51% Attack – The 51% attack is a type of attack that occurs when a single entity or group of entities control more than 50% of the computing power on a blockchain network.
Address – The public address of a private key. It is a collection of unique numbers and letters, which can also be represented as a QR code, that points to a specific destination.
Airdrop – A distribution of a cryptocurrency for free to numerous wallet addresses for marketing purposes.
API (Application Programming Interface) – Part of a remote server that sends requests and receives responses.
ASIC – An acronym for application-specific integrated circuit — a device designed for the sole purpose of mining cryptocurrencies.
Atomic Swap – A smart contract technology enabling the exchange of one cryptocurrency for another without using centralized intermediaries.
Bitcoin – The first, and most popular, cryptocurrency based off the decentralized ledger of a blockchain. Bitcoin was created in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, which is a pseudonym for an individual or a group whose real identity remain unknown.
Block – A record that stores transactional data.
Block Reward – The reward given to a miner or validator after he has successfully hashed a transaction block.
Blockchain – A mathematical structure for storing digital transactions in an immutable, peer-to-peer ledger that is practically impossible to fake and yet remains accessible to anyone.
Burning – Cryptocurrencies are sent to a wallet that can only receive them and not send them. It is done with the purpose of reducing the number of tokens - the fewer tokens in circulation, the more valuable the ones investors hold become.
Byzantine Fault Tolerance – Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) is a concept in computer science that is crucial to the functioning of blockchain and cryptocurrency systems.
Coin – Representation of a digital asset built on a new blockchain.
Cold Wallet – A secure method of storing your cryptocurrency completely offline. Many cold wallets (also called hardware wallets) are physical devices that look similar to a USB drive. This kind of wallet can help protect your crypto from hacking and theft, though it also comes with its own risks – like losing it, along with your crypto.
Confirmation – Blockchain confirmations provide assurance to users that their transactions made on blockchain networks have been securely recorded.
Consensus – A blockchain consensus mechanism is a protocol that helps to ensure that all participants in a blockchain network agree on the state of the ledger.
Cross-Chain Technology – The interoperability between two relatively independent blockchains.
Crypto Asset – A digital asset, which may be a medium of exchange, for which generation or ownership records are supported through a blockchain technology.
Cryptocurrency – Digital money which uses encryption and consensus algorithms to regulate the generation of coins/tokens and the transfer of funds.
Cryptography – A method for secure communication using code.
Cryptojacking – A secret use of a device to mine cryptocurrency.
DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) – A powerful and very flexible organizational structure built on a blockchain. DAO is run through smart contracts.
dApp (Decentralized Application) – An application designed by developers and deployed on a blockchain to carry out actions without intermediaries.
Decentralization – The transfer of authority from a centralized organization, government, or party to a distributed network.
DeFi (Decentralized Finance) – Any financial tool, like a smart contract or DAO, that uses blockchain technology to circumvent middleman institutions.
DEX (Decentralized Exchange) – A platform for exchanging cryptocurrencies with transactions that circumvent any centralized authority.
Digital Asset – A digital commodity that is electronically transferable and intangible with a market value.
Distributed Ledger – A database held independently by each participant (or node) in a large network.
Double Spending – A unique problem to cryptocurrency where the same coins or tokens are spent or traded twice. Bitcoin is the first to implemented a solution in 2009 which protects against double spending by verifying each transaction added to the blockchain.
Encryption – The process of making digital information into a form that prevents un-authorised access.
ERC-20 – The technical standard for fungible tokens created using the Ethereum blockchain.
ERC-721 – Another standard for Ethereum smart contracts, which allows for the issuance of a NFTs (Non-fungible tokens).
Ethereum – A decentralized Blockchain 2.0 chain. It was the first major smart contract platform.
Etherscan – A website that functions as an Ethereum blockchain network explorer.
Exchange – A business that provides a convenient online location for the exchange of cryptocurrencies, or to exchange traditional fiat currencies with cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency exchanges include Binance, Coinbase, Kraken, UnitEx and many others.
Fork – Creates an alternative version of a blockchain, and are often enacted intentionally to apply upgrades to a network. Forks alter data in a public blockchain.
Fork (Hard) – Change transaction data structures, consensus algorithms, or add/remove blocks that would not have otherwise been included.
Fork (Soft) – A soft fork is a type of upgrade to a blockchain network that maintains backwards compatibility with previous versions of the blockchain software.
FUD (Fear - Uncertainty - Doubt) – It can be legitimate, like people airing concerns about a token or NFT project's legitimacy, or tactical, as in an organized move that encourages people to sell, lowering the price of the asset.
Fungible – The property an item of being exchangeable with other like items. From a cryptocurrency perspective, each coin or token is fungible as each one has the same value.
Gas Fees – Measures how much work an action takes to perform in ethereum.
Gas Wars – When many people try to make a transaction quickly at the same time, and the gas fee increases ridiculously.
Genesis Block – The initial block of data computed in the history of a blockchain network. It is the prototype of all other blocks in the blockchain as the common ancestor of them.
Governance Tokens – A type of cryptocurrency that represents ownership in a blockchain project and grants the holder the right to participate in the decision-making process of that project.
Gwei – A minuscule and common denomination of ETH, and the unit in which Gas prices are often specified.
Halving – A reduction in the block reward given to crypto-currency miners once a certain number of blocks have been mined.
Hardware Wallet (Cold Wallet) – A physical device that can be connected to the web and interact with online exchanges, but can also be used as cold storage if not connected to the internet.
Hash Rate – A measure of computational power being used on a blockchain. A blockchain with a high hashrate is more secure.
Hashing – Hashing is the process of taking an input (also known as a message) and converting it into a fixed-size output, also known as a hash value or digest.
HODL – A purposeful misspelling of "hold", used to encourage people to hold onto their tokens during a downward price movement.
Hot Wallet – Is directly connected to the internet at all times. Hot wallets have lower security than cold storage systems or hardware wallets.
Hybrid Blockchain – A mix of public and private blockchains.
Hybrid PoW/PoS – A consensus model that utilizes a combination of Proof of Stake (PoS) and Proof of Work (PoW) consensus. Using this consensus mechanism, blocks are validated from not only miners, but also voters/stakeholders to form a balanced network governance.
Immutability – Data stored in a blockchain is unable to be changed.
Initial Game Offering (IGO) – A crowdfunding approach that blockchain game teams use to crowdfund an early-stage game.
InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) – A protocol and P2P network for storing and sharing data in a distributed file system.
Ledger – A record used to track transactions. In blockchain, ledgers are distributed across many nodes within a blockchain network.
Lightning Network – A series of off-chain payment channels where two people can conduct a lightning fast low-cost transactions, which are later settled on-chain.
Mainnet – The production version of a blockchain.
Merkle Tree (Hash Tree) – A tree in which every leaf node is labelled with the hash of a data block and every non-leaf node is labelled with the cryptographic hash of the labels of its child nodes.
MetaMask – An online digital wallet used primarily for transactions on the ethereum blockchain.
Metaverse – A digital world frequented by thousands of users at once. Blockchain-integrated metaverses, like Decentraland, allow people to own the land, buildings and items within these worlds, and sell or trade them.
Mining – The process of creating a new block and submitting it to the blockchain. In order to verify a block a miner must use a computer to solve a cryptographic problem. Miners collect transaction fees and are rewarded for their services.
NFT (Non-Fungible Tokens) – A 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.
Node – A node is a type of participant in the blockchain network that stores data and contributes to the consensus process to ensure that all new transactions and blocks are valid.
Nonce (Number Only Used Once) – A random number that is generated to create an encrypted block that connects to a blockchain. It is the first number a blockchain miner looks for when mining cryptocurrency.
Off-Chain – A storage mechanism where transaction data is stored outside the blockchain in a nonpublic location, and are more "private" and faster than on-chain alternatives.
Ommer (Uncle) – A block which has been completely mined but has not yet been added to the Blockchain.
On-Chain – A transaction that is recorded on a blockchain.
Oracles – Services (entity or person) that connect real-world data with blockchain applications. They find and verify real-world occurrences and submit this information to a blockchain to be used by smart contracts.
Orphan Block – A validated block that is not accepted into the blockchain network due to a time lag in the acceptance of the block in question into the blockchain.
P2P (Peer-to-peer) – Interactions that happen between two separate individuals. On a blockchain network individuals are able to transact with each other without relying on an intermediary or single point of failure.
PoA (Proof of Authority) – A consensus mechanism used in private blockchains, granting a single private key the authority to generate all of the blocks or validate transactions.
PoS (Proof of Stake) – A consensus algorithm that asks users to prove ownership of a certain amount of currency that is their stake in the currency.
PoW (Proof of Work) – In a PoW algorithm, the miners compete against each other to validate a block and the first miner who presents validation for a block gets rewarded.
Private Blockchain – Has a closed network where participants are controlled by a single entity. Private blockchains require a verification process for new participants.
Private Key – A cryptography allowing a user access to his or her cryptocurrency or transaction. It is equivalent to a password.
Public Blockchain – A globally open network where anyone can participate in transactions, execute the consensus protocol, and maintain the shared ledger.
Public Key – Is obtained and used by anyone to encrypt messages before they are sent to a known recipient with a matching private key for decryption.
Public Key Cryptography – Encryption that uses two mathematically related keys. A public and private key.
Public Ledger – This is the place where you can view every transaction ever made on a blockchain, given that it’s public.
Ring Signature – A cryptographic technology that provides a decent level of anonymization on a blockchain. It is a private-key-based signature that can`t be decrypted using multiple valid keys.
Seed Phrase – A random sequence of words which can be used to restore a lost wallet.
Sharding – Dividing a blockchain into several smaller component networks called shards capable of processing transactions in parallel.
Sidechain – A disconnected blockchain created with the purpose of linking to a primary blockchain, so increasing the speed and scalability of the blockchain network.
Smart Contract – A computer code within blockchain that automatically moves digital assets according to pre-specified rules.
Soft Fork – A type of upgrade to a blockchain network that maintains backwards compatibility with previous versions of the blockchain software.
Stablecoin – A cryptocurrency which is underwritten by an asset (fiat money, commodities, etc.) designed to minimize the volatility of the price of the token. Examples of stablecoins are USDT, USDC, BUSD, USDU.
Staking – A way of earning rewards for holding certain cryptocurrencies.
STO (Security Token Offering) – The token is officially classified as a security, and the token is sold to accredited investors through a regulated exchange. STOs are registered with the SEC.
Testnet – A staging blockchain environment for testing application before being put into production.
Token – A unit of value on a blockchain that usually has some other value proposition besides just a transfer of value (like a coin).
Tokenomics – It describes the factors that impact a token's use and value, including the token's creation, distribution, supply, demand, and token burn schedules.
Transactions Per Second (TPS) – A measurement of the speed of a blockchain.
TRC-20 – The TRC-20 standard allows for tokens to be created on the TRON network. It is similar to the ERC-20 standard used for Ethereum tokens and is intended to be fully compatible with it.
Unspent Transaction Output (UTXO) – An unspent transaction output (UTXO) is a component of blockchain transactions that can be utilized as input in a new transaction, effectively defining the start and end points of each transaction.
Utility Token – A special type of token that helps in the capitalization of projects for startups, or project development groups. An example of a utility token is UNTB.
Validator – A participant in Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus.
Vitalik Buterin – One of the creators behind the ethereum blockchain.
Wallet – A designated storage location for digital assets (cryptocurrency) that has an address for sending and receiving funds. Every wallet in a blockchain network has a unique address to identify it.
Web3 – Web3 is a network of decentralized applications (dApps) that operate on a decentralized infrastructure, allowing users to interact with each other and exchange value without the need for intermediaries.
Whale – A slang term used to describe big players in the cryptocurrency markets, from institutional investors to wealthy individuals or hedge funds.
Whisper – Part of the Ethereum P2P protocol suite that allows for messaging between users via the same network that the blockchain runs on.
Zero-Knowledge Proof – A cryptographic concept that allows one party to prove to another party that they know a certain piece of information without revealing any details about that information.
If there is a term you were looking for and you don't see it, you can submit it here and we will add it to our Blockchain Glossary.