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Crypto Glossary: Discover Words & Phrases



Letters on a retro typewriterConfused about a word? Don’t be. Here, we give brief explanations about important terminology in the world of crypto and NFTs.

Have you come across unfamiliar words while looking at crypto info that need clarification? Not a problem. It’s a new and exciting space and as a resut there are tons of slang terms, acronyms, and sayings that you’re bound to be unacquainted with… even if you’ve been trading a little while!

Here at Crypto Lists, we explain some of the most important words and phrases in plain English.

Airdrop

A marketing strategy used by blockchain projects to distribute free tokens to members of the community. Airdrops are typically used to generate buzz around a new project or to reward existing users. The tokens are usually distributed for free or in exchange for completing certain tasks, such as joining a Telegram group or following the project on Twitter.

Airdrops can be a great way for investors to get their hands on new tokens and potentially make a profit if the tokens gain value in the future.

Altcoin

Altcoins are cryptocurrencies that are alternatives to Bitcoin. They were created to address the limitations of Bitcoin, such as speed, scalability, and mining centralization. Altcoins use different algorithms, consensus mechanisms, and features that make them unique and potentially more useful for certain purposes.

Some popular altcoins include Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash.

If you are curious to learn more, see the toplist with 100 altcoins.

AML

AML stands for Anti Money Laundering… If you’d like to know more about that, may we offer The Sopranos boxset for entertainment and educational purposes.

ATH

ATH stands for All Time High. Usually used in the context of “In 2021, Bitcoin reached its current ATH.”

ATL

ATL stands for All Time Low. See above for the reverse.

Bear market

Bear markets are characterized by a general decline in asset prices, typically over a prolonged period of time. This results in investor pessimism and a lack of confidence in the market. Bear markets can be caused by a variety of factors, including economic downturns, political instability, or simply a correction after a period of excessive growth.

Blockchain

Blockchains are decentralized digital ledgers that record transactions in a secure and transparent manner. They work on a peer-to-peer network and use cryptographic algorithms for security. Blockchains are immutable, meaning once a transaction is added to the ledger, it cannot be altered. They have various applications, including in finance, supply chain management, and voting systems.

Bull market

Upgoing. Positive crypto market mood where there’s a strong possibility of large coin price rises. Bull markets are characterized by a sustained period of rising asset prices and a high level of investor confidence. During a bull market, investors are optimistic about the economy and believe that stock prices will continue to rise. This can lead to increased investment and economic growth, but can also result in overvaluation and a potential market correction.

Cold Storage

Offline storage of cryptocurrency to protect it from hackers.

Consensus

The general agreement on the state of the blockchain.

Crypto Coin

A native cryptocurrency that got it’s own blockchain. Some examples include, but are not limited to; Ether on Ethereum blockchain, BNB on BNB Blockchain, Solana (SOL) on Solana Network or Litecoin (LTC) on Litecoin blockchain or MATIC on the Polygon Network.

DAO

Decentralized Autonomous Organization, a community-run organization that operates using smart contracts.

Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA)

A way to minimize risk while also lowering potential reward. Basically, you invest a fixed and affordable amount each week/month to spread risk while accumulating an asset. This means you don’t need to time the market exactly in search of the bottom, but it also means you’re less likely to achieve enormous growth from an initial one-time investment. You can learn more about it in our article.

Decentralized

A system that operates without a central authority or middleman.

DApp

Decentralized Application, an application that operates on a decentralized network.

DeFi

Decentralized Finance, financial applications built on a blockchain.

Distributed Ledger

A database that exists on multiple computers in a decentralized network.

Double Spend

Attempting to spend the same cryptocurrency twice.

Ethereum

A decentralized, open-source blockchain platform

ERC-20

A standard for creating tokens on the Ethereum blockchain.

Farming

In the crypto world, farming or yield farming as some call it has got nothing to do with cows or growing vegetables! In fact, crypto yield farming is a way of borrowing or lending crypto on a decentralized platform and earning crypto while waiting.

Fiat Currency

Government-issued currency that is not backed by a commodity like gold.

FOMO

Fear of missing out on a potential profitable opportunity.

FUD

Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt, used to describe negative news or rumors that cause panic

Gas

The fee paid to execute a transaction on the Ethereum blockchain.

Halving

The reduction of the rewards given to miners for validating blocks. You can learn about the Bitcoin halving here.

Hard Fork

A permanent divergence in the blockchain due to a change in the protocol.

Hash

A mathematical function that converts data into a fixed-size output.

HODL

HODL or Hodl stands for “Hold On for Dear Life”, meaning that many experienced, long term crypto investors reject selling their assets. An amusing term that was accidentally birthed on an early Bitcoin forum in 2013.

ICO

ICO stands for an Initial Coin Offering. That means, it is the first time that the coin or token is released for public sale. However, before the public sale, cryptocurrency might have been given out as reward to founders and/or the team behind.

IDO

IDO is the short form of Initial Decentralised Offering. This is a way for people to interact with a new coin or token before it goes live.

IEO

IEO stands for Initial Exchange Offering. IEO’s usually take place a few times a week or month, depending on which crypto exchange. During the Initial Exchange Offering, the coin is sold to the users of a specific exchange for the first time. Before that, mostly early adopters and those that followed the project from scratch are able to invest.

KYC

KYC is a word that stand for Know Your Customer. This is a process where crypto sites are required to collect information about their customers, in order to fulfil legal obligations by the U.S, EU or some other country or region.

Mining

The process of verifying transactions and adding them to the blockchain.

NFT

NFT stands for “Non Fungible Token”. You’ve probably come across this while browsing social media and seeing famous people splashing their cash on funky ape drawings. Visit or NFT review page to learn about various NFT collections. Alternatively, check out the top NFT coins and tokens here.

Nodes

Computers that participate in the validation of transactions and maintenance of the blockchain.

Open Source

Software that is freely available and can be modified by anyone.

Private Key

A secret code that gives access to cryptocurrency stored in a wallet.

Proof of Work

A consensus algorithm that requires computational power to validate transactions. Learn more about proof of work here.

Quantum Computing

A technology that could potentially break the cryptography used in cryptocurrencies.

Rug pull

A rug pull in the is when the team behind a project suddenly abandons ship and sells or removes all its liquidity. The term comes from the phrase ‘to pull the rug from under someone’, which means to withdraw support or assistance, often to that person’s surprise.

Satoshi

The smallest unit of Bitcoin, named after the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin.

Smart Contract

A self-executing contract with the terms of the agreement between buyer and seller written directly into lines of code.

Stablecoin

A cryptocurrency that is pegged to a stable asset like the US dollar.

Staking

Crypto staking is a way of locking your assets and earning interest. More is explained in our staking guide.

Token

A digital asset that represents ownership in a project or ecosystem.

Unconfirmed Transaction

A transaction that has been broadcasted to the network but has not been added to the blockchain.

Vanity Address

A Bitcoin address that is customized to spell out a word or phrase.

Volatility

The degree of price fluctuation in a cryptocurrency.

Wallet

Software or hardware that stores cryptocurrency and allows for transactions. Read more about crypto wallets.

White Paper

A detailed explanation of a cryptocurrency project, often used to attract investors.

Wen Lambo?

This phrase is commonly used on Telegram and in forums related to new tokens. Wen Lambo is a slang phrase that means “When Lamborghini?” Beginners are often keen to get rich quick and hope to be able to afford a lambo. However, it can also be used in bear markets among impatient investors that haven’t sold off any coins or tokens, and are waiting for a bull market again.

Yield Farming

A practice of earning rewards by staking cryptocurrency in a DeFi protocol.

Zero-Knowledge Proof

A cryptographic method that allows for the verification of data without revealing the data itself.

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