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A Guide to Crypto Terminology

A Guide to Crypto Terminology 101
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Crypto and blockchain are relatively new things, not even a full decade old. This would imply that it is easier to become part of it now, while it is still in its formative phase, rather than later, when you have to learn all the rules of the game after everyone else.

Like any community centered around a common interest that is only just emerging, a whole new language surfaced to meet their requirements. And in these brief nine years, this language has become almost impossible to understand without Googling. This is why Cryptonews.com got your back!

General Terms

  • Bitcoin: the first decentralized digital currency, and currently the best known and most expensive;
  • Cryptocurrency: a digital asset designed to work as a currency, that uses cryptography to secure its transactions, to control the creation of additional units, and to verify the transfer of assets;
  • Blockchain: a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography, and acts as the basis for cryptocurrency due to its decentralization and immutability;
  • Decentralization: the property of not being owned or controlled by a single individual or group of people, thus being more resistant to inside manipulation;
  • ICO: short for Initial Coin Offering, a means by which funds are raised for a new venture, where some of the cryptocurrency is sold to early backers of the project;
  • Mining: the process of trying to ‘solve’ the next block to obtain an amount of cryptocurrency. In many cases it requires huge amounts of computer processing power;
  • Wallet: storage of 'keys', or codes, needed to access and use one’s coins. There are online (“hot”) wallets and offline (“cold”) wallets;

Technical Terms

  • Address: the location from which you would receive, send or hold your currency, generally manifested in a long string of alphanumeric characters;
  • Altcoin: “alternative coin”, any cryptocurrency that is not Bitcoin;
  • Distributed Ledger: an agreement of shared, replicable and synchronized data, in this case spread across multiple networks, across many computers;
  • 51% Attack: a situation where more than half of the computing power on a network is operated by a single individual or concentrated group, which use this power to control a network;
  • Fork: a permanent divergence of an alternative operating version of the current blockchain; come into existence when a 51% attack occurs, a bug in the program, or more commonly a new set of consensus rules come into existence;
  • Multisig: needing more than one signature to approve a transaction;
  • P2P or Peer-to-Peer: a system where peers (equally privileged, equipotent participants) share resources amongst each other without the use of a centralized administrative system;
  • Smart Contract: It’s a computer code that simplifies the execution of certain agreements and eliminates the need for a middleman;

Trading Terms

  • Exchange: a website where you can buy and sell cryptocurrencies;
  • Fiat: government-backed cryptocurrency, such as the US dollar or euro;
  • Whale: someone who owns an obscene amount of cryptocurrency, so that their trading would move the market a lot, the way real whales displace a lot of water around them;
  • Margin trading: an act of ‘magnifying’ the intensity of your trades by risking your existing coins, often equated to gambling, and forbidden on many exchanges;
  • Bull/bullish: optimism for prices, the expectation that the price is going to increase;
  • Bear/bearish: pessimism for prices, the expectation that the price is going to decrease;
  • ATH: short for all-time high, the biggest value a cryptocurrency has ever reached;
  • Shilling/pumping: advertising another cryptocurrency by making it sound too good to be true;
  • Pump and dump: a fraud scheme that originated on Wall Street, where a group of people artificially increase the price of a coin, bringing attention to it, then sell it to unsuspecting victims and watch the price crash;
  • Bagholder: someone who still holds an altcoin after a pump and dump crash; alternatively, someone who owns a coin that is steadily falling;
  • Market cap: the total value of a cryptocurrency network, calculated by multiplying the total supply of coins by the current price of an individual unit;

Inside Jokes, Memes and General Abbreviations

  • HODL: a misspelling of “hold”, means to not sell your cryptocurrencies; alternatively described as meaning Hold On for Dear Life;
  • Lambo: short for Lamborghini, which is what cryptocurrency enthusiasts want to buy with their crypto trading profits, as opposed to Ferraris (because they’re a “Wall Street thing”);
  • “This is gentlemen”: originally a misspelling of “this is it, gentlemen”, but now used as a way to point out nice things, such as the rise of your coin of choice;
  • Mooning: a price going up astronomical levels; an alternative is, “to the moon!”;
  • FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt, a phrase that describes the heightened sense of panic and anxiety which can sometimes affect the prices on the market, usually caused by misinformation;
  • FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out, getting into cryptocurrency trading so that you do not miss out on the prices eventually surging and thus profiting you;
  • Shitcoin: an altcoin that turns out to be either worthless or downright scammy;
  • DYOR: Do Your Own Research, means do not trust everyone on the internet, instead research it by yourself or ask a professional;
  • Buy the Dip, Sell the Peak: the meaning is literal, if you want to profit, buy the coin when it’s at its lowest and sell it when it rises in price.

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The list is in no way exhaustive. You are bound to come across many other terms that we have not covered here, but for a beginner, this list is your best friend. So when your FOMO is in the way of your HODLing, do not let the FUD get to you; say “this is gentlemen” and go for that lambo.

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