Like any blossoming business or industry, the world of cryptocurrency has created its own terms used by writers, traders, and enthusiasts. Here is a must-know list of terms. This is by no means complete. There are larger glossaries out there.
Altcoin: An altcoin is a type of cryptocurrency that isn’t Bitcoin or a token. There are hundreds, even perhaps thousands, in existence. Some of them are created and die. Many are found on exchanges like KuCoin or Coinbase.
Blockchain: The blockchain is a shared database where all cryptocurrency transactions are recorded. Without the blockchain, there would be no way to verify who owns what. These transactions are public and cannot be erased. They do not show personal details, although crypto addresses or digital signatures are kept on record.
BTFD: Buy The F$#@ing Dip. It goes with the old adage, “Buy low; sell high.”
Cypherpunks: These are the “OG” folks of the crypto world. They invested in Bitcoin before it was popular. Some of them likely should be credited for the many crypto terms out there.
De-Fi: This is short for “decentralized finance." It refers to the decentralized marketplaces and exchanges built on the Ethereum network.
DYOR: Do Your Own Research
Exchanges: This is where you buy, sell, and trade your crypto. Some are better than others. Fees will vary. Each exchange has its own options to choose from in terms of buying. Most exchanges have something unique to offer in contrast to other exchanges. It seems like most traders have more than one exchange, like KuCoin or Coinbase.
Fiat currencies: In contrast to cryptocurrency, fiat currencies such as the U.S. Dollar or Japanese Yen, are minted by a government approved or controlled central bank.
HODL: This is the term used that simply means to hold (rather than sell or trade) your crypto for a long period of time. Some have said that it is a misspelling of the term “hold.” Others say it is an acronym for “Hold On for Dear Life.”
Mining: New units of cryptocurrency are created by mining. This is a technical process usually left to more knowledgeable folks. Sometimes, special equipment (hardware) is needed. Some, but not all, cryptocurrencies using mining to add new tokens to the blockchain.
Private keys: A private key is the means to access your own crypto. Not all exchanges issue keys. Those that do, issue public and private keys. These are important to record and keep so that you can access your crypto. Some exchanges, like Coinbase, do not provide a private key, but secure the crypto for you in much the same way a bank keeps your fiat currency.
Stablecoin: This is a type of altcoin that will remain stable. USDT, USDC, and DAI are all examples of stablecoins. Some traders like to place their earnings here after they have made a profit. Others like to keep a position in a stablecoin so that they can quickly buy into a position that becomes attractive.
Token: The word “token” can refer to any unit of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Ethereum. Other times, the term relates to kinds of cryptocurrency that are built using another crypto on the blockchain. There are many Ethereum based tokens.
Wallet: In the world of crypto, this is where you store your currency. This can be in a private hardware wallet and kept in a safe. It can be in a software form. Most commonly, it is through an online account. Online accounts are generally considered very safe, but there is some vulnerability due to hackers.
Whale: A whale is a large market crypto investor. They have been known to manipulate the market by selling or buying very large volumes of a specific currency.
A site with a much more complete list of terms can be found with the link below.