominations)’.

    T
    Testnet
    An alternative blockchain developers use to test applications in a near-live environment.

    Testnet Koven
    Ethereum testnet that uses Proof of Authority consensus, available through MetaMask.

    Testnet Rinkeby
    Ethereum testnet that uses Proof of Authority consensus, available through MetaMask.

    Testnet Ropsten
    Ethereum testnet that uses Proof of Work consensus and is available through MetaMask.

    token
    A token represents an asset built on an existing blockchain. There are many types; see also ‘ERC-20’ and ‘ERC-721’ entries.

    transaction block
    A collection of transactions on a blockchain network, gathered into a set or a block that can then be hashed and added to the blockchain.

    transaction fee
    A small fee imposed on some transactions sent across a blockchain network. The transaction fee is awarded to the miner that successfully hashes the block containing the relevant transaction.

    trustless
    ‘Trustless’ is a term that gets used a lot in the decentralized web, and it deserves some explanation. Traditionally, to call something ‘trustless’ would sound like a negative thing. In the context of decentralized technology, it has a more technical meaning: since everyone has a copy of the ledger of all transactions ever executed, there is no need for a third-party repository of ‘truth’ in whom trust resides. We don’t rely on some centralized server somewhere that could be hacked or changed arbitrarily; anyone can verify the transactions themselves. In a way, the rules and assurances built into the blockchain provide the basis for greater trust, because the system works the same for everyone.

    Turing Complete
    Any machine that can calculate on a level equal to a programmable computer is Turing Complete, or computationally universal. The EVM, despite not existing on a single physical computer, is Turing Complete.

    V
    validator
    A participant in Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus. On the Beacon Chain, validators need to stake 32 ETH, that is to submit a sort of security deposit, in order to get included in the validator set. See also ‘staking’.

    validity proof
    The proof submitted along with certain types of rollups to prove that the transactions are valid. See also ‘rollups’.

    Validium
    One of the technologies developed for Layer 2 scaling of the Ethereum network; see more here.

    W
    Wallet
    A designated storage location for digital assets (cryptocurrency) that has an address for sending and receiving funds. The wallet can be online, offline, or on a physical device.

    Web3 / Web 3.0
    Web3, or Web 3.0, are terms used synonymously with “the decentralized web” and are often used to refer, broadly, to the blockchain and decentralized technology ecosystems as a whole.

    Z
    zk-SNARK
    Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-interactive ARguments of Knowledge are an incredible technology, and vital to the scaling of blockchain technology and the decentralized web. They are mathematically complex and can be daunting; this explanation from the Ethereum Foundation is a good primer.

    zero address
    The Zero Address is an address on the Ethereum network that is the recipient of a special transaction used to register the creation of a new smart contract on the network.

    #
    51% Attack
    If more than half the computer power or mining hash rate on a network is run by a single person or a single group of people, then a 51% attack is in operation. This means that this entity has full control of the network and can negatively affect a cryptocurrency by taking over mining operations, stopping or changing transactions, and double-spending coins.

  2. A
    account
    A public and private keypair that “holds” your funds.

    Your funds are actually stored on the blockchain, not in the wallet or account. Just like your Reddit account has a username (public) and password (private), so does your Ethereum account–the difference being that you are the custodian of your Ethereum keys, while Reddit holds your login information for their site. For additional security, you can use a password to encrypt your private key which would result in a username (public) and password (private) and password for that password (private + more secure). See also ‘keystore file’.

    address / public key
    Used to send and receive transactions on a blockchain network. An address is an alphanumeric character string, which can also be represented as a scannable QR code. In Ethereum, the address begins with 0x. For example: 0x06A85356DCb5b307096726FB86A78c59D38e08ee

    air-gapping
    A method for securing computers in which the device does not connect to the internet or any other open networks.

    airdrop
    A token distribution method used to send cryptocurrency or tokens to wallet addresses. Sometimes airdrops are used for marketing purposes in exchange for simple tasks like reshares, referrals, or app downloads.

    altcoin
    Any digital currency alternative to Bitcoin. Many altcoins are forks of Bitcoin with minor changes (e.g., Litecoin). See also ‘fork’.

    AML (Anti-Money Laundering)
    A set of international laws enacted to diminish the potential for criminal organizations or individuals to launder money. These rules and laws are applied to cryptocurrencies with varying effects in different jurisdictions.

    API (Application Programming Interface)
    A software intermediary that allows two separate applications to communicate with one another. APIs define methods of communication between various components.

    ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit)
    ASICs are silicon chips designed to do a specific task. In ASIC use for mining cryptocurrencies, the ASIC will perform a calculation to find values that provide a desired solution when placed into a hashing algorithm.

    attestation
    Under the Proof of Stake mechanism (on the Beacon Chain), every validator other than the one proposing a new block will provide an attestation, or vote, in favor of a block with which it agrees, hereby forming consensus and confirming the block and the transactions it contains. See also ‘Proof of Stake’.

    B
    Beacon Chain
    The Beacon Chain (always capitalized) is one element in the infrastructure being built to scale Ethereum, and is the foundation for a transition from a Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism to Proof of Stake (PoS). For more information, see this guide.

    Bitcoin / bitcoin (BTC)
    The first cryptocurrency based on a Proof of Work (PoW) blockchain. Bitcoin was created in 2009 by Satoshi Nakomoto — a pseudonym for an individual whose real identity is unknown — and the concept of cryptocurrency was outlined in a white paper titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” Use “Bitcoin” for the blockchain/network; “bitcoin” for the cryptocurrency. The plural of bitcoin is just bitcoin; the abbreviation is BTC, with a space: I have 250 BTC.

    block
    Think of a blockchain as consisting of a ledger that is being constantly updated, and those changes synced between any number of different nodes (indeed, “distributed ledger technology” is another phrase used to describe it).

    After a certain number of transactions have been added to the ledger and consensus has been reached among the nodes that the transactions are valid, then they are cryptographically locked into a “block” and officially recorded. This “block” forms the basis for the next one; in this way, they are all linked together in a chain, hence–blockchain.

    block height
    The number of blocks connected together in the blockchain. For example, Height 0 would be the very first block, which is also called the Genesis Block.

    block reward
    The reward given to a miner after it has successfully hashed a transaction block. Block rewards can be a mixture of coins and transaction fees. The composition depends on the policy used by the cryptocurrency in question, and whether all of the coins have already been successfully mined. The current block reward for the Bitcoin network is 12.5 bitcoins per block.

    block time
    When we talk about ‘block time’, we’re referring to how long it takes for a block of transactions (see ‘block’) to be confirmed by the network, either by miners under PoW or by validators under PoS. See also ‘Proof of Work’, ‘Proof of Stake’.

    blockchain
    A digital ledger comprised of unchangeable, digitally recorded data in packages called blocks. Each block is ‘chained’ to the next block using a cryptographic signature. Ethereum is a public blockchain, open to the world; its digital ledger is distributed, or synced, between many nodes; these nodes arrive at consensus regarding whether a transaction is valid before encrypting a number of transactions into a block. For more on blockchain technology, see here. See also ‘block’.

    bounty / bug bounty
    A reward offered for exposing vulnerabilities and issues in computer code.

    brain wallet
    A blockchain account generated from a seed phrase or password or passphrase of your choosing. Humans are not capable of generating enough entropy, or randomness, and therefore the wallets derived from these phrases are insecure; brain wallets can be brute forced by super fast computers. For this reason, brain wallet are insecure and should not be used. See also ‘Seed phrase / Secret Recovery Phrase’.

    BUIDL
    Ostensibly coined (see what we did there) by Gitcoin’s Kevin Owocki. It reflects the Ethereum-focused mindset of not just investing in a cryptocurrency as a store of value, but rather investing in it as an ecosystem and a platform for public goods and software; it complements, in this sense, the now-infamous HODL.

    bytecode
    Bytecode is a “low-level” computer language, that is, meant to be processed by a computer, rather than a “high-level”, more human-readable, language. In Ethereum, higher-level Solidity is compiled into Ethereum bytecode, which is read by the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).

    Byzantium fork
    A “hard fork” in the Ethereum network that occurred in October of 2017. For detailled information, see here; see also “hard fork”.

    C
    client (Ethereum)
    An Ethereum client is software that accesses the Ethereum blockchain via a local computer and helps to process transactions. A client usually includes a cryptocurrency software wallet. See an up-to-date list of clients here.

    Codefi
    Derived from “Commerce & Decentralized Finance”, Codefi, part of ConsenSys, is building a suite of commerce and financial applications.

    coin
    A coin, in cryptocurrency, is a representation of digital asset value that is generated via its own independent blockchain.

    cold wallet / cold storage
    An offline wallet that is never connected to the internet. These wallets protect cryptocurrencies from getting hacked online.

    confirmation
    A confirmation happens when the network has verified the blockchain transaction. Under a Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism, this happens through a process known as mining; under Proof of Stake (PoS), the process is known as validation. Once a transaction is successfully confirmed it theoretically cannot be reversed or double spent. The more confirmations a transaction has, the harder it becomes to perform a double spend attack.

    consensus
    The process used by a group of peers, or nodes, on a blockchain network to agree on the validity of transactions submitted to the network. Dominant consensus mechanisms are Proof of Work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS).

    ConsenSys
    Short for Consensus Systems, ConsenSys is the software engineering leader of the blockchain space. But you’re here, so you already knew that.

    Constantinople fork
    One of the “hard forks” made to the Ethereum network, in February 2019. For more detailed information, see here; see also “hard fork”.

    contract
    See ‘smart contract’.

    crypto-
    Even though this prefix is originally Greek, our current usage comes from cryptography. Technologies that are referred to with the blanket term of “crypto” tech are underlain by cryptographic tools and processes (such as public/private key pairs) that enable them, and enable them to be secure. Of course, “cryptocurrency” often gets shortened to simply “crypto”, so this emerging field is full of instances where something “crypto” is being added to or shortened.

    crypto bounties
    Bounties paid for in cryptocurrency. See also “bug bounties”.

    crypto-compliance
    A blanket term used to refer to ensuring crypto projects conform with applicable regulations and laws.

    cryptoeconomics
    The economic analysis of decentralized finance; notably, the MIT Cryptoeconomics Lab.

    cryptoassets
    A useful blanket term that covers on-chain assets: cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and other, still emerging, products.

    cryptocurrency
    Digital currency that is based on mathematics and uses encryption techniques to regulate the creation of units of currency as well as verifying the transfer of funds. Cryptocurrencies operate independently of a central bank, and are kept track of through distributed ledger technology.

    cryptography
    A method for secure communication using code. Symmetric-key cryptography is used by various blockchain networks for transfer of cryptocurrencies. Blockchain addresses generated for wallets are paired with private keys that allow transfer of cryptocurrency. Paired public and private keys allow funds to be unlocked.

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    D
    DAO
    A Digital Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO, pronounced like the Chinese concept) is a powerful and very flexible organizational structure built on a blockchain.

    Alternatively, the first known example of a DAO is referred to as The DAO. The DAO served as a form of investor-directed venture capital fund, which sought to provide enterprises with new decentralized business models. Ethereum-based, The DAO’s code was open source. The organization set the record for the most crowdfunded project in 2016. Those funds were partially stolen by hackers. The hack caused an Ethereum hard-fork which lead to the creation of Ethereum Classic.

    decentralization
    The transfer of authority and responsibility from a centralized organization, government, or party to a distributed network.

    decentralized application (dapp)
    An open source, software application with backend code running on a decentralized peer-to-peer network rather than a centralized server. You may see alternate spellings: dApps, DApps, Dapps, and Đapps.

    decentralized exchange (DEX)
    A decentralized exchange is a platform for exchanging cryptocurrencies based on functionality programmed on the blockchain (i.e., in smart contracts). The trading is peer-to-peer, or between pools of liquidity. This is in contrast with a centralized exchange, which is more akin to a bank or investment firm that specializes in cryptocurrencies. There are important technical and regulatory differences between the two which are constantly evolving.

    deposit
    Digital property put into a contract involving a different party such that if certain conditions are not satisfied that property is automatically forfeited to the identified counterparty.

    derive / derivation
    To derive something is to obtain it from an original source. In the context of crypto-technology, we often discuss “deriving” wallets and accounts from seed phrases / Secret Recovery Phrases.

    Devcon
    This is shorthand for the Ethereum Developers’ Conference.

    difficulty
    The concept outlining how hard it is to verify blocks in a blockchain network during Proof of Work mining. In the Bitcoin network, the difficulty of mining adjusts every 2016 blocks. This is to keep block verification time at ten minutes.

    difficulty bomb
    The difficulty bomb, along with the Beacon Chain and others, is an element of Ethereum’s upgrade to Ethereum 2.0 and a Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. As the name indicates, the difficulty bomb is a mechanism that will increase the block verification difficulty, making it more expensive and difficult–eventually, prohibitively so–to mine a new block. The intention is to force the shift to PoS consensus. See also ‘Proof of Stake’.

    digital asset
    A digital commodity that is scarce, electronically transferable, and intangible with a market value.

    digital identity
    An online or networked identity adopted by an individual, organization, or electronic device.

    digital signature
    A code generated by public key encryption and attached to an electronically transmitted document in order to verify the contents of the document.

    Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attack
    A type of cyber-attack in which the perpetrator continuously overwhelms the system with requests in order to prevent service of legitimate requests.

    distributed ledger
    A type of database which spreads across multiple sites, countries, or institutions. Records are stored sequentially in a continuous ledger. Distributed ledger data can be either “permissioned” or “unpermissioned” to control who can view it.

    double spend
    An event during which someone on the Bitcoin network tries to send a specific bitcoin transaction to two different recipients at once. However, as each bitcoin transaction is confirmed, double spending becomes almost impossible. The more confirmations that a particular transaction has, the decreased likelihood of double spending successfully.

    E
    EIP (Ethereum Improvement Proposal)
    EIPs describe standards for the Ethereum platform, including core protocol specifications, client APIs, and contract standards. They are, precisely, proposals for modifications to the network and the way it functions; the official repository is here.

    encrypted vs unencrypted keys
    As discussed elsewhere, public and private crypographic key pairs are one of the technologies that underpins cryptocurrencies and “crypto” tech in general. In MetaMask, an unencrypted private key is 64 characters long, and it is used to unlock or restore wallets. An encrypted key is also 64 letters long and is a regular private key that has gone through the process of encryption.

    For example, if the world ‘Apple’ was your private key, then it was encrypted three letters down the alphabet, your new shortened encrypted key would be ‘Dssoh’. Since you know the way to encrypt this key, you could derive the original private key from it by reversing the method of encryption. Usually encrypted private keys are kept within the extension or device they are encrypted by, and they remain out of sight from the user. This is meant to add another layer of security to keep a user’s wallet information safe.

    encryption
    There are many types of encryption, but for our purposes, it is a process that combines the text to be encrypted (plaintext) with a shorter string of data referred to as “a key” in order to produce an output (ciphertext). This output can be “decrypted” back into the original plaintext by someone else who has the key.

    Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA)
    A group of Ethereum core developers, startups, and large companies working together to commercialize and use Ethereum for different business applications. Website here.

    entropy
    In the context of cryptography, ‘entropy’ refers to ‘randomness’; generally, the more random something is (the more entropy it has), the more secure it is.

    epoch
    An epoch, in general, is a measure of time, or of blockchain progression, on a given blockchain. For the Ethereum Beacon Chain, an epoch consists of 32 slots, each lasting 12 seconds, for a total of 6.4 minutes per epoch. There is additional functionality built upon the epoch measure in the Beacon Chain to help ensure security and proper operation of the Chain.

    ERC-20 Token Standard
    ERC is the abbreviation for Ethereum Request for Comment and is followed by the assignment number of the standard. ERC-20 is a technical standard for smart contracts which is used to issue the majority of tokens (in particular, cryptocurrency tokens) extant on Ethereum. This list of rules states the requirements that a token must fulfill to be compliant and function within the Ethereum network.

    ERC-721 Token Standard
    As stated above, this is another standard for Ethereum smart contracts, which allows for the issuance of a non-fungible token, also known as an NFT. This token standard is used to represent a unique digital asset that is not interchangeable.

    ether (ETH)
    Ether is the native currency of the Ethereum blockchain network. Ether—also referred to as ETH (pronounced with a long “e”, like “teeth” without the “t”)—functions as a fuel of the Ethereum ecosystem by acting as a medium of incentive and form of payment for network participants to execute essential operations. The cryptocurrency of Ethereum has a lowercase e. The plural of ether is just ether; its abbreviation is ETH, with a space: I have 10 ETH.

    ether (denominations)
    There are a number of denominations of the currency we know as ‘ether’ or ETH; for the definitive explanation, see the original Ethereum Homestead documentation here.

    Ethereum
    A public blockchain network and decentralized software platform upon which developers build and run applications. As it is a proper noun, it should always be capitalized.

    ENS
    The Ethereum Name Service is a protocol to assign human-readable and easy-to-remember addresses to Ethereum addresses and assets, homologous to the traditional internet’s DNS.

    ERC
    Ethereum Request for Comment, or ERC, is a bit of a misnomer, as it is used to refer to suggestions for modifications that have already made it through the Ethereum Improvement Protocol (EIP) process and have been made standard on Ethereum. An ERC is, essentially, a set of standards for a given operation or topic on the Ethereum network. The authoritative list can be found here.

    EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine)
    The EVM is a virtual machine that operates on the Ethereum network. It is Turing complete and allows anyone, anywhere to execute arbitrary EVM bytecode. All Ethereum nodes run on the EVM. It is home for smart contracts based on the Ethereum blockchain.

    exchange
    A place to trade cryptocurrency. Centralized exchanges, operated by companies like Coinbase and Gemini, function as intermediaries, while decentralized exchanges do not have a central authority.

    F
    faucet
    A faucet is an application, sometimes a very simple website, other times more complex, that dispenses cryptocurrency for use on test networks only. These faucets are used by developers to test out dapps or smart contracts before deploying them on Ethereum Mainnet, or users who want to practice an action on the blockchain with no risk. Tokens dispensed by a test faucet stay on the test networks and cannot be exchanged for mainnet equivalents.

    fiat currency
    Government-issued currency. For example, US Dollars (USD), Euros (EUR), Yuan (CNY), and Yen (JPY).

    final, finality
    A transaction is considered “final” once it can no longer be changed. In a sense, this happens once there are sufficient confirmations of the transaction, but for all intents and purposes, a transaction is final once the block that contains it is mined or validated. Keep in mind that this reflects a fundamental rule of blockchains: unlike traditional financial systems where charges can be “reversed”, there is no “undoing” a transaction on the blockchain. Once finality is reached, the transaction is immutable.

    finney
    A denomination of ether. See ether (denomination).

    fork
    A fork creates an alternative version of a blockchain, and are often enacted intentionally to apply upgrades to a network. Soft Forks render two chains with some compatibility, while Hard Forks create a new version of the chain that must be adopted to continue participation. In the instance of a contentious Hard Fork, this can create two versions of a blockchain network. See also “hard fork”.

    G
    gas
    A measure of the computational steps required for a transaction on the Ethereum network. This then equates to a fee for network users paid in small units of ETH specified as Gwei. See also “ether (denominations)”. For more on gas, see MetaMask’s user guide here.

    gas limit
    The gas limit is the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for any given transaction to go through the Ethereum network. Another way of looking at it is as a “rough estimate” of how much computing power your transaction will take.

    gas price
    The gas price is what it sounds like: the cost the network is paid for the computational work being performed in a given transaction. It is paid in units of ETH called Gwei. Depending on network congestion, the gas price may vary significantly.

    genesis block
    The initial block of data computed in the history of a blockchain network.

    Gwei
    A minuscule and common denomination of ETH, and the unit in which gas prices are often specified. See ‘ether (denominations)’ entry for more information.

    H
    halving
    Many cryptocurrencies have a finite supply, which makes them a scarce digital commodity. For example, the total amount of Bitcoin that will ever be issued is 21 million. The number of bitcoins generated per block is decreased 50% every four years. This is called “halving.” The final halving will take place in the year 2140.

    hard fork
    A hard fork occurs when there is a change in the blockchain that is not backward compatible (not compatible with older versions), thus requiring all participants to upgrade to the new version in order to be able to continue participating on the network. See also “fork”.

    hardware wallet
    A physical device that can be connected to the web and interact with online exchanges, but can also be used as cold storage (not connected to the internet).

    hash
    A programmatic function that takes an input, and then outputs an alphanumeric string known as the “hash value” or “digital fingerprint.” Each block in the blockchain contains the hash value that validated the transaction before it followed by its own hash value. Hashes confirm transactions on the blockchain.

    HD wallet
    Hierarchical Deterministic wallets were first created for Bitcoin, and enable the creation of a very large number of accounts based on an initial seed phrase. This technology was later adopted in Ethereum wallets; when restoring a MetaMask wallet from the Secret Recovery Phrase, for example, if you “create” accounts, they will be the same accounts as previously created from that same phrase; they are derived from it.

    hexadecimal
    Hexadecimal is a base 16, rather than base 10, counting system. Used all over Ethereum for a variety of things, a hexadecimal string is comprised of the numbers 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 and letters A B C D E F.

    hot wallet / hot storage
    A wallet that is directly connected to the internet at all times, for example one that is held on a centralized exchange. Hot wallets are considered to have lower security than cold storage systems or hardware wallets.

    Hyperledger
    Hyperledger is an ecosystem of open-system tools, libraries, and products designed to enable and support enterprise-grade blockchain technology. In general, the products focus on creating solutions for permissioned blockchains–that is, non-public blockchains, with alternative consensus mechanisms other than Proof of Work (PoW) or Proof of Stake (PoS).

    That said, there are use cases where such institutions would want to integrate with public blockchains, and for that reason Hyperledger Besu and Hyperledger Burrow are actively developed projects, the former being a Java-based Ethereum client, the latter being a smart contract platform which supports EVM bytecode.

    I
    Identicon / AddressIdenticon / AddressIcon
    The colorful blob of colors that corresponds to your address. It is an easy way to see if your address is correct. More specifically, you can choose between jazzicons (created by the MetaMask team!) or blockies.

    immutability
    The inability to be altered or changed. This is a key element of blockchain networks: once written onto a blockchain ledger, data cannot be altered. This immutability provides the basis for commerce and trade to take place on blockchain networks.

    Infura
    Part of ConsenSys, Infura offers backend access to the Ethereum network over established HTTP and WebSockets technology. This enables developers of dapps and websites seeking to interact with the Ethereum blockchain to do so, and at scale.

    ICO
    An Initial Coin Offering (also called ICO) occurs when a new cryptocurrency sells advance tokens in exchange for upfront capital. These have been a vehicle for fraud and scams, and as such are subject to ever-evolving regulation and legislation.

    internal transaction
    An internal transaction on the Ethereum network is one that occurs between smart contracts, rather than between addresses. Notably, they are not included on the blockchain, and therefore do not incur gas fees, but they are often crucial to carrying out the action in question, and can be viewed on Etherscan.

    InterPlanetary File System (IPFS)
    A decentralized file storage and referencing system for the Ethereum blockchain. IFPS is an open source protocol that enables storing and sharing hypermedia (text, audio, visual) in a distributed manner without relying on a single point of failure. This distributed file system enables applications to run faster, safer and more transparently.

    K
    keystore file
    A keystore file is a special, encrypted version of a private key in JSON format. See also ‘private key’.

    Know Your Customer (KYC)
    A process in which a business must verify the identity and background information (address, financials, etc) of their customers. For example, current regulations and laws require banks and other financial institutions to keep and report customers’ personal information and transactions.

    L
    Layer 2
    Layer 2 is a set of upcoming scaling solutions for Ethereum. For the authoritative description, see here.

    light client
    A client that downloads only a small part of the blockchain, allowing users of low-power or low-storage hardware like smartphones and laptops to maintain almost the same guarantee of security by sometimes selectively downloading small parts of the state.

    Liquid Democracy (Delegative Democracy)
    A government system where votes can be delegated or proxied to other individuals such as friends, politicians, or subject matter experts. For example, in a liquid democracy, Bernadette could give Ahmad her vote and Ahmad would then vote for both himself and Bernadette. A liquid democracy has been explored as a governance mechanism for Decentralized Autonomous Organizations where every participant is able to vote or delegate their vote to another individual.

    liquidity
    The availability of liquid assets to a company or market. An asset is considered more liquid if it can easily be converted into cash. The harder the ability to turn an asset into cash the more illiquid the asset. For example, stocks are considered relatively liquid assets as they can be easily converted to cash while real estate is considered an illiquid asset. The liquidity of an asset affects its risk potential and market price.

    M
    mainnet
    The primary network where actual transactions take place on a specific distributed ledger. For example, The Ethereum mainnet is the public blockchain where network validation and transactions take place.

    market cap
    Short for Market Capitalization, this term refers to the total value held in a particular industry, market, company, or asset. For a publicly traded company, the market cap is the total dollar market value of a company’s outstanding shares. For Bitcoin or Ethereum, the total market cap is a reflection of the current existing supply times the market price.

    Merkle Patricia trie
    Merkle treeOften referred to simply as a “Merkle trie” (pronounced “tree”), a Merkle Patricia trie is a data structure in which a single hash code function (a type of cryptographic code) splits into smaller branches. In a similar way to a family tree, where a parent branch splits into child branches, which are then extrapolated into grandchild branches, a Merkle Patricia trie keeps a record of the filiation and history of each element. This type of data structure enables for faster verification on a blockchain network.

    Mesh
    ConsenSys Mesh is a network of loosely coupled, tightly aligned teams, products, and investments advancing the Ethereum ecosystem and the arrival of Web 3.0.

    MetaMask
    MetaMask, either in its mobile app form on iOS and Android, or in its browser extension form, is a tool to access and interact with blockchains and the decentralized web. Its functions include that of a wallet, a dapp permissions manager, and token swap platform.

    mining
    The process by which blocks or transactions are verified and added to a blockchain using a Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism. In order to verify a block a miner must use a computer to solve a cryptographic problem. Once the computer has solved the problem, the block is considered “mined” or verified. In the Bitcoin or Ethereum PoW blockchains, the first computer to mine or verify the block receives bitcoin or ether as a reward.

    mnemonic phrase
    See ‘seed phrase / secret recovery phrase’.

    Multi Signature (MultiSig)
    A crypto-asset wallet that requires multiple keys to access. Typically, a specified number of individuals are required to approve or “sign” a transaction before they are able to access the wallet. This is different from most wallets which only require one signature to approve a transaction.

    N
    node (full node)
    Any computer connected to the blockchain network is referred to as a node. A full node is a computer that can fully validate transactions and download the entire data of a specific blockchain. In contrast, a “lightweight” or “light” node does not download all pieces of a blockchain’s data and uses a different validation process.

    NFT
    When discussing Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), “fungibility” refers to an object’s ability to be exchanged for another. For example, an individual dollar is considered fungible as we can trade dollars with one another. Artwork is usually deemed non-fungible as paintings, sculptures, or masterpieces are likely to be unequal in quality or value. A non-fungible token is a type of token that is a unique digital asset and has no equal token. This is in contrast to cryptocurrencies like ether that are fungible in nature.

    nonce
    The word ‘nonce’ has a few different meanings, and in different contexts, it ends up getting used a lot of different ways. Originally formed from a contraction of a phrase meaning “not more than once”, on the Ethereum mainnet, “nonce” refers to a unique transaction identification number that increases in value with each successive transaction in order to ensure various safety features (such as preventing a double-spend). Note that due to its broader use in cryptography, you may encounter ‘nonce’ being used differently on other sidechains or decentralized projects.

    O
    ommer block
    Under the Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism, miners received rewards for being the first to mine a new block. However, at times a block would be mined just after, and in competition with, the last block; this block, known as an ommer and previously as an uncle, could get rolled into subsequent blocks and the miner of the original ommer would get a partial block reward. All of this functionality is deprecated as of the Beacon Chain.

    optimistic rollup
    A rollup that assumes the validity and good faith of transactions, and only runs a fraud proof in the case of fraud being alleged. See also ‘rollup’.

    Oracle
    Typically, an oracle is any entity or person that is relied on to report the outcome of an event. In a blockchain network an oracle (human or machine) helps communicate data to a smart contract which can then be used to verify an event or specific outcome.

    P
    P2P (Peer-to-peer)
    P2P refers to interactions that happen between two parties, usually two separate individuals. A P2P network can be any number of individuals. In regards to a blockchain network, individuals are able to transact or interact with each other without relying on an intermediary or single point of failure.

    parity
    Parity Technologies is the name of a blockchain technology company that is developing a number of significant projects in the Ethereum space; however, one of its first projects was an Ethereum client, now known as Parity Ethereum; often this client is simply referred to as ‘Parity’. See also ‘client’.

    permissioned ledger
    A blockchain network in which access to ledger or network requires permission from an individual or group of individuals, as opposed to a public blockchain. Permissioned ledgers may have one or many owners. Consensus on a permissioned ledger is conducted by the trusted actors, such as government departments, banks, or other known entities. Permissioned blockchains or ledgers contain highly-verifiable data sets because the consensus process creates a digital signature, which can be seen by all parties. A permissioned ledger is much easier to maintain and considerably faster than a public blockchain. For example, Quorum or Hyperledger Besu are permissioned ledgers that can be more easily set up for large enterprises. In contrast, the public Ethereum blockchain is a permissionless ledger which anyone can access.

    Plasma
    Plasma is a term that is used to refer to one of the scaling solutions being deployed to create Layer 2 of the Ethereum network. A Plasma network functions similarly to an Optimistic rollup, inasmuch as it relies on Layer 1 Ethereum mainnet to maintain the record of transactions, and as the source for arbitration or fraud resolution. However, a Plasma network differs in other important technical ways from rollups, and is currently limited to simple operations, such as swaps and token transfers.

    PoA, PoS, PoW
    Acronyms standing for Proof of X consensus mechanisms: Assignment, Stake, Work. The “o” is lowercase since you wouldn’t capitalize “of” when writing out the phrase. See also ‘consensus’, ‘Proof of Authority’, ‘Proof of Stake’, ‘Proof of Work’.

    PoS/PoW Hybrid
    A hybrid consensus model that utilizes a combination of Proof of Stake (PoS) and Proof of Work (PoW) consensus. Using this Hybrid consensus mechanism, blocks are validated from not only miners, but also voters (stakeholders) to form a balanced network governance.

    private blockchain
    A blockchain or distributed ledger that has a closed network where participants are controlled by a single entity. A private blockchain requires a verification process for new participants. A private blockchain may also limit which individuals are able to participate in consensus of the blockchain network. See also ‘permissioned ledger’.

    private currency
    A currency or token issued by a private individual or firm. Typically, the token or currency is limited to use within the network of that particular firm or individual. This is not to be confused with a “privacy cryptocurrency” which are cryptocurrency with specific privacy features, such as hidden user identities.

    private key
    A private key is an alphanumeric string of data that, in MetaMask, corresponds to a single specific account in a wallet. Private keys can be thought of as a password that enables an individual to access their crypto account. Never reveal your private key to anyone, as whoever controls the private key controls the account funds. If you lose your private key, then you lose access to that account.

    Proof of Authority (PoA)
    A consensus mechanism used in private blockchains, granting a single private key the authority to generate all of the blocks or validate transactions.

    Proof of Stake (PoS)
    A consensus mechanism in which an individual or “validator” validates transactions or blocks. Validators “stake” their cryptocurrency, such as ether, on whichever transactions they choose to validate. If the individual validates a block (group of transactions) correctly then the individual receives a reward. Typically, if a validator verifies an incorrect transaction then they lose the cryptocurrency that they staked. PoS requires a negligible amount of computing power compared to Proof of Work consensus.

    Proof of Work (PoW)
    A consensus mechanism in which each block is ‘mined’ by a group of individuals or nodes on the network. Hashing a block, which is in itself an easy computational process, under PoW requires each miner to solve for a set, difficult variable. In effect, the process of hashing each block becomes a competition. This addition of solving for a target increases the difficulty of successfully hashing each block. For each hashed block, the overall process of hashing will have taken some time and computational effort. Thus, a hashed block is considered Proof of Work, and the miner that successfully hashes the block first receives a reward, in the form of cryptocurrency. PoW is singificantly more energy-intensive than other consensus mechanisms, such as Proof of Stake.

    protocol
    A set of rules that dictate how data is exchanged and transmitted. This pertains to cryptocurrency in blockchain when referring to the formal rules that outline how these actions are performed across a specific network.

    public blockchain
    A globally open network where anyone can participate in transactions, execute the consensus protocol to help determine which blocks get added to the chain, and maintain the shared ledger.

    public key
    In cryptography, you have a keypair: the public and private key. You can derive a public key from a private key, but cannot derive a private key from a public key. The public key, therefore, is obtained and used by anyone to encrypt messages before they are sent to a known recipient with a matching private key for decryption. By pairing a public key with a private key, transactions not dependent on trusting involved parties or intermediaries. The public key encrypts a message into an unreadable format and the corresponding private key makes it readable again for the intended party, and the intended party only.

    R
    Relayer
    Any party or entity which hosts an off-chain orderbook. Relayers help traders discover counter-parties and cryptographically move orders between them. 0x is an example of a popular Ethereum relayer protocol.

    rollups
    Rollups (pronounced “roll ups”) are one element in the set of tools and infrastructure being built as Layer 2, the scaling solutions for the Ethereum network. They consist, in general, of solutions in which the transaction data is still kept on Layer 1, the original Ethereum network, while transaction computation occurs on a side network, freeing up computational power on Layer. There are different ways of approaching this problem from a technical point of view, namely Zero Knowledge, or ZK, rollups, and Optimistic rollups. See the entries on both of these types of rollup for more, and more in-depth discussion here.

    RPC
    The Remote Procedure Call is a protocol that, while not blockchain-specific, is used to transfer data between endpoints. You may often see it referred to as JSON-RPC, which is its full name.

    rug pull
    Similar to the traditional financial scam of a pyramid scheme, a ‘rug pull’ is a cryptocurrency or crypto-token based scam in which the creators of the token create hype, through injecting liquidity into their token, airdropping, and other schemes, and once investors pile in and boost the price of the token up to a certain point, the creators liquidate their share of the tokens, leaving their investors with next to nothing.

    S
    Satoshi Nakamoto
    A pseudonymous individual or entity who created the Bitcoin protocol, solving the digital currency issue of the “double spend.” Nakamoto first published their white paper describing the project in 2008 and the first Bitcoin software was released one year later.

    scalability
    A change in size or scale to handle a network’s demands. This word is used to refer to a blockchain project’s ability to handle network traffic, future growth, and capacity in its intended application.

    Seed (phrase) / Secret Recovery Phrase
    The seed phrase, mnemonic, or Secret Recovery Phrase is a crucial part of public blockchain technology, originally created for Bitcoin, and goes by many names. However, they all refer to a set of ordered words which correspond to determined values. These values never change, and therefore the same string of words in the same order will always produce the same number–this is the underlying functionality that allows seed phrases to back up wallets. The Secret Recovery Phrase is exactly what it sounds like: something that is secret, and should be known only to the owner of the account. If the seed phrase is given to someone else, that person has complete control over the account; they can drain it of tokens and funds, execute transactions with it, etc.

    self-executing
    Functioning by itself, not controlled by any other party other than itself. Self-executing smart contracts cut costs/overhead by removing the need for an arbitrator and trust toward a third party.

    serialization
    The process of converting a data structure into a sequence of bytes. Ethereum internally uses an encoding format called recursive-length prefix encoding (RLP).

    sharding
    Sharding refers to splitting the entire network into multiple portions called “shards.” Each shard would contain its own independent state, meaning a unique set of account balances and smart contracts. Usually, shards must be tightly coupled and side-chains must be loosely coupled.

    sidechains
    A sidechain is what it sounds like — it is a separate blockchain that is Ethereum-compatible. While a sidechain is a sort of scaling tool, as a class they aren’t part of Layer 2; they simply represent a way in which developers can build and enable cheaper transactions for the user (on the sidechain, in sidechain-native tokens or currencies) while maintaining compatibility with the Ethereum network. This often requires routing tokens through a special portal or bridge, as sending tokens from a sidechain to Ethereum mainnet or vice versa would result in token loss.

    slashing condition
    Under a Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, a slashing condition is one that causes the validator’s deposit to be destroyed when they trigger it. See also ‘Proof of Stake’.

    slot
    A slot, on the Ethereum Beacon Chain, is a 12-second period of time during which a new block may (or may not) be proposed. Every 32 slots composes an epoch. See also ‘epoch’.

    smart contracts
    Smart contracts are programs whose terms are recorded in computer code. While they often contain agreements or sets of actions between parties that emulate a traditional legal contract, they are not, in and of themselves, legal documents. Smart contracts are automated actions that can be coded and executed once a set of conditions is met, and are the dominant form of programming on the Ethereum Virtual Machine.

    soft fork
    A change to the software protocol where only previously valid blocks/transactions are made invalid. Since old nodes will recognize the new blocks as valid, a soft fork is backward-compatible. However, this can result in a potential divide in the blockchain, as the old software generates blocks that read as invalid according to the new rules.

    Solidity
    The programming language developers use to write smart contracts on the Ethereum network. Try it out on Remix. See also ‘smart contract’.

    stablecoin
    Any cryptocurrency pegged to a stable asset, like fiat currency or gold. It theoretically remains stable in price as it is measured against a known amount of an asset less subject to fluctuation. Always spelled as one word.

    staking
    In the Ethereum context, ‘staking’ of tokens or currency carries the traditional meaning of ‘setting aside currency for a determined purpose’; however, ‘staking’ can happen in a variety of venues with different effects. For example, on decentralized exchanges (DEXes), there is no centralized authority or bank putting up the funds to allow transfers to happen between parties; rather, the parties amongst themselves have to establish liquidity pools in order to facilitate swaps. In this context, someone might ‘stake’ tokens into a liquidity pool, often for a promised rate of return in exchange for the use of their tokens, with the option to withdraw their tokens later.

    On the Beacon Chain and Ethereum 2.0, ‘staking’ means something a bit different: 32 ETH may be staked at a determined smart contract address in order to operate a validator on the Beacon Chain; in this way, you help ensure the good functioning and safety of the network, and are rewarded for your staking.

    state
    The set of data that a blockchain network strictly needs to keep track of, and that represents data currently relevant to applications on the chain.

    state channels
    State channels are part of the set of tools and platforms involved in scaling Ethereum and enabling Layer 2. While a complex topic, state channels are essentially methods through which the current ‘state’ of the blockchain can be exported, and based on that any given number of transactions can take place off-chain, and then be moved back onto the main Ethereum chain.

    szabo
    A denomination of ETH. See also ‘ether (denominations)’.

    T
    Testnet
    An alternative blockchain developers use to test applications in a near-live environment.

    Testnet Koven
    Ethereum testnet that uses Proof of Authority consensus, available through MetaMask.

    Testnet Rinkeby
    Ethereum testnet that uses Proof of Authority consensus, available through MetaMask.

    Testnet Ropsten
    Ethereum testnet that uses Proof of Work consensus and is available through MetaMask.

    token
    A token represents an asset built on an existing blockchain. There are many types; see also ‘ERC-20’ and ‘ERC-721’ entries.

    transaction block
    A collection of transactions on a blockchain network, gathered into a set or a block that can then be hashed and added to the blockchain.

    transaction fee
    A small fee imposed on some transactions sent across a blockchain network. The transaction fee is awarded to the miner that successfully hashes the block containing the relevant transaction.

    trustless
    ‘Trustless’ is a term that gets used a lot in the decentralized web, and it deserves some explanation. Traditionally, to call something ‘trustless’ would sound like a negative thing. In the context of decentralized technology, it has a more technical meaning: since everyone has a copy of the ledger of all transactions ever executed, there is no need for a third-party repository of ‘truth’ in whom trust resides. We don’t rely on some centralized server somewhere that could be hacked or changed arbitrarily; anyone can verify the transactions themselves. In a way, the rules and assurances built into the blockchain provide the basis for greater trust, because the system works the same for everyone.

    Turing Complete
    Any machine that can calculate on a level equal to a programmable computer is Turing Complete, or computationally universal. The EVM, despite not existing on a single physical computer, is Turing Complete.

    V
    validator
    A participant in Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus. On the Beacon Chain, validators need to stake 32 ETH, that is to submit a sort of security deposit, in order to get included in the validator set. See also ‘staking’.

    validity proof
    The proof submitted along with certain types of rollups to prove that the transactions are valid. See also ‘rollups’.

    Validium
    One of the technologies developed for Layer 2 scaling of the Ethereum network; see more here.

    W
    Wallet
    A designated storage location for digital assets (cryptocurrency) that has an address for sending and receiving funds. The wallet can be online, offline, or on a physical device.

    Web3 / Web 3.0
    Web3, or Web 3.0, are terms used synonymously with “the decentralized web” and are often used to refer, broadly, to the blockchain and decentralized technology ecosystems as a whole.

    Z
    zk-SNARK
    Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-interactive ARguments of Knowledge are an incredible technology, and vital to the scaling of blockchain technology and the decentralized web. They are mathematically complex and can be daunting; this explanation from the Ethereum Foundation is a good primer.

    zero address
    The Zero Address is an address on the Ethereum network that is the recipient of a special transaction used to register the creation of a new smart contract on the network.

    #
    51% Attack
    If more than half the computer power or mining hash rate on a network is run by a single person or a single group of people, then a 51% attack is in operation. This means that this entity has full control of the network and can negatively affect a cryptocurrency by taking over mining operations, stopping or changing transactions, and double-spending coins.

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