98 Crypto terms you need to know now

June 8, 2022
Newton Team
June 8, 2022
Newton Team
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Cryptocurrency represents the rise of the digital economy, and with this new age comes a new financial lexicon. If you’ve ever been confused by crypto terms in the news or didn’t quite understand the latest viral cryptocurrency meme, we’ve got your knowledge gaps covered.  

From altcoins to yield farming, we’ve compiled the ultimate cryptocurrency glossary with all the terms you need to know. Feel free to bookmark this page so you can reference this glossary as you start to buy and sell crypto on your own.

Crypto terminology defined

If you’re ready to dive into the world of crypto, you’ll want to have some background on common cryptocurrency terms. Use the table of contents to navigate this guide or just scroll through and read to absorb the crypto knowledge.

1. Address

Known as a wallet address or crypto address, this term refers to a string of numbers and letters that represents a location where you can buy and sell cryptocurrency. Much like an email address or physical address, it specifies a wallet’s unique location on a blockchain.

2. Airdrop

Airdrop refers to a method in which a specific token is distributed to various wallet addresses. It’s typically used as a marketing tactic to incentivize users to hold other tokens or increase engagement on a particular platform.

3. All-Time High (ATH)

An All-Time High is the highest price point that a particular cryptocurrency has ever reached in its history. Generally, the ATH is the greatest price a trader has ever paid for the asset, and it demonstrates its financial potential.

4. All-Time Low (ATL)

The All-Time Low is the lowest price point a specific cryptocurrency has ever reached since it launched. It is the opposite of a cryptocurrency’s All-Time High (ATH).

5. Altcoin

Altcoin refers to any other cryptocurrency coin that is not Bitcoin. It is short for the term “Alternative Coin.” Examples include Ethereum, Litecoin, Cardano, and Dogecoin.

6. Bag

In crypto terms, a bag refers to any tokens or coins an individual is holding in their portfolio. It’s generally used as slang for a large amount of a specific type of cryptocurrency. A “heavy bag” refers to an extremely-large holding of one type of crypto.

7. Bag Holder

A bag holder is any investor that keeps large amounts of a specific cryptocurrency despite the coin’s performance. Typically, it’s used to describe someone who holds onto a lot of poorly performing crypto.

8. Bear Market

A bear market occurs when a market has lost 20% or more of its value when compared to high points from previous months. It’s often the result of economic decline and is characterized by low investor confidence.

9. Bitcoin (BTC)

Bitcoin is the first-ever cryptocurrency, created in 2009 by Satoshi Nakatomo. It’s the most popular cryptocurrency and is represented by the ticker symbol (BTC).

10. Bitcoin Cash (BCH)

A cryptocurrency that was designed to address Bitcoin’s scalability issues and be easier to use in daily life. Unlike Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash is a transactional coin that is meant to be spent. It’s represented by the ticker symbol (BCH) and should not be confused with Bitcoin (BTC).

11. Block

A block is a unit of digital information that contains records of transactions completed during any given time.. A blockchain is made up of multiple linked blocks and each block is ordered sequentially.

12. Block Confirmation

Block confirmation refers to when your transaction is included in a block on a blockchain. With crypto exchanges, it signifies that a transaction is final and irreversible.

13. Block Height

Block height is the number of blocks that come before any given block on a blockchain. A blockchain’s block height is a measure of how long it has existed.

14. Block Reward

A block reward is a term for the coins given as a reward for the process of mining or solving the cryptographic problem that’s required to add another block to the blockchain.

15. Blockchain

A blockchain is a distributed, online ledger that is made of a sequence of blocks. This technology is the foundation of most cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

16. Bounty

A crypto bounty is a reward given to users for completing specific tasks assigned by a blockchain network. They were initially used as a marketing tool to promote the initial coin offering of a new token and induce participation in block validation for blockchain projects.

17. Broker

Brokers act as a mediator between traders and the cryptocurrency market. They facilitate orders to buy, sell or trade crypto assets.

18. Bull Market

A bull market marks a time when the prices of assets increase significantly. It can be used to describe the crypto or stock market and is typically motivating for investors and buyers.

19. Candlestick Chart

A tool that shows the price movement of a specific security during a given time period. Typically, the chart displays high, low, open and closing prices. When there is strong buying pressure, the chart will depict long white or green candlesticks.

20. Centralized Exchange (CEX)

Centralized cryptocurrency exchanges use a third party to complete crypto transactions. Third parties facilitate trading and provide security for trades. They are currently the most common form of crypto exchange.

21. Coin

A coin represents one unit of a specific cryptocurrency or it can refer to a cryptocurrency that operates on an independent platform.

22. Cold Wallet

A type of digital wallet that stores digital assets like private cryptocurrency keys, offline. They are typically physical devices similar to USB drives and should be kept in a secure location.

23. Consensus

Consensus refers to when all users in a network agree on the sequence and content of blocks in a blockchain. Consensus is required in a decentralized system to make decisions as a collective.

24. Cryptocurrency

A form of digital money that uses cryptography to ensure secure transactions online.

25. Cryptography

Cryptography is the study and practice of securing information so that unintended parties cannot access it. Typically, it uses mathematical and computational methods to encode and decode data.

26. Custodian

A custodian is a third party that offers cold or offline storage for your cryptocurrency coins. It’s a practical way to secure your crypto assets and is sometimes required by law. Custody providers often use a combination of cold and hot wallet storage.

27. Decentralized

Decentralization is the transfer of control from a central authority to many authorities. In the case of blockchain and cryptocurrency, the decision-making control lies with a distributed network rather than one individual or organization.

28. Decentralized Applications (dApp)

A decentralized application is any application that operates on a distributed, peer-to-peer network. These computer applications are enabled by blockchain technology and do not have a single point of failure.

29. Decentralized Exchange (DEX)

A decentralized cryptocurrency exchange uses blockchain technology to facilitate transactions without a third party. Blockchain enables smart contracts to deploy secure transactions and trade crypto directly from peer to peer.

30. Decentralized Finance (DeFi)

Decentralized finance refers to a movement that promotes alternative means to traditional, centralized financial services. It also refers to the ecosystem of decentralized financial applications that eliminate the need for intermediaries like banks or payment processors.

31. Digital Asset

Anything that is a digital store of value is considered a digital asset. Examples of digital assets are cryptocurrencies or a store of real-life information on a blockchain.

32. Digital Gold

Financial experts analogize Bitcoin to “digital gold” because of its ability to store and increase in value. The analogy is said to be misleading because while gold can be mined every year, Bitcoin has a fixed supply.

33. Digital Signature

A method of using cryptography to prove that a digital message or document is authentic. Valid digital signatures show proof that the communication is not altered or tampered with.

34. Distributed Ledger

A distributed ledger is essentially a database that stores data across a distributed network. They can be public or private and don’t always involve cryptocurrency.

35. Dogecoin (DOGE)

Dogecoin is an altcoin and one of the first meme coins. It launched in 2013 and has risen in popularity due to its reputation as a fun coin in the media. Unlike Bitcoin, Dogecoin has no coin limit and is considered an inflationary coin.

36. Double Spend

Double spending refers to the possibility of digital currency being spent twice. It’s a prominent issue with virtual currencies because digital data can easily be reproduced. It’s often present in malicious attacks like 51% attacks.

37. Do Your Own Research (DYOR)

In the crypto community, users are encouraged to “do your own research” instead of following advice from others.

38. Dust

Dust refers to a very small or trace amount of crypto that gets leftover after a transaction. The amount is typically so small that it isn’t worth the computing power it would take to transfer it, rendering the transaction impossible.

39. Encryption

The process of encoding information so that it can’t be deciphered without an appropriate decryption aid, like an algorithm or key.

40. ERC20 Tokens

Ethereum request for comment (ERC) 20 tokens are the technical standard used for fungible or interchangeable tokens on the Ethereum network. The tokens are used for all smart contracts. 

41. Ether

The native cryptocurrency coin of the Ethereum blockchain platform is referred to as Ether. It’s used as a form of payment.

42. Ethereum (ETH)

Ethereum is a decentralized, blockchain platform that provides functionality for smart contracts and decentralized apps. It’s regarded as the second-most popular cryptocurrency platform and is represented by the ticker symbol (ETH).

43. Exchange

Any online platform that allows for the buying and trading of cryptocurrencies. Exchanges allow both buyers and sellers to make transactions with both fiat money and cryptocurrency.

44. Fiat

Fiat is a government-issued currency that isn’t backed by physical commodities and is generally considered legal tender. Most paper currencies such as the Canadian dollar or Euro are fiat currencies.

45. Fork

In terms of blockchain, a fork refers to when a chain splits and creates an alternate chain. These two chains run simultaneously and either remain compatible (soft fork) or separate permanently (hard fork). A fork in the Bitcoin blockchain in 2017 produced Bitcoin Cash.

46. FUD

The term FUD stands for fear, uncertainty, and doubt. In the crypto world, it references anyone who spreads negativity intending to get an asset’s price to fall.

47. Gas

Gas is a fee used to conduct transactions, enable smart contracts, or launch dApps on the Ethereum network. Developers typically pay this as a fee with ether.

48. Genesis Block

The genesis block refers to the first confirmed block of a blockchain network. It’s also known as block 0 or block 1.

49. Gwei

A Gwei is a denomination of Ether that is used to define the cost of gas. One Ether is equivalent to one billion Gwei.

50. Governance Coin

A governance coin represents voting power on a blockchain and is distributed to users to vote on governance proposals. These tokens help shape protocol on a blockchain project.

51. Halving

A process where the reward rate for mining a block is cut in half. This process is written into Bitcoin’s code and occurs roughly every four years. Halving may affect the price of the asset.

52. Hash

Hash refers to the output of a hash function, which is used in cryptography to map and secure arbitrary data to a fixed-size value. Typically, they are a unique string of letters and numbers of a fixed length.

53. HODL

HODL stands for “Hold On for Dear Life” and is a passive investment strategy where you keep an asset for the long term, especially during times of high volatility. It was originally a typo of the word “hold” in a Bitcoin forum and became a famous expression thereafter.

54. Hot Wallet

A type of digital wallet that connects to the internet to store digital assets such as cryptocurrency keys.

55. Immutability

Immutability is the inability to be changed or altered. This characteristic is inherent to blockchains and is the reason many crypto transactions are irreversible.

56. Initial Coin Offering (ICO)

This is a crowdfunding strategy where a new company sells cryptocurrency to raise capital.

57. Lambo Wealth

Lambo wealth refers to when your portfolio of cryptocurrency reaches a substantial enough value that you could afford a Lamborghini.

58. Layer-1

Layer-1 refers to a set of solutions that improve the base layer of a blockchain. The Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum networks all exist as layer-1 blockchains.

59. Layer-2

Used together with a layer-1 blockchain, layer-2 is a scaling solution that enables better transaction throughput while maintaining the security of the base layer-1 blockchain. Layer-2 provides more flexibility, cost savings, and speed when it comes to transactions.

60. Limit Order

Limit orders are a type of order that purchase or sell an asset at a user-specified price or better. For example, if it’s a limit buy order, the order will only execute if the order can be filled at the specified limit buy price or lower. In the case of a limit sell order, the sell order will only execute if the asset can be sold for the specified limit sell price or higher.

61. Liquidity

The ability to buy and sell cryptocurrency or any other asset without significantly affecting the market price.

62. Litecoin

Founded in 2011 by Charlie Lee, Litecoin is an altcoin that is considered to be one of the first derived from Bitcoin’s open-source code. It’s characterized by a quicker block generation rate than Bitcoin.

63. Margin Trading

The practice of using funds borrowed from a broker to trade cryptocurrency.

64. Market Cap

Market capitalization or market cap is the total trading value of a cryptocurrency. It’s calculated by multiplying the existing coin supply by the market price and is used to rank cryptocurrencies by size.

65. Mining

Mining is the process by which blocks are confirmed and added to a blockchain. It’s also the process in which new crypto coins are minted.

66. Mining Pool

A tactic where a group of miners pool resources to increase their likelihood of finding the next block.

67. Minting

The process of creating new coins using a proof-of-stake protocol. When new coins are minted, they’re added to circulation to be traded.

68. Moon

An expression used to describe when an asset, like a cryptocurrency, is experiencing a strong upward price movement.

69. Node

A computer or participant on a blockchain network that works with the collective to keep the system secure.

70. Non-fungible Token (NFT)

Non-fungible tokens or NFTs are cryptographic tokens that represent real-world or digital assets and can’t be replaced or exchanged for other tokens.

71. Over-the-Counter (OTC) Trading

An over-the-counter trade is a trade conducted directly between two parties without it being performed through the open market. In the context of crypto, OTC trades refer to the immediate settlement of transactions.

72. Paper Wallet

A type of physical wallet that stores a cryptocurrency address and private key on a printed piece of paper.

73. Peer-to-peer (P2P)

Peer-to-peer refers to the interaction between two or more parties without an intermediary or central authority. In a P2P network, computers in a distributed network interact to share a workload.

74. Private Blockchain

A type of blockchain that requires permission from a central authority to access the network.

75. Private Key

An encrypted code assigned to an account that demonstrates proof of ownership and allows access.

76. Proof-of-Stake

A blockchain consensus mechanism where validators stake a certain amount of coins to participate in block validation.  

77. Proof-of-Work

A blockchain consensus mechanism by which miners must solve a computational problem in exchange for a block reward.

78. Public Blockchain

A type of blockchain that anyone can access to make or receive secure transactions.

79. Public Key

A wallet address that you can share with others. Similar to a bank account number, you can provide a public key so that people may send or receive money from you.

80. Ripple (XRP)

Ripple is a blockchain-based digital payment network and cryptocurrency that was launched in 2012. The native token, XRP, is pre-mined and is represented by the same ticker symbol (XRP).

81. Satoshi Nakomoto

Satoshi Nakamoto is the pseudonym of the creator of Bitcoin. Nakamoto’s real identity is currently unknown, and the name could also represent a group of people that created Bitcoin.

82. Satoshis (SATS)

A Satoshi is the smallest denomination of Bitcoin and is equivalent to one hundred millionth of a Bitcoin or 0.00000001 BTC.

83. Smart Contract

A smart contract is a computer program that enforces contracts on blockchain without the need for third-parties. The Ethereum blockchain is notable for its ability to execute smart contracts.

84. Solana (SOL)

Solana is a blockchain platform that can execute smart contracts and host decentralized apps. It’s quicker and has lower transaction costs than its rival, the Ethereum blockchain. The ticker symbol for Solana is (SOL).

85. Stablecoin

Stablecoins are a type of cryptocurrency that maintain a stable value because they are tied to the price of physical assets or derived from algorithmic logic. Their price isn’t as volatile as the rest of the crypto market.

86. Stellar Lumens (XLM)

Stellar is a blockchain-based cryptocurrency created by the Stellar Development Foundation. Its native token is called a lumen and is represented by the ticker symbol (XLM).

87. Tether (USDT)

Tether is a popular stablecoin whose price is pegged to the U.S. dollar.  It’s traded under the ticker symbol of USDT.

88. Ticker Symbol

The ticker symbol is a unique string of letters that distinguishes and represents assets like cryptocurrencies or stocks on an exchange. It’s also referred to as a ticker or just as a symbol.

89. Token

A token is a digital unit on a blockchain that can hold value or be used to transfer value.

90. Transaction Fee

A fee that’s charged to complete a transaction on a blockchain network.

91. Vitalik Buterin

Vitalik Buterin is known as one of the inventors of the Ethereum network, which came about in 2015.

93. Volatility

Volatility is a statistical measure of the distribution of returns. It’s represented by the standard deviation of the annual return of an asset over a certain amount of time.  

94. Wallet

A wallet is a place to store digital assets like cryptocurrencies. Some crypto exchanges offer digital wallet storage, but others do not. You can choose between a cold wallet (physical, offline storage) or a hot wallet (online, software storage).

95. Web3

Web3 refers to the next generation of the internet. In this iteration of the internet, value can be exchanged from peer-to-peer without the need for intermediaries.

96. Whale

A whale refers to investors that own a significant amount of a specific cryptocurrency and have the ability to influence market prices. For example, Satoshi Nakatomo is a Bitcoin whale because they own a significant portion of Bitcoin in existence.

97. Yield Farming

Yield farming is the process of earning interest through crypto investments in decentralized finance markets.

98. 51% Attack

A 51% attack is a malicious event in which a single entity gains control over more than 50% of a network’s mining hash rate or computer power.

Now that you know the difference between crypto terms like Bitcoin and altcoin, you can strengthen your new vocabulary by learning more on The Newton Blog. If you’re ready to flex your knowledge, check out Newton for a low-cost way to start trading.

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