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Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Dictionary

A complete list of crypto definitions

Cryptocurrency and blockchain glossary

Commonly used terms in the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency

Terms used in crypto and in the world of blockchain

Physical Cryptocurrency Wallet

Physical cryptocurrency wallet – a physical object containing user’s private keys. There are several types of physical wallets: Hardware wallet is a device that has user’s private keys saved to its memory. In order to access them, user has to connect such a wallet to a device that is connected to the Internet, such as PC or smartphone, and enter a pin code. For example, Ledger Nano X is a hardware wallet; Paper wallet is a copy or printout of user’s public and private keys.


Proof-of-stake (PoS) protocols are a class of consensus mechanisms for blockchains that work by selecting validators in proportion to their quantity of holdings in the associated cryptocurrency. This is done to avoid the computational cost of proof-of-work schemes. PoS blockchains include Ethereum, Polkadot, Avalanche, and Cardano


PoW – short for Proof of Work. A type of consensus mechanism, where nodes validate transactions by using computing power. Here is how it works: User A makes a transaction; User A’s transaction gets bundled into a block along with other users’ transactions; Transactions get validated; The header of the most recent block is inserted into this block as a hash; The cryptographic problem is solved during the mining process; The block is published to the blockchain; User B receives a transaction. For example, Bitcoin uses PoW consensus mechanism.

Private Key

Private key – a unique alphanumeric string that allows cryptocurrency to be spent from user’s wallet. For example, E9873D79C6D87DC0FB6A5778633389 is a private key.

Public Key

Public key – a unique alphanumeric string that allows cryptocurrency to be received to user’s wallet. It is generated from the private key. For example, 0418fae4ee 35dae20c20 9da4aa4921 156c3fb519e c33fbf37ec7 13e9c7276dc 9d41bce8825 34118684dc8 e47b6ee49cc ce4c77b197e 38441a06c6d 3a15978c724b is a public key.

Pump And Dump

Pump and Dump – a fraudulent scheme. Involves artificially increasing the price of a certain cryptocurrency just to sell it before the "bubble" bursts. Is accountable for sudden spikes in cryptocurrency price charts.

Race Attack

Race attack – a double spend attack on the P2P network which is only possible if the recipient of the transaction accepts unconfirmed transactions as a payment. If this is true, the attacker broadcasts a conflicting transaction to the network at the same time; in case the conflicting transaction gets more confirmations, an attack is successful and the recipient does not get paid. It is easier to carry out such an attack if the attacker has a direct connection to the victim’s node, and perhaps deposits the conflicting transaction directly to miners


Roadmap – a future plan of a cryptocurrency project with events and their respective deadlines. Usually published in marketing materials.


'Return on Investment', or ROI for short, is a ratio or percentage value that reflects the profitability or efficiency of a certain trade or investment. 

Short Position

Short position – a state the trader is in when he is selling cryptocurrency asset to buy it later. For example, if a trader sold Bitcoin in November 2017 and bought it again in January 2018, he was in short position between these two trades.

Smart Contract

A smart contract is a computer program or a transaction protocol respectively, which is intended to automatically execute, control or document respectively legally relevant events and actions according to the terms of a contract, of an agreement or of a negotiation.


Stablecoin – a type of cryptocurrencies designed to have the lowest volatility possible. For example, Tether (USDT) is a stablecoin.

Trade Volume

Trade volume – the total value of all the cryptocurrency exchanged on a specific platform in a specific time period. For example, trade volume of Binance exchange on April 25, 2019 was approximately 892 000 000 USD.

Trading Pair

Trading pair – a trade between one type of cryptocurrency and another. Allows trader to purchase one of these two currencies with the another one. For example, BTC/ETH is a trading pair. It allows the trader can buy Bitcoin with his/her Ether or Ether with his/her Bitcoin.


Transaction – a recorded transfer of some amount of cryptocurrency from one wallet to another. Every transaction is recorded in a blockchain or DAG.

Virtual Cryptocurrency Wallet

Virtual cryptocurrency wallet – a software solution containing user’s private keys. There are several types of virtual wallets: Online wallet is a cloud-based program accessible from any device with Internet connection; Desktop wallet is a computer program only accessible from the computer it is installed on; Mobile wallet is a smartphone application only accessible from the smartphone it is installed on. It usually has more limited functionality compared to the desktop wallet due to the application size restrictions.


Volatility – a value that characterizes the percentual price change of a certain cryptocurrency during a certain period of time. The more volatile a cryptocurrency is, the bigger can its percentual price change over a certain period be.


Whitepaper – an official document of a certain cryptocurrency that explains how it works. Can explain novel concepts, contain financial and technological calculations.

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