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Cryptocurrency Terminology You Should Know – A Beginner’s Glossary

by | Nov 9, 2017

The following is a glossary of common cryptocurrency terminology or slang words that you’ll come across frequently in the world of crypto. If you think a word is missing and should be added to this list of cryptocurrency terms, please let us know in the comments below.


Altcoin – Alternative coin, i.e. any cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin. Further Reading: Altcoins.

ATH – All-Time High, refers to the highest price a coin has ever reached.


Blockchain – The underlying technology of cryptocurrencies. Cryptographically coded information about transactions is bundled into “blocks” and strung together to create an unchangeable, publicly available digital record. Further Reading: What is Blockchain

Blockchain Explorer – Website interface that reads the blockchain and allows the user to search for blocks, transactions and wallet address “balances”

Bearish – When investors think that the price or value of a coin or market is going to drop.

Bullish – When investors think that the price or value of a coin or market is going to rise.

Bagholder – A person that holds onto coins that have become essentially worthless.


Circulating supply – The number of coins out of the eventual total supply that is in circulation, used for calculating the total market value (see market cap) of a coin.

Coinbase – It can refer to two different meanings: 1. The Coinbase technically is the first transaction in a new block on the chain that sends the block reward plus transaction fees of that block to the miner that has mined this block. 2. It is the name of one of the biggest and most famous cryptocurrency exchanges and online wallets “Coinbase”.


DYOR – Do Your Own Research


ERC20 Token – A standardized token released on the Ethereum Blockchain platform.


FOMO – Stands for Fear Of Missing Out.

Fork – Usually a normal network upgrade but sometimes it might lead to a split in the blockchain if a part of the community stays on the old chain, resulting in 2 separate chains, each with their own coin. Further Reading: What are (soft and hard) forks

FUD – Stands for Fear, Uncertainty , and Doubt.


Gas – Can refer to 2 things: 1) the fee or cost for transactions on Ethereum. 2) The cryptocurrency Gas on the NEO blockchain that can be earned by holding NEO and be used to pay for transaction fees for on-chain NEO transactions. Further Reading: Ethereum Gas

Gas War – Competition where users are setting extreme high transaction fees to have their transaction included in the next block before others’ transactions, usually in case of ICO’s where there are not enough tokens for sale for everybody, so it is important to have a transaction included in the block first.


HODL – Popular misspelling of the word “hold” which means keeping coins as a long-term investment and don’t sell for profit nor when the price crashes.


ICO – Stands for initial coin offering, a publicly accessible sale to raise cryptocurrency to fund a Blockchain project. Further Reading: What are ICOs and Token Sales


Market Cap – The market value of a cryptocurrency. This is calculated by multiplying the current price of the coin with its circulating supply. Note that the market cap is more important for valuing a coin than the price alone.

Mempool – The Memory Pool: this contains all to the network submitted transactions that are not mined yet. Miners pick transactions from the Mempool to include them in the new blocks that they create.

Mining – Verifying and processing transactions in the blockchain, which is rewarded with newly created coins. Further Reading: What is cryptocurrency mining

Moon – When the price of a coin climbs very high, very quickly.


ROI – Stands for Return On Investment. Calculated as your gains minus your initial investment.


Satoshi – Smallest unit of measurement (1 hundred millionth) of Bitcoin. This is named after the creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto. Further Reading: Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?

Shill/shilling – Endorsing a coin as enthusiastically and to as many people as possible for personal gain (such as a referral bonus or increased ROI for the shill after buying the coin for a lower price.)


TX, TX ID/Hash – TX is short for transaction. The TX ID or TX hash is a long string of numbers that identifies a transaction on the blockchain and can be found by searching this ID in a blockchain explorer.


Whale – Holder of a large amount of capital (in fiat and/or crypto) who is able to significantly move the market or price of a coin. This usually happens for coins with a low market cap and trading volume, but even in Bitcoin are large holders that can move the market price and can therefore be considered a whale.


This article was written to the best of our knowledge with the information available to us. We do not guarantee that every bit of information is completely accurate or up-to-date. Please use this information as a complement to your own research. Nothing we write in any of our articles is intended as investment advice nor as an endorsement to buy/sell/hold anything. Cryptocurrency investments are inherently risky so you should never invest more than you can afford to lose.

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