What is Cryptocurrency? (And Other Crypto Terms You Should Know)
From “lambo” to “sats,” the language of cryptocurrency is endlessly creative and evolving. We’ve put together a glossary of the most popular, essential, and amusing jargon, terms, shorthands, and slang.
- A better understanding of the most commonly used and essential crypto terms
- Examples of how to use the terms in their proper context
- Pronunciation tips for acronyms and other confusing terms
- An answer ready for the next time your friends and colleagues ask, “what is cryptocurrency again?”
– A –
Term to describe any and all cryptocurrencies excluding Bitcoin.
She invested in about a dozen altcoins including Litecoin and Dogecoin, with the hope that one or more would outperform Bitcoin over the long haul.
Acronym for “all time high;” the highest value ever achieved by a cryptocurrency.
Q: Did you see that Litecoin’s new ATH is over $410 USD?
A: Seriously? I never thought it would break $350, its last ATH!
Acronym for “all time low;” the lowest value ever achieved by a cryptocurrency.
He wants the best return on investment, so he’s waiting until Stellar gets within ten cents of its ATL before buying any.
Automated process of converting cryptocurrency to fiat (such as US Dollars) upon receipt
She made a Zcash donation to a charity that autoconverted her gift to USD.
– B –
The annual crypto fundraising season that starts with #CryptoGivingTuesday, and runs throughout the month of December. Its aim is to highlight the nonprofits that accept crypto and inspire crypto users to donate to charitable causes before the end of the calendar year.
Every year that I have gains from my crypto, I’m planning give to charity during Bag Season.
Bitcoin (aka “BTC”)
The first cryptocurrency, created in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto. Cryptocurrency investors can donate bitcoin to nonprofits and lower their tax liability.
Many people would say that she was smart to buy Bitcoin before 2018 and not sell any, despite market fluctuations.
Digital ledger made up of chronologically-arranged blocks of information, used to record all transactions of a particular cryptocurrency.
As blockchain is more widely understood, its technology is likely to be used far beyond cryptocurrency.
– C –
Profits made from the sale of an asset (e.g. a cryptocurrency holding).
Cryptocurrency investors can offset their capital gains taxes by donating crypto to charity.
Digital currency that uses cryptography and blockchain to encrypt, secure, and verify transactions.
According to my neighbor, a software engineer, today’s cryptocurrency boom feels like the early days of the internet.
Cryptocurrency Donation Platform
A cryptocurrency donation platform enables nonprofits to accept charitable gifts in cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin.
Within weeks of integrating a cryptocurrency donation platform, we received more than $30,000 worth of donations.
Charitable gifts donated by cryptocurrency investors.
Cryptocurrency donations are a great way to offset capital gains taxes while supporting a great cause.
Cryptocurrency Giving Pledge
The Cryptocurrency Giving Pledge challenges the crypto community to donate 1% of their crypto each year to nonprofits; individuals and businesses can take the pledge.
I’m helping to make crypto the most generous industry in the world by taking the Crypto Giving Pledge!
Crypto Adoption Fund
A crypto donation fund created by The Giving Block. The total value of the fund’s received crypto donations will be evenly distributed to TGB’s nonprofit clients.
I couldn’t decide which organization to support, so my crypto donation will go towards the Crypto Adoption Fund, which helps encourage nonprofit crypto adoption.
The Crypto Giving Pledge
A commitment started by The Giving Block that anyone can take who would like to donate 1% of their crypto each year to a nonprofit or charitable organization.
I took the Crypto Giving Pledge, even though I make anonymous donations.
Crypto Giving Tuesday
The biggest annual occasion for crypto fundraising and giving, which strengthens the culture of charitable giving in the crypto community. Crypto Giving Tuesday was created in 2019 by The Giving Block to help drive crypto donations and encourage more nonprofits to accept cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, the best-performing asset of the past decade.
Q: I missed Crypto Giving Tuesday, is it too late to donate?
A: No, you can still donate all throughout Bag Season!
All-encompassing term for the cryptocurrency fundraising ecosystem, including its donors, nonprofits/charities, and giving methods.
After their nonprofit had a challenging fiscal year, the development team planned to diversify giving streams by entering the crypto philanthropy space.
– D –
Decentralized Application (Dapp)
An application that runs on a blockchain or peer-to-peer network rather than on a single computer, operating autonomously through smart contracts.
I’m interested in trying a dapp but I need to get a wallet and some crypto first.
Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO)
A business structure that uses tokens and smart contracts to make collective decisions. Members use their blockchain tokens as votes and the entire organization is decentralized, meaning control is given to everyone instead of a traditional hierarchy.
I’m a token holder and voted today on the direction of a new project my DAO is taking on.
Decentralized Exchange (DEX)
A cryptocurrency exchange that allows peer-to-peer transactions without any intermediary.
I don’t always use Coinbase to buy crypto, sometimes I use a DEX like Uniswap.
– E –
Acronym for “End of Year,” which refers to The Giving Block’s End-of-Year fundraising campaign. Also referred to as the “Year-End Campaign.”
This fall our foundation began accepting crypto donations, just in time for our EOY campaign!
A decentralized blockchain that has smart contract functionality, launched in 2015. Currently the second-most valued cryptocurrency, after Bitcoin.
Ethereum Gas Fee
The fee required to conduct a transaction on the Ethereum blockchain, calculated based on the amount of computing required to complete a given transaction.
I love using Ethereum, but sometimes I’ll wait a few hours to complete a transaction if the gas fee is high.
Online service that enables its users to buy or sell cryptocurrencies.
The “best” crypto exchange is the one that best matches your specific needs for security, supported currencies, withdrawal options, and pricing.
– F –
A change to the rules or protocol of a blockchain as its developers make updates. Forks are either a hard fork (the blockchain splits into two separate networks, resulting in different blocks and transactions in the future) or a soft fork (a backward-compatible upgrade that does not result in a split).
Luckily the upgrade didn’t make that much of an impact, it was a soft fork.
Acronym for “Fear, uncertainty, and doubt;”
They keep telling us to sell our Ether for cash, but they don’t understand crypto, they have FUD!
A commodity that is interchangeable. Its individual units are not unique from each other.
Cash and gold are fungible.
– G –
The very first block in a cryptocurrency blockchain.
The genesis block that Satoshi Nakamoto created for Bitcoin is often referred to as “Block 0.”
An annual global day of generosity, scheduled for the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the U.S. Started in 2012, #GivingTuesday is now the biggest day in global charitable giving.
Q: When is Giving Tuesday this year?
A: The same day as Crypto Giving Tuesday!
Acronym for “good morning.” A positive affirmation and expression of solidarity posted on social media and online chat forums geared toward one’s fellow crypto users, investors and enthusiasts.
– H –
Slang term for “holding” onto a cryptocurrency rather than selling it. Derived from a misspelling of “hold.”
When the value of my favorite altcoin plummeted, I decided to hodl and it was the best decision of my life: now the value is double what I bought it for!
– I –
Acronym for “Initial coin offering;” fundraising means used to start new cryptocurrency-based projects in which investors and supporters buy some of a cryptocurrency’s tokens for future use, with the hope that the project succeeds and the value of the tokens exceeds what the price of purchase.
Their small team is hoping to raise $1M and is setting a date for its ICO sometime this fall.
– J –
Acronym for “Joy of missing out;” often uttered after a crypto’s price drop by a trader who is glad to have not taken a certain position.
Everyone told me to invest in Ethereum, but then its price dropped by 20% the next day. I guess I have a case of JOMO!
– K –
Acronym for “Know your customer;” refers to a set of standards used to verify the identities of customers.
Exchanges will likely adopt more thorough KYC practices as regulations continue to develop for the crypto industry.
– L –
Abbreviation for “Lamborghini,” a luxury Italian brand of sports car; term used to ask when a coin will be valuable enough for its investors to afford a Lamborghini.
“We just launched our token yesterday!”
“That’s great, but… When Lambo?”
– L –
A meme in which a photo is altered so that the subject’s eyes appear to glow red; often seen in profile pictures of Bitcoin supporters who want the cryptocurrency’s value to climb to $100,000.
I didn’t realize how mainstream Bitcoin was until I saw all the celebrities with laser eyes in their Twitter profile pictures–I might go buy some!
– M –
The total value of all of a cryptocurrency’s tokens, not only a single token.
When Bitcoin’s market capitalization hit $1T, my uncle finally admitted that crypto wasn’t a fad.
A virtual space that’s collectively shared and experienced. It can be regarded as a 3D model of space on the internet and experts believe it will be a major player in the digital economy.
I can’t wait to start hanging out in the metaverse.
The process of conducting and verifying transactions on a blockchain in order to create new cryptocurrency coins. Miners solve complex math problems to complete a transaction.
Bitcoin uses Proof-of-Work to mine new coins.
The process of turning digital files into cryptocurrency or an NFT.
After finishing the artwork file, I successfully minted my first NFT this week.
A sudden increase in the value of a cryptocurrency.
“Check out the exchanges today, Ravencoin is mooning!”
– N –
Non-fungible token (aka “NFT”)
A unique cryptographic asset that can be used to represent a real-world or digital item (such as an artwork).
Unlike a cryptocurrency token, which is fungible, an NFT is an irreplaceable single token.
A donation given to charity, often in the form of proceeds from an NFT auction. As NFTs have gone mainstream, more and more creators and philanthropists have taken interest in donating NFTs to nonprofits.
An artist that I manage wants to raise money for disabled veterans by auctioning off an NFT, and giving the proceeds directly to a charity.
Person who does not own any cryptocurrency.
By 2050, crypto will be so mainstream that nocoiners will become a rarity.
– O –
Acronym for “Original Gangster” (a term borrowed from hip-hop culture); person involved since the early days of Bitcoin, altcoins, or cryptocurrency in general.
Q: How did she retire so early?
A: Oh, she’s an Ethereum OG and got in when its value was about $10 USD.
– P –
Physical copy of one’s private key.
To avoid any digital security breaches, the only place that my private key is written down is in a piece of paper that serves as my paper wallet.
Encrypted, 256-bit number password needed to access a digital wallet and approve its transactions.
Q: How are you safely storing your private key?
A: I wrote it down on paper and stored it in a safe place!
A consensus mechanism that processes transactions and creates new blocks within a blockchain. It validates entries into the blockchain and secures them based on the number of coins that are staked. PoS was created as an alternative to Proof-of-Work and is less energy intensive.
Ethereum is switching to Proof-of-Stake, a more energy-efficient method of maintaining cryptocurrency.
The other method of validating blockchain transactions. In Proof-of-Work, computers complete complicated algorithms and in return miners are rewarded with tokens of cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin is well known for its adoption of Proof-of-Work to complete transactions.
Unique wallet address that is used to accept cryptocurrencies.
The coffee shop posts a QR code for its wallet so that customers paying in crypto don’t need to copy and paste their public key.
– Q –
Barcode shaped like a square; used in cryptocurrency to make a digital wallet address easily and quickly scannable for mobile wallets.
Q: Can I pay for this in crypto?
A: Sure, all you have to do is scan our QR code.
– R –
Originated from a misspelling of the word “wrecked;” refers to a person or coin that has suffered major financial loss.
Joe got rekt when every coin he’s hodling crashed on the same day.
– S –
Originated from a viral video from the CEO of Binance that used a misspelling of the word “safe,” and now also refers to Secure Asset Fund for Users, an emergency insurance fund on the crypto exchange Binance.
I dreamed that I lost my private key, but when I woke up my funds were still safu.
The smallest unit of bitcoin, 0.00000001 BTC
I can’t afford a whole BTC, but I got my hands on some sats!
A list of words which contains the information you need to access the cryptocurrency in your wallet. Think of it as: your wallet is a password manager, and your seed phrase is your master password.
I came up with my seed phrase and wrote it down, but now I’m trying to remember where I put that piece of paper.
A blockchain protocol that can automatically execute certain actions when predefined conditions have been met, used to reduce the need for third-party involvement in crypto transactions.
After talking it over, we decided to keep banks and lawyers away from our agreement, and instead we agreed upon a series of terms that we put into a smart contract.
Any cryptocurrency that has minimal price volatility, often backed by a reserve asset.
Stablecoins are seen by some as a hybrid between decentralized cryptocurrencies and reserve-backed currencies.
– T –
A considerable price drop of a cryptocurrency.
My biggest fear isn’t that Bitcoin will tank, it’s that it will get so valuable I can’t afford to keep buying more sats!
The Barstool Fund
A fundraising effort to help small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic across America, which raised over $1M from crypto donors.
My first crypto donation was to the Barstool Fund, but it won’t be my last!
The Giving Block
The Giving Block (or “TGB” for short) makes Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency fundraising easy for nonprofits. The Giving Block empowers mission-driven organizations, charities, universities, and faith-based organizations of all sizes to leverage crypto technology to achieve their mission.
Our organization added crypto as a fundraising revenue stream when we partnered with The Giving Block.
A “token” with a cryptocurrency that is built on-top of another cryptocurrency, and which can be exchanged.
BAT is a token on the Ethereum blockchain.
– U –
State of a transaction when it is yet to be appended to the blockchain.
A crypto transaction usually takes a few minutes before it goes from unconfirmed to confirmed.
– V –
Measure of how often and how drastically the price of a cryptocurrency changes.
Volatility is a consideration for any investment, whether it’s in gold, or cryptocurrency, or stocks.
– W –
Description of an investor that sold all or part of their holdings, often due to volatility-caused anxiety.
The coin only dropped by 10% and all of these weak hands are selling.
A new iteration of the internet based on blockchain technology, featuring concepts such as decentralization and enhanced privacy. Some people believe web3 will play a large role in the way business is conducted on the internet in the future.
There’s so much promise and potential with web3.
Someone who owns large amounts of cryptocurrency.
Q: How much cryptocurrency do they own?
A: I’d guess millions. He’s a whale.
– X –
Alternate abbreviation of Bitcoin (BTC).
Some exchanges use XBT instead of BTC as the ticker.
– Z –
Zero Confirmation Transaction
Alternate term for an unconfirmed transaction on the blockchain.
If you try to double-spend a cryptocurrency, the transactions will probably show up as zero confirmation transactions.
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