Crypto Glossary

Crypto Glossary

May 4th, 2017

Address – A secure identifier marked by a unique string of characters that enables payments to an individual or entity via blockchain transactions. It usually requires a private key to exclusively access the funds. For example, Bitcoin addresses are alphanumeric strings that begin with a 1 or 3; Ethereum addresses begin with ‘0x’.

Altcoin – A cryptocurrency or a category of cryptocurrencies that are an alternative to Bitcoin. Many altcoins project themselves as better alternatives to bitcoin in numerous ways (e.g. more efficient, less expensive, etc.).

Bitcoin (BTC) – A type of cryptocurrency created by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. It was one of the first digital currencies that enabled instant P2P payments. Bitcoins are created through a process known as bitcoin mining that requires a massive amount of computing power.

Block – Refers to a collection of data related to transactions that are bundled together with a predetermined size and are processed for transaction verification and eventually becomes part of a blockchain.

Blockchain – A decentralized, digital ledger where transactions made in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies are recorded chronologically and publicly. The block contains information that, once it goes into the blockchain, it becomes part of the permanent and immutable database, connecting to other blocks in the blockchain like the links in a chain.

Circulating supply – An approximation of the number of coins or tokens that are circulating in the public market.

Cryptocurrency – A type of digital currency that is generally decentralized and uses cryptography (i.e. data is converted into a format that is unreadable for unauthorized users) for added security, making it difficult to counterfeit or manipulate.


Decentralized – A state where there is no central control, power or function, or about infrastructure, no central point of failure.

Ether (ETH) – A type of cryptocurrency that is used for operating the Ethereum platform and is used to pay for transaction fees and computational tasks. In the platform, transaction fees are measured based on the gas limit and gas price and ultimately paid for in Ether.

Ethereum – An open source, decentralized platform based on blockchain technology created by Vitalik Buterin in 2013. It runs smart contracts on a custom built blockchain that allows developers to create markets, store registries of debts, and so on.

Fiat money – Refers to currencies that have minimal or no intrinsic value themselves (i.e. they are not backed by commodities like gold or silver) but are defined as legal tender by the government, such as paper bills and coins.

Flipping – A type of investment strategy (popular in real estate investing) where you buy something with the goal of reselling for a profit later, usually in a brief period. In the context of ICOs, flipping refers to the strategy of investing in tokens before they are listed on the exchanges and reselling them for a profit when they are trading in the secondary market.

FOMO – An acronym that stands for ‘fear of missing out’ and in the context of investing, refers to the feeling of apprehension for missing out on a potentially profitable investment opportunity and regretting it later.

Gas price – A term used in the Ethereum platform that refers to the price you are willing to pay for a transaction. Setting a higher gas price will make miners more incentivized to prioritize and validate that transaction ahead of those set with a lower gas price.

Genesis block – The first block of data that is processed and validated to form a new blockchain, often referred to as block 0 or block 1.

Hard cap – The maximum amount that an ICO will be raising. If an ICO reaches its hard cap, they will stop collecting any more funds.

Initial coin offering (ICO) – An unregulated means by which a cryptocurrency venture, typically early stage, can raise money from supporters by issuing tokens. It is often referred to as a crowdsale as ICO participants may potentially earn a return on their investments (as opposed to crowdfunding, where supporters donate money to a project or cause).

Litecoin (LTC) – A type of cryptocurrency that was created by former Google employee Charlie Lee in 2011. It offers features which allows for faster processing at lower cost

Market capitalization (market cap) – The market value of a company, market or sector at a point in time commonly used to rank relative size. In equities, it refers to the total market value of a company’s outstanding shares. In cryptocurrency investing, it refers to either price multiplied by the circulating supply (i.e. free float market cap) or price multiplied by the total supply (i.e. fully diluted market cap).

Maximum supply – An approximation of the maximum number of coins or tokens that will ever exist for a cryptocurrency or crypto asset

Mining – A process where transactions are verified and added to a blockchain. It is also the process where new bitcoin or certain altcoin are created. In theory, anyone with the necessary hardware and access to the internet can be a miner and earn income, but the cost of industrial hardware and electricity has limited mining for bitcoins and certain altcoins today to large-scale operations.

Monero (XMR) – A type of cryptocurrency created in 2014 that is focused on privacy and scalability, and runs on platforms like Windows, Mac, Linux and Android. Transactions on Monero are designed to be untraceable to any particular user or real-world identity.

NEM (XEM) – Refers to the cryptocurrency and the name of a platform for management of a variety of assets, including currencies, supply chains, ownership records, etc. It offers additional features to blockchain technology such as multi-signature accounts, encrypted messaging, etc.

NEO – Refers to the cryptocurrency and the name of a China’s first open source blockchain that was founded in 2014 by Da Hongfei. It is similar to Ethereum in its ability to execute smart contracts or dApps but has some technical differences such as coding language compatibility.

Pre-sale – A sale that takes place before an ICO is made available to the general public to participate.

Pump and dump scheme – A scheme in which the development team (or short-term traders) hypes up a project without fundamental basis to pump up the price of the tokens temporarily and then sells their holdings immediately after launch to earn a profit.



Ripple (XRP) – Refers to the cryptocurrency and the name of an open source payment platform where the cryptocurrency (Ripple or XRP) can be transferred. The vision for the platform is to enable real-time global payments anywhere around the world. The Ripple payment protocol was built by OpenCoin which was founded in 2012.

Soft cap – Generally refers to the minimum amount that an initial coin offering (ICO) needs to raise. If the ICO is unable to raise that amount, it may be cancelled, and the collected funds returned to participants.

Token – Crypto tokens enable the creation of open, decentralized networks, and provides a way to incentivize participants in the network (with both network growth and token appreciation). This innovation, made popular with the introduction of Ethereum, has given rise to a wave of token networks (e.g. prediction markets, content creation networks, etc.) and token pre-sales, or ICOs.

Total supply – The total number of coins or tokens that are in existence, including those circulating in the public market and those that are locked or reserved

Wallet – A store of digital assets such as cryptocurrency, analogous to a digital bank account.

Whitelist– A list of registered and approved participants that are given exclusive access to contribute to an

ICO or a pre-sale.

Whitepaper – An informational document that generally informs readers on the philosophy, objectives and technology of a project or initiative. Whitepapers are often provided before the launch of a new coin or token.