Cryptocurrency Terms to Know Before You Invest: A Beginner’s Guide

We want to help you make more inform decisions. Some links on this page — distinctly marked — may take you to a spouse web site and may result in us earning a referral commission. For more information, see How We Make Money. HODL. DApp. Ethereum. No, these are not words from a newly-discovered stranger linguistic process. They ’ rhenium among the many newly and key terms in the lyric of cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency international relations and security network ’ t equitable a novel investment option, and in many ways represents a unlike world raw compared to traditional stocks and bonds. Between unfamiliar acronym, emerging technologies, and keeping up with memes and tweets, just learning the basics takes time, tied for seasoned traditional investors.

As with any investment, it ’ sulfur crucial to understand precisely what you ’ re induct in before you start. That ’ s particularly true when it comes to a notional — and calm evolving — asset like crypto. There are a few prerequisites we recommend before you buy into crypto, like stocking your hand brake fund, paying down high-interest debts, and securing a traditional retirement design. And, like we ’ ve said before, you should merely ever put into crypto what you ’ rhenium will to lose, and experts recommend dedicating no more than 5 % of your portfolio to these digital assets. But another item you should add to your checklist is at least a novice ’ south understand of what you ’ re getting into, including how crypto differs from other investing strategies, and the different factors that can affect a cryptocurrency ’ south market rate. here are some of the terms and phrases that will help beginners better understand the earth of crypto endow. RELATED: Top Crypto News This Week

Crypto Terms You Should Know


An altcoin is any coin that ’ s not Bitcoin. Altcoins can be anything from the second-most popular coin, Ethereum, to any of the thousands of coins with very minimal market value. Experts say you should largely stick to the bigger, more mainstream cryptocurrencies as an investment. [RELATED]: Follow These Personal Finance Experts if You’re Curious About Crypto


The first and most valuable cryptocurrency, launched on Jan. 3, 2009. While its value has climbed steadily since then, it has seen wild fluctuations. In the past months alone, the price of Bitcoin has fluctuated from a phonograph record high of $ 60,000 to below $ 30,000 .

Bitcoin Cash

A peer-to-peer electronic cash system that formed from a fork of the original Bitcoin. Where Bitcoin is wide accepted as besides volatile to be useful as a currentness, Bitcoin Cash is designed to be better optimized for transactions. [RELATED]: Bitcoin — The First Cryptocurrency


Groups of data within a blockchain. On cryptocurrency blockchains, blocks are made up of transaction records as users buy or sell coins. Each blocking can hold only a sealed sum of information. Once it reaches that limit, a newfangled block is formed to continue the chain .


A digital form of record keeping, and the underlying engineering behind cryptocurrencies. A blockchain is the solution of consecutive blocks that build upon one another, creating a permanent wave and unchangeable daybook of transactions ( or other data ) .


A representative store of digital value that lives on a given blockchain or cryptocurrency network. Some blockchains have the lapp name for both the network and the coin, like Bitcoin. Others can have different names for each, like the Stellar blockchain, which has a native mint called Lumen .


A popular centralized cryptocurrency exchange. Coinbase made history recently as the first cryptocurrency change to go populace on the Nasdaq .

Cold Wallet/Cold Storage

A plug method acting of storing your cryptocurrency wholly offline. many cold wallets ( besides called hardware wallets ) are physical devices that look exchangeable to a USB drive. This kind of wallet can help protect your crypto from hacking and larceny, though it besides comes with its own risks – like losing it, along with your crypto. [RELATED] A Crypto Wallet Can Help Keep Your Coins Safe. Here’s How to Decide if You Need One 


A type of currency that ’ second digital and decentralized. Cryptocurrency can be used to buy and sell things, or as a long-run shop of respect .


The principle of distributing power away from a cardinal point. Blockchains are traditionally decentralized because they require majority approval from all users to operate and make changes, rather than a central authority .

Decentralized Finance (DeFi)

fiscal activities conducted without the involvement of an mediator, like a bank, government, or other fiscal institution.

Decentralized Applications (DApps)

Applications designed by developers and deployed on a blockchain to carry out actions without intermediaries. Decentralized finance activities are often completed using decentralized apps. Ethereum is the main network supporting activities in decentralized finance .

Digital Gold

Experts sometimes compare specific cryptocurrencies to real gold based on the way it can store and increase in value. Bitcoin is normally referred to as digital gold .


The second largest cryptocurrency by trade volume, Ethereum is a crypto net and software chopine that developers can use to create newfangled applications, and has an associated currency called ether .


A cryptocurrency exchange is a digital market where you can buy and sell cryptocurrency .


When a blockchain ’ second users make changes to its rules. These changes to the protocol of a blockchain often result in two newly paths — one that follows the old rules, and a newly blockchain that splits off from the previous one. ( model : a fork of Bitcoin resulted in Bitcoin Cash ) .


A fee that developers have to pay to the Ethereum net in arrange to use the system. Gas is paid in ether, the native cryptocurrency of Ethereum .

Genesis Block

The first pulley of a cryptocurrency always mined .


Stands for “ Hold On for Dear Life ” though the terminus originated from a user misprint on a Bitcoin forum in 2013. It refers to a passive investment strategy in which people buy and hold onto cryptocurrency — rather of trading it — in the hopes that it increases in value. [RELATED]: The Price of Bitcoin Continues to Fall. Here’s How Worried Investors Should Be, According to Experts


A feature written into Bitcoin ’ s code in which after a certain number of blocks are mined ( typically every four years ) the amount of new Bitcoin entering circulation gets halved. The halve can have an shock on Bitcoin ’ second monetary value .


A unique string of numbers and letters that identify blocks and are tied to crypto buyers and sellers .

Hot Wallet

A software-based cryptocurrency wallet connected to the Internet. While more commodious for quickly accessing your crypto, these wallets are a piece more susceptible to hacking and cybersecurity attacks than offline wallets — merely as files you store in the mottle may be more easily hacked than those locked in a safe in your base .

Initial Coin Offering (ICO)

A way that funds are raised for a new cryptocurrency project. ICOs are similar to Initial Public Offerings ( IPOs ) of stocks .

Market Capitalization

Cryptocurrency commercialize capitalization refers to the full respect of all the coins that have been mined. You can calculate a crypto ’ s grocery store hood by multiplying the current number of coins by the current measure of the coins .


The summons whereby raw cryptocurrency coins are made available and the logarithm of transactions between users is maintained .


A calculator that connects to a blockchain network .

Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs)

Non-fungible tokens are units of value used to represent the ownership of singular digital items like art or collectibles. NFTs are most frequently held on the Ethereum blockchain. [ RELATED ] Ethereum : What You Should Know Before You Invest


Two users interacting directly without a third party or mediator .

Public Key 

Your wallet ’ second address, which is similar to your bank account number. You can share your public wallet key with people or institutions so they can send you money or take money from your account when you authorize it .

Private Key

The code code that allows direct access to your cryptocurrency. Like your bank score password, you should never share your private key .

Satoshi Nakomoto

The pseudonymous godhead of Bitcoin. No one knows the true identity of Nakomoto — or if it ’ sulfur more than one person .

Smart Contract

An algorithmic program that enacts the terms of a narrow automatically based on its code. One of the independent value propositions of the Ethereum network is its ability to execute chic contracts .

Stablecoin or Digital Fiat

A stablecoin pegs its value to some other non-digital currentness or commodity. A digital decree represents a decree, or government-backed currency on the blockchain. ( exemplar : leash, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar ) [RELATED]: The 10 Most Popular Cryptocurrencies, and What You Should Know About Each Before You Invest


A unit of value on a blockchain that normally has some other value proposition besides just a transfer of value ( like a mint ) .

Vitalik Buterin

Programmer who invented Ethereum in 2015 .


A put to store your cryptocurrency holdings. many exchanges offer digital wallets. Wallets may be blistering ( on-line, software-based ) or cold ( offline, normally on a device ).

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