ALTS / ALTCOINS
Altcoin is the collective name given to any cryptocurrency that isn’t Bitcoin. They are the spin-offs or ‘alternatives’ of the original. Long live Bitcoin. (Apologies to any BCash crusaders...)
A bear market is when cryptocurrency prices are taking a dive, encouraging mass selling. It’s the opposite of a bull market and usually sees media outlets rehashing ‘told you so, Bitcoin is a bubble’ stories, while subreddits and Telegram channels everywhere call for investors to #hodl.
Transactions - e.g: sending Bitcoin from your wallet to another - are housed in 'blocks' which are being constantly processed by miners. These blocks are added to the end of the chain (read: blockchain) and can never be changed or removed once accepted by the network.Blocks are encrypted by difficult-to-solve mathematical puzzles - the answer being unique for each block. Miners compete to ‘solve’ each block (and get rewarded for their trouble). New blocks cannot be submitted to the network without the correct answer, so we rely on miners to maintain the blockchain.
A bull market is a sustained period in which cryptocurrency prices consistently go up (the opposite of a bear market). Ole! In this period sentiment is overwhelmingly positive as fortunes are made and ‘predictions’ (read: TA) come true. Note to self: “everyone’s a genius in a bull market”.
As the name suggests, coins are designed to act like money, allowing hodlers to pay for goods and services. They operate independent of central banks - not such a scary thought when you get used to it. While these coins don’t make a noise in your pocket, they’re just as valuable as the ones down the back of the couch. Maybe even more so!
Cold storage is a great way to store your cryptocurrency offline, safe from hackers, but not a house fire.
The practice of using sophisticated mathematical equations (algorithms) to encrypt and decrypt data, or in this case, digital currency.
Decentralised Autonomous Organisation(s): corporations that run based on a set of rules maintained mathematically on a blockchain. Working algorithmically, rather than having decisions made by humans, the theory suggests organisations can operate without hierarchy, and eliminates agendas that aren’t beneficial to the original goal of the company.
Short for 'Decentralised Applications': software applications based on blockchain technology.
Money deemed by a government to be legal tender, but not backed by a physical commodity like gold (anymore, at least).
FOREX / FX
Short for 'Foreign Exchange': a global market where all the world’s major currencies trade.
Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. Very common term in the crypto world, pre-dates ‘fake news’.
A hard fork describes a software upgrade introducing a new rule (or rules) incompatible with older software. The most example is the Bitcoin fork that took place on 1st August 2017 (block 478558), where a faction wanted to increase the block size of Bitcoin from 1MB to 8MB per block. The 'forked' coin became known as 'Bitcoin Cash' (BCASH, BCH).
A hardware wallet is a physical electronic device, considered one of the safest ways to store your crypto. Reason being that it’s connected to your computer, but not to the internet, making it hard to hack.
HODL / HODLER
Someone who does not sell, but rather holds onto, their crypto. The word originated when a user mistyped “hold” on a Bitcoin forum.
These are wallets run on internet connected devices. Your computer, mobile, smart fridge or tablet. But because hot wallets generate your private keys on an internet connected device, these private keys can’t be considered 100% secure. Wallets like this are usually used to store a small amount of crypto for accessibility and trading.
One of the most popular acronyms in the cryptoverse, ICO stands for ‘Initial Coin Offering’. This is the process in which a blockchain business conducts a crowd sale of tokens that raise capital. ICOs are - at the moment - unregulated and quite a few are widely recognised as scams. US$550m was generated through ICOs in June 2017 alone. For this first time, ICO investments eclipsed the amount of money invested in the venture capital space. Think Kickstarter, but the ‘early bird specials’ are potentially getting in on the next big cryptocurrency for a bargain.
Mining is the process of verifying cryptocurrency transactions by 'solving' complicated mathematical equations used to encrypt 'blocks'.
The safest wallet for long-term investors. Paper wallets safeguard against hackers or computer malfunction, and involves printing the public and private keys on paper. In addition, a paper wallet usually has a QR code which can be scanned and added to a software wallet to make quick transactions. Take care to store in a safe place, and potentially make copies. Lose the paper, lose your investment. NB: This is the only paper money we trust.
Pump and Dump. Often used to describe a group whose motivation is to collectively inflate a token or coin’s price, then dump it. Careful of these groups, unless you like taking risks.
A series of secret characters exclusive to your hot wallet. These characters allow you to spend the cryptocurrency within your wallet.
Set of rules defining the exchange of data in a network.
Timeline for product or token development, detailing progress and key dates.
The unit measurement equivalent to a hundredth of a millionth BTC (0.00000001). It is the smallest fraction of a Bitcoin that can be used in a transaction.
The name used by the creator, or creators, of Bitcoin. In 2008 Satoshi published a paper called “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” - this is what kicked it all off. The identity of the person (or people) behind the name is unknown but they’re worth about $7 billion. There are many theories about who Satoshi Nakamoto is. A crazy dude from Australia called Craig Wright, Litecoin founder Coblee (Charlie Lee), even Google. But no one knows, and Satoshi deliberately kept it that way.
Segregated Witness. Software created to allow more transactions to fit within a single Bitcoin block in order to increase capacity. SegWit was activated on August 14, 2017.
Smart contracts – first introduced on the Ethereum blockchain – help you exchange anything of value (money, property, a nice sandwich) in a transparent and conflict-free way while avoiding the services of a middleman.These contracts not only define the rules and penalties around an agreement in the same way that a traditional contract does, but also automatically enforce the obligations. Best watch a few YouTube clips on this one. Bye bye, lawyers.
Describes any change to mining software that’s backward compatible. Say, instead of 1MB blocks, a new rule might only allow 500K blocks.
Technical Analysis, or the analysis of prices based on historical price movements and fancy indicators.
While tokens have value, they can’t be considered ‘money’ in the way that a straightforward 'coin' can. Tokens are generally created on blockchains like Ethereum or Waves and offer functionality over and above that of digital cash. They can deliver value or utility to investors, beyond speculative returns. For example, tokens can be used to hold votes by the community on key business decisions, or even technical changes to the platform.
An acronym for Too Long, Didn’t Read. Appears regularly at the end or beginning of a long post.
A cryptocurrency wallet is a secure digital wallet used to store, send and receive crypto, like Bitcoin. Most coins have an official wallet. Some recommend particular third-party wallets like MEW, Exodus or Jaxx. In order to use or store any crypto, you need a wallet - so get one! There are a few different kinds of wallets, so choose which best suits your need.