The crypto world is in a constant state of flux. Innovative ICO after innovative ICO appears. Markets rise, markets crash. And as each day goes by, the crazy, hair-raising ride that is cryptocurrency becomes decidedly more interesting. Its abundant vocabulary becomes richer as well, and new crypto buzzwords crop up daily.
To really understand the ins and outs of this complex ecosystem (can anyone fully claim to do that?) you’d need an encyclopedia updating in real time. But, just to get you started, here’s how to hold your own in any cryptocurrency conversation.
These are the top 9 crypto buzzwords you need to know:
Well, obviously, Bitcoin tops the list of crypto buzzwords. In fact, the vast majority of people automatically think of Bitcoin when they hear the word ‘cryptocurrency.’ Emerging shortly after the financial crisis, in 2009, you can read more about the ideology behind Bitcoin here. But, know this: If you don’t have this word down pat, you can’t even think about talking crypto.
The second largest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin, Ethereum in theory is not in competition with the world’s most famous digital currency. Running on its own blockchain, Ethereum supports apps and trade through a system of smart contracts.
Dabble a little in crypto and it won’t be long before you’re hearing about the technology behind digital money–the blockchain. Actually, generating cryptocurrency is just one use case for blockchain, since the technology can record any information and keep it safe and immutable on its decentralized system.
We’re still discovering just how many uses this new technology has, but it’s widely considered the most disruptive technology since the internet.
This is the technology applied to all transactions in the blockchain. It’s essentially a process of scrambling information, making it unreadable, and allowing transactions to be kept anonymous.
While it sounds like a raw fish dish, Satoshi is actually the smallest fraction of a Bitcoin that you can buy. It’s also the first name of the suspected inventor of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, (although this is something he denies).
This term is used a lot and is a good indicator of how large a cryptocurrency is. You basically take the total supply and multiply it by the price to figure out its dollar value.
Beyond flashlights and hard caps, mining in the crypto world refers to the computational process of generating cryptocurrency on the blockchain. Each computer in the network uploads its power, and miners are rewarded for their efforts in digital currency.
A “hash” is a computer program that basically takes any information and turns it into a set of numbers and letters of a certain length.
Soft forks, hard forks, the concept is basically the same. Forking is when there is a split in the digital recordings on the blockchain, usually used to right a wrong, such as the hacking attack on Ether in 2016.
While you may not claim to be an expert after grasping these basic crypto buzzwords, at least you won’t look blank when you hear them thrown about in the office. From mining and hashing to forking and cryptography, little by little you’ll hold your own in the cryptocurrency world.