The Crypto Glossary – Popular Terms and Acronyms

A list of the most popular crypto terms and acronyms

  • Address – A string of code that refers to the wallet of an individual who is sending or receiving cryptocurrency. The address is an individual’s digital avatar in a cryptocurrency network.
  • Altcoin – A term for any other cryptocurrency besides Bitcoin and sometimes Ethereum. Many altcoins are illegitimate and have little trust in the broader public. They are sometimes hard to transfer and may also be outright scams. 
  • Arbitrage – A trading strategy where a trader takes advantage of different prices for the same product on different exchanges. While arbitrage is most common for stocks and currencies, it can also be applied to cryptocurrencies. 
  • ATH – All-time high. This term refers to the highest-ever price of an asset like a cryptocurrency. Bitcoin has hit this number repeatedly over the past two years. 
  • Bagholder – A term for the individual who is left with a worthless stock after the successful completion of a pump-and-dump scheme. They are the victims of these scams. 
  • Bear market – A market where the long-term prices of an asset such as a cryptocurrency are decreasing. Investors during a bear market are more cautious and pessimistic than usual. 
  • Bearish – A negative attitude about an asset that the price will soon drop or continue to drop. 
  • Bitcoin – The original form of cryptocurrency proposed in 2010. Bitcoin is so popular that its name has become shorthand for all forms of cryptocurrency. 
  • Block – The collection of data (transactions) that are grouped together for verification and eventually added to the blockchain.
  • Block reward – This term refers to the reward that a miner receives for processing a part of the blockchain that verifies a transaction. Block rewards are the way in which miners receive cryptocurrency. 
  • Blockchain – A system of ledgers protected by cryptography that computers in a network can access. The blockchain is the technological backbone of cryptocurrencies. 
  • Bull market – A market where the value of an asset has increased and is projected to increase in the future. This market causes investors to become more optimistic and go long more than usual. 
  • Bullish – An attitude about any kind of asset that the asset will increase in value over the short-term and the long-term. 
  • Circulating Supply – A best guess of the total number of token or coins in circulation. This is usually used when computing the coin’s “market cap”. I say best guess because it’s almost impossible to calculate accurately.
  • Coin – A representation of an asset that resides on its own blockchain (like bitcoin).
  • Coinbase – One of the largest and most trustworthy cryptocurrency exchanges available today. A sign of legitimacy in the world of cryptocurrency is listing a currency on this exchange. 
  • Cold storage – The way by which individuals take their cryptocurrency out of online systems so it can be kept away from possible hacking. The easiest way to do this is to print a QR code onto a piece of paper and keep track of that paper. 
  • Cryptocurrency – An anonymous, decentralized form of currency based off of lines of code that make up a blockchain. 
  • Cryptojacking – A process where a computer is taken over and surreptitiously used to mine cryptocurrency. Cryptojacking often uses only a small amount of processing power from several hundred or thousand computers for illicit mining. 
  • DAO – Stands for Dentralized Autonomous Organization. It was a venture capital fund built on the Ethereum network that was hacked in 2016, losing almost a third of its funds. The DAO is often referred to in the news when highlighint the risks of cryptocurrency.
  • Dapp – Stands for Decentrazlied Application. This is an application that uses blockchain technology.
  • Decentralized – A system in which there is no central authority or entity that holds control, but rather the system’s resources and processes are distributed among many entities.
  • DYOR – Stands for “do your own research”. This term refers to the need for research and information in the often opaque world of cryptocurrencies. 
  • ERC-20 – The token standard of Ethereum. ERC-20 tokens are easily exchangeable. Most ICOs use the ERC-20 standard.
  • Ether – The term that refers to the units of the crytpocurrency Ethereum. 
  • Ethereum – One of the leading cryptocurrencies on the market today after Bitcoin. Ethereum is poised to become larger and more prominent than Bitcoin because of its applicability and adoption by corporate entities. 
  • Exchange – A website or other venue where an individual can buy or sell cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency exchanges vary widely in their reliability. 
  • Fiat – A shorthand term for traditional currency. Traditional currencies are fiat in the sense that their value is not backed by material goods such as gold. They are the main alternative currently to cryptocurrencies. 
  • FOMO – Short for “fear of missing out”. The fear of missing out creates a bandwagon effect on assets like cryptocurrencies and is one of the major motivating factors for cryptocurrency purchases. 
  • Fork – The splitting of a cryptocurrency into different currency approaches with different network rules. Bitcoin first forked nearly seven years after its introduction in 2017. 
  • FUD – An acronym that stands for “fear, uncertainty, and doubt”. This term refers to the forces that can either intentionally or unintentionally bring down the price of an asset. They can be helpful for individuals looking to short an asset. 
  • Gas – A fee in Ethereum in ether for every transaction made through the cryptocurrency. 
  • Going long – Refers to an investment strategy where investors buy a particular asset like a cryptocurrency with the hopes that the investment will increase in value and that they can sell it later for a profit. This strategy is often employing during a bull market. 
  • Going short – An investment strategy where an individual borrows a certain amount of an asset to sell to a buy in hopes of paying it back at a later date and lower price. Shorting an asset is a bet that the asset will lose money in the future. This strategy is most effective during a bear market. 
  • Gwei – Another denomination of Ether. Gas prices are usually paid in measurements of Gwei. 1 Ether = 1,000,000,000 Gwei.
  • Hardware wallet – A secure device for storing cryptocurrency that is particularly effective for cold storage. Hardware wallets are more secure and less flexible than software wallets. 
  • HODL – It started out as a misspelling by an inebriated reddit user and grew from there. Here’s the original post it came from –
  • ICO – Short for initial coin offering. An ICO is the process by which a cryptocurrency introduces its methodology and starts the process of building a network and verifying a blockchain. 
  • Lambo – Short for “lamborghini”. Lambo is a term for what cryptocurrency investors will buy when the investment makes them millionaires. 
  • Limit order – An asset arrangement where an individual agrees to buy an asset if its price falls below a certain range and sell an asset if it rises above that range. Limit orders help to minimize risk for investors of any asset including cryptocurrency. 
  • Margin trading – Trading any kind of asset by borrowing money to increase the amount of volume being traded. This approach to trading is one of the riskiest possible. 
  • Market cap – The total value of an asset. In the world of cryptocurrencies, market capitalization is devised by multiplying the number of crypto coins in circulation by its current price.
  • MEW – Stands for MyEtherWallet. A great site that has lots of useful and free tools for Ethereum users, including creating free wallets.
  • Miner – An individual who mines cryptocurrency. After several years of expansion, miners almost never work on their own and often pool their resources. 
  • Mining – The processing of the blockchain in order to verify transactions and earn units of cryptocurrency. Mining is the way in which more cryptocurrency is created. 
  • Mining rig – Any device that an individual uses for cryptocurrency mining. For most individuals, a mining rig is a computer optimized for mining with extra graphics cards. However, mining rigs can be any computer of almost any size or strength. 
  • Mooning – A crypto asset with a price that has gone up massively in a recent period of time. 
  • Node – A computer that possesses a copy of the blockchain and is working to maintain it.
  • PoS – An acronym that is short for “proof of stake”. This will be the future model of Ethereum where owners of ether will be able to make decisions about the currency and have their votes rewarded with more ether. 
  • PoW – An acronym for “proof of work”. This approach is the traditional way in which individuals mine cryptocurrency. PoW involves individuals showing their work in mining and verifying the blockchain and being rewarded with cryptocurrency. 
  • Pump and dump – A scheme where a group of investors place a large amount of money in an asset above its known worth. This “pump” lures in other investors who see the asset gain in value. The original investors then “dump” the stock and its price craters. 
  • Satoshi – The smallest fraction of a Bitcoin that can currently be sent. 1 Satoshi = .00000001 Bitcoin
  • Sharding – A strategy for scaling upwards where different nodes on a cryptocurrency network already have large stretches of the blockchain to work from. Storing strings of blockchain through sharding helps optimize processing power and cuts down on the time required to process new parts of the blockchain. 
  • Shilling – An individual illicitly or blatantly advertising a cryptocurrency. Shilling is seen as more obvious and transparent than normal advertising. 
  • Shitcoin – Exactly what it sounds like.
  • Smart contract – A contract that governs cryptocurrency transactions and cannot be altered or cancelled. Smart contracts often have conditions and stipulations attached to different transactions. 
  • Software wallet – A program that stores certain public and private keys used to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrencies. The software wallet is the application that ensures cryptocurrency users can transfer and make purchases with his or her cryptocurrency. 
  • Stable coin – Stable coin is a term for trusted cryptocurrencies that are not small, untrusted upstarts like altcoins. 
  • The Flippening – The moment when Ethereum becomes larger than Bitcoin. There are websites that currently count down to this moment. 
  • Token – A representation of an asset or utility that resides on top of another blockchain (like Ethereum). Tokens are different from coins in that coins typically operate on their own blockchain (like Bitcoin or Ethereum).
  • Two Factor Authentication or 2FA – A second layer of identity verification to secure your account when logging in. It usually requires you to enter a unique code sent to your mobile phone during log in. This prevents hackers from accessing your account with a stolen username and password since they would need your phone to authenticate the log in.
  • Wei – The smallest denomination of Ether. 1 Ether = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 Wei.
  • Whale – An individual who owns a large amount of an asset such as a cryptocurrency. Whales have a disproportionate impact on the price and volatility of an asset. 
The Crypto Glossary - Popular Terms and Acronyms
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The Crypto Glossary - Popular Terms and Acronyms
Check out our definitive list of the most popular crypto terms and acronyms. We explain their meaning and dispel the confusion around these new terms.