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Learn Crypto Phrases and Terms

There are many terms and phrases in the cryptocurrency and blockchain world that might confuse beginners. Below is a very long list of common crypto terms and phrases that you might want to learn

51% Attack

When an entity or individual controls over half (over 50%) of a blockchain computational power, this same entity/individual is able to manipulate transaction records of that blockchain.

Ad Hoc

Ad Hoc means for this purpose or especially for this


In the cryptocurrency space, Address refers to Wallet Address – which means your cryptocurrency wallet address to receive token deposit


Airdrop refers to distribution of tokens from a particular project to the community, usually given for free if you complete the steps they require. The steps may involve marketing and promotion actions such as Twitter like/retweet or Telegram invite

ATH / All-Time High

The highest price of one cryptocurrency, usually compared against the USD (sometimes against BTC)


Altcoin stands for alternative coin. The term is used for every cryptocurrency that is not Bitcoin

AML / Anti Money Laundering

Anti Money Laundering usually refers to a policy to minimize money laundering practices from funds movement. The policy and mandatory steps almost always involve regulations from the country where the company is located or registered

Bear Market

Bear Market means the current negative market trend in the cryptocurrency space. If the overall market trend is down, that means we are in the bear market. This term has been used for a very long time even outside the crypto market.

BEP-20 and BEP-721

BEP-20 is the token standard contract on Binance Smart Chain (BSC). It is the same like how ERC-20 works in the Ethereum blockchain but used for BSC. Majority of crypto tokens that you see on BSC are BEP-20. On the other hand, BEP-721 is the NFT standard contract on BSC, just like how ERC-721 works on Ethereum.

Bitcoin Core

Bitcoin Core is the client software to access and interact with Bitcoin network, first issued by Satoshi Nakamoto (founder of Bitcoin) himself. The name was simply “Bitcoin” in the beginning but it was then rebranded to Bitcoin Core.

Bitcoin Market Dominance / Bitcoin Dominance Index

It is a phrase that is used to describe Bitcoin dominance against other cryptocurrencies in terms of market cap. For example, if Bitcoin market cap is $400b, and other cryptocurrencies have a combined market cap of $516b, that means Bitcoin market dominance is somewhere around 43.67%.

Block Explorer / Blockchain Explorer

An application or web page that is used to explore the blockchain transactions and histories. The best examples of blockchain explorer are for Bitcoin or for Ethereum

BEP / Break-Even Point

When your total revenues are about the same as your total costs. In the trading world, when you don’t make any profit nor any loss.


BUIDL means Keep Building. Cryptocurrency companies usually use this term to show their communities that they are still focused on building their products.

Bull Market

Bull Market means the current positive market trend in the cryptocurrency space. If the overall market trend is up, that means we are in the bull market. This term has been used for a very long time even outside the crypto market.


Centralized refers to a centralized mechanism of a particular system. In the crypto space, centralized mechanism usually refers to the diversity of validators or validating nodes. When there are less number of validating nodes, the blockchain is more centralized. Many people use the term centralized to also describe the amount of decision making in a particular system or project (less decision makers in one project means that project is more centralized).

Circulating Supply

The amount of cryptocurrencies that are currently circulating in the open market. Circulating supply excludes the tokens or coins that are currently locked or not publicly accessible by the public.


Mathematical and computational processes to decrypt or encrypt a certain data or record.

Dead Cat Bounce

In the trading world, dead cat bounce means a short-lived slight recovery in a downtrend market. When an asset price keeps going lower, it might recover a little bit, before it goes down further. That slight recovery is usually called dead cat bounce.

Decentralized Application (Dapp)

Application or program that is deployed on the blockchain instead of on a single centralized server. People often use the phrase interchangeably with smart contract.

Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO)

Decentralized community without a central entity controlling it. Usually the community can vote on what proposal to be worked on in a DAO via cryptocurrency staking mechanism.

Decentralized Exchange (DEX)

Like traditional crypto exchanges but decentralized. It is built using a series of smart contracts and all trades are done automatically via code executions on the blockchain. You can directly interact with DEX-es simply by connecting your own crypto wallet that supports web3 connection (i.e., Metamask or Trust Wallet).

Decentralized Finance (DeFi)

Like financial applications but decentralized. DeFi refers to any Dapp that has financial functions (such as lend/borrow/exchange). You can say DEX is also a DeFi but a DeFi is not always a DEX.

Diamond Hands
A slang that refers to having the ability to hold your crypto investments for a very long time, despite market uncertainties.

DYOR / Do Your Own Research

DYOR means you should investigate on your own instead of simply trusting someone’s advice without any due diligence. In the crypto space it’s very wise to always double check any kind of information.

DCA / Dollar Cost Averaging

It refers to an investment strategy where you periodically invest more money in a crypto asset that you believe has a long-term value. For example, when you want to invest a total of $10,000 in Bitcoin, and you split them to 10 months of investment, that means you are only willing to invest $1,000 per month in Bitcoin.

Double Spending

When a specific crypto transaction is spent more than once due to malicious actor(s) making changes to a blockchain network and manipulating transaction records. This is usually a result of a 51% attack.

ERC-20 And ERC-721

ERC-20 is the token standard contract on Ethereum blockchain. Majority of crypto tokens that you see on Ethereum are ERC-20. On the other hand, ERC-721 is the NFT standard contract on Ethereum blockchain.

FOMO / Fear Of Missing Out

A decision to make a trade due to the feeling of missing out on a potential larger profit. The trading community often uses the term to describe getting into a crypto asset when price is already going up. For example, you refuse to buy Ethereum at a price of $500 because you have doubts it will go up. But then, price keeps going higher to $800, and suddenly you decide to get in because you FOMO it.

FUD / Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt

A strategic plan to spread gossip about a particular project to sow doubts and fears among its community


The term that describes the exchange of position between two coins in terms of market cap rankings. For example, right now Ethereum is lower than Bitcoin in market cap. If one day Ethereum has a larger market cap than Bitcoin, that event will be described as flippening.

Gas Limit and Gas Fee

The costs that a deployer needs to pay to the miners or validators in a blockchain. For example, when you want to execute a transaction, you need to pay a gas fee, which will be paid to the miners or validators in that blockchain where you execute the transaction. The gas limit refers to the maximum limit of cost that the deployer is willing to pay.


The event where block reward of a particular blockchain gets reduced by half. Most commonly used to describe the halvening of block reward in the Bitcoin blockchain (approximately every four years). Many other cryptocurrencies use a similar mechanism for their block reward halvening, although not always.

Hard Cap

Refers to the maximum amount of money a project is willing to raise during its initial token or coin offering.

HODL / Hold On For Dear Life

This term or phrase basically means you decide to keep holding your crypto investment for a long term until you see big profits.

Initial Coin/DEX/NFT Offering (ICO/IDO/INO)
Initial offering means the first time the project owner offers his token or NFT to the public at a certain price. In 2017, almost all initial offerings were done in the form of ICO where people could purchase the tokens directly via the project’s official website.

In the recent years, the form of ICO (Initial Coin Offering) has evolved or branched out to different kinds of offerings, which include IDO (Initial DEX offering) where the cryptocurrency is offered via DEX platform. Another variation include INO (Initial NFT Offering) where you buy the project NFTs at initial price that the project owner decides.

KYC / Know Your Customer
Know Your Customer refers to the process of identifying the customers or users, usually via document verification (i.e., passport or government-issued ID). The KYC process is often combined with AML to comply with government regulations.

Layer 2
secondary protocol that is developed on top of the base blockchain to improve speed and costs.

Maximum Supply
The term to describe the maximum amount of cryptocurrency that can ever be mined or created.

Mining / Miner
The process of adding, validating, and verifying a blockchain transaction in a blockchain system that still utilizes the Proof-of-Work consensus algorithm. The entity or person who does this job is called Miner. In a Proof-of-Stake or Delegated Proof-of-Stake blockchains, usually the word mining is replaced by validating and the word miner is replaced by validator.

Public Key And Private Key
Public key is used by one’s wallet address to encrypt the data while a private key is utilized to both encrypt and decrypt. That’s why you should never share your crypto wallet’s private key to anybody, since they will be able to do anything they want (including to move funds from your wallet).

A slang to describe someone’s financial destruction due to big losses on crypto trades or investments.

Rug Pull
A term that is used to describe a situation where project team members abandoning their project and decide to remove liquidity from exchanges.

Smart Contract
A deployed computer program or application on the blockchain that will instantly execute based on the hard codes or agreements stored inside the smart contract itself. The crypto community often use the term smart contract interchangeably with Dapp.

Smart Contract Audit
The phrase refers to third party auditing the project’s smart contract to make sure there’s no security loopholes and/or potential flaws.

The event where a state of a blockchain is recorded at a specific time. 

Cryptocurrency which its valuation is pegged to another currency, often fiat currency. For example, BUSD or USDC are stablecoins which both have the same value 1:1 to the USD.

TX ID / Transaction ID
Transaction ID on the blockchain. Just like how you get transaction ID when you transact using traditional financial applications, except TX ID is for the blockchain. Every TX ID in a blockchain is always unique.

Weak Hands
Contrary to Diamond Hands, Weak Hands refer to someone’s inability to hold their crypto investments. When the market goes bad, weak hands often sell their crypto assets, fearing they would go lower.

Super rich entity or individual with huge amount of crypto investments that can affect the market movement when they decide to buy or sell
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