Cryptocurrency terminology

When looking up any cryptocurrency, you will see a lot of terms and abbreviations used. Here is a list of most used and common terminology with explanations.

Address. (public key)
Address or wallet address (also known as a public key) is long string of alphanumeric characters that represent your public key from and to which you can send coins.

Private Key.
Your private key is the second string of alphanumeric characters that can unlock your address in any other wallet. These can be imported and exported in any good wallet software.

The blockchain is the ledger where everything that happens with a coin is logged and confirmed. Once confirmed this can never be altered again. The Blockchain is open to everyone. The Blockchain is maintained and updated constantly by every computer that has it downloaded, like miners.

An altcoin is the community accepted name for any cryptocurrency that is not Bitcoin.

Mining is a term used for finding blocks containing new coins. This method is usually done by sending a lot information till one of those strings of information is the correct one. There are several methods of doing this depending on the coin.

Application Specific Integrated Circuit is a chip specifically created to execute one task. Mining. Currently the most popular method out there.

A fork is when a network or blockchain copies itself onto a new ledger and will continue there with the full history of the previous one. While the original just continues on its own.
A Fork will happen when a 51% attack occurs, a bug in the program, or more commonly a new set of consensus rules come into existence. These happen when a development team creates and inserts notably substantial changes into the system.

51% attack.
A 51% attack is a situation where more than half of the computing power on a network is operated by a single individual or concentrated group, which gives them complete and total control over a network. This is against what the blockchain technology stands for. Thus like previously stated; a fork will happen.

A node is a computer connected to a ledger. A node supports the ledger through validation and relaying of transactions. While just receiving a tiny copy of the full ledger for confirmations.

POW. (proof of Work)
A Proof of Work is a number produced only once for easy confirmations. The downside of this is that it's very costly to maintain. The computer that produced this will have to be running and connected to confirm. This is mainly used by miners to get the fees from transactions.

POS. (Proof of Stake)
This is where you proof your stake in a coin by owning them. Having complete coins in your wallet connected to the ledger will help confirming transactions.

Fee / Gas.
For every transaction with every cryptocurrency you are required to pay a fee. This is usually on top of what you are already sending. For sending of tokens in a blockchain (like Ethereum) this is commonly referred to as 'Gas'.
The fee is dependent on the size of your transaction and whether or not your coins have collected 'dust'.
These fees are paid to the computers/nodes/miners that can confirm your transactions. This is where the POW or POS system comes in.

Smart Contract.
With a smart contract you can create your own currency on an existing ledger. Once signed the contract can never be changed again.
For example:
You create a coin on the Ethereum ledger with 10 coins. Once approved by the ledger and signed by the creator, there can never be more created or deleted. They can be 'Burned' which means they send the unused tokens to an empty address that none has access to.

ICO. (Initial Coin Offering)
Initial Coin Offering is an unregulated means by which funds are raised. Bypassing regulations, banks and government to find investors. This is sometimes accompanied by airdrops in order to find early backers.

HODL. (hold on for dear life)
HODL is term adopted after a funny post on this Bitcointalk thread. Basically it means to hold on to the coin and keep an eye on it with speculation to a sudden increase of monetary value.

Airdrops are event where new companies and ICO's give away a small portion of their total volume. read about this more on the subject in our Airdrop article.

A Pump-and-dump is an event (usually organized) where a coin is suddenly bought up in large quantities and the prices go up hundreds of percentages... and then dumped again when others try to get in on it.
Be warned for such groups. they advertise they do this with you. But, you will be their intended target to dump on.

HYIP. (High-yield investment program)
These were great years ago to invest in new companies. Now they are more used as ponzi schemes and attached to some ICO's. This is high risk, high reward sort of thing. Unless you know what you are investing in, these type of investments are just designed to scam you.

A whale is an account/user very active in an exchange. With millions of dollars worth, in certain coins, they influence the markets a lot. You should be aware that most of those really know what they are doing and use some very sophisticated software to do their trading automatically.

FUD. (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt)
Describes time of panic where negative sentiments are overexaggerated. Lack of information and a silent development team are the usual FUD destributors.

FOMO. (Fear Of Missing Out)
A trap many new investors fall for. Buying when a coin has just increased a lot in value and reading only possitive reactions. Thus thinking it will pump even more but end up buying at its peak.

DYOR. (Do your own research)
Self explanatory.

A coin with no actual value and no real usage that only exists to make its creator money. Also referred to as scamcoin.

BTD. (Buy The Dip)
Buy when a coin suddenly dips. Mostly after a big dumb or after some ICO releases their coins and referral and bounty earners sell as soon as possible.

To the Moon.
When people want to tell you its value will increase massive amounts.