Crypto Glossary for Nonprofits and Donors: 35+ Terms Explained

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.

After browsing through the list below, you’ll come away with:

  • 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, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z

– A –


Term to describe any and all cryptocurrencies excluding Bitcoin.

She invested in about a dozen altcoins including Ethereum 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 USD) upon receipt

She made a Zcash donation to a charity that autoconverted her gift to USD.

[With The Giving Block, nonprofits that accept crypto donations can autoconvert charitable gifts to cash.]

– B –


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.

Bitcoin Tuesday

The equivalent of Giving Tuesday for cryptocurrencies.

Did you see how much we raised on Bitcoin Tuesday? We should’ve started accepting crypto donations sooner!


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 –

Capital Gains

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.

Cryptocurrency 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!


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 –

Digital Wallet

Financial account used to store and exchange cryptocurrencies and other digital holdings.

I used to keep my crypto on an exchange, but recently I transferred it to a private digital wallet.

– E –


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 –


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!

– G –

Genesis Block

The very first block in a cryptocurrency blockchain.

The genesis block that Satoshi Nakamoto created for Bitcoin is often referred to as “Block 0.”

– H –


Slang term for “holding” onto a cryptocurrency rather than selling it. Derived from a misspelling of “hold;” later became an accepted acronym for “Hold on for dear life.”

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.

(Pronunciation: “Joe-Moe”)

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 –

Laser Eyes

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 –

Market Capitalization

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 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.

NFT Donation

A donation given to charity, often in the form of proceeds from an NFT art auction. As NFTs have gone mainstream, more and more artists 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 hodl 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 –

Paper Wallet

Physical copy of one’s private key or wallet code.

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.

Private Key

Encrypted, 256-bit number password needed to access a digital wallet and approve its transactions.

Q: Where did you write down your private key so it’s safe?

A: I memorized my entire private key so I wouldn’t forget. It took me a week!

Public Key

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 –

QR Code

Barcode shaped like a square; used in cryptocurrency to make a digital wallet address easily and quickly scannable.

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 that used a misspelling of the word “safe;” 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.

Satoshi (SATS)

The smallest unit of bitcoin, 0.00000001 BTC

I can’t afford a whole BTC, but I got my hands on some sats!

Smart Contract

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!


“Coin” associated with a cryptocurrency, and which can be exchanged.

Bitcoin tokens are known as “bitcoins;” this is obvious to some people but confusing to many.

– 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 –

Weak Hands

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.


Investor that HODLs massive crypto assets and could influence a cryptocurrency’s value on the market by making a single transaction.

Q: Why did the price go down so much?

A: My guess is that another whale sold most of their holdings.

– X –


Alternate abbreviation of Bitcoin (BTC).

There’s no difference between BTC and XBT.

– 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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