Crypto Vocabulary

  • airdrop – a free giveaway of new digital assets; normally used to raise awareness about a project
  • alts – any digital asset other than Bitcoin. This can have a negative connotation – where Bitcoin is it and everything else is something less.
  • bag holder – someone holding an investment. Normally used when the investment has recently been under-performing its peers. Often, the holder will not sell at a loss and so is left “holding the bag” until (hopefully) the asset price recovers.
  • cryptocurrency – a supply-limited digital unit that can be assigned to private/public key pairs on a blockchain
  • “china ban bitcoin” – a meme, and often occurring cyclical reality, wherein China would try to slow down Bitcoin adoption by restricting it in some way
  • dApp – decentralized application. While the definition/concept of this is still developing – a decentralized application is usually one running on a blockchain, implemented with smart contracts.
  • fiat – government-backed money; normally paper bills and metal coins
  • fork – when a blockchain splits for any reason
  • FUD – fear, uncertainty, and doubt … often used in the context of negative news or sentiment being spread about a cryptocurrency or other digital asset
  • hardware wallet – a stand-alone device that manages private/public key pairs allowing a user to sign transactions on a blockchain without ever exposing the private key
  • hodl – holding (a digital asset), despite volatility, uncertainty, and public skepticism.
  • ICO – an acronym for “initial coin offering”; this is a method of raising funds for a new organization or project wherein investors trade something of market value for new digital tokens issued by the organization raising funds.
  • PoW – an acronym for “proof of work”… which is a method for securing a blockchain wherein transaction validators must prove they have solved a complex problem before they can finalize a block and collect the associated reward for doing so.
  • PoS – an acronym for “proof of stake” … which is a method for securing a blockchain wherein transaction validators must put something of value behind their votes for the next authentic block. Their value is reduced if they misbehave or try to attack the network.
  • “that’s good for Bitcoin” – a meme normally referenced in annoyance when positive news for “alternative” cryptocurrencies, or even negative news for Bitcoin itself, results in a seemingly illogical increase in the market price of bitcoins.
  • whale – someone (or even some group) whose holdings of a particular digital asset represent a significant percentage of the total supply of that asset (note that “significant” is subjective)


Ledger Nano S - The secure hardware wallet