BLOCKCHAIN TERMS: understanding the words

Being able to understand the Lingua franca of the blockchain world enables community members/participants to converse freely and understand each other. Since the advent of Blockchain and its technologies, quite a several words, phrases, and slangs have been developed with intents of increasing community participation, ensuring community growth and interactions within the community, these further help each to promote their interest with their respective communities.

As once a NEWBIE in these terrains, I found it hard to understand the terminologies used within the Blockchain space as new words were being churned out by different Blockchain-organisations. Below are some exquisite lists of important terminologies/ words and phrases used to describe certain events/occurrences as they happen within the community. They include; (these have been divided into varying degrees of understanding).

Easy to Assimilate Terms

This section contains words commonly used in the Blockchain community and can describe the state of the community and their excitement. They are as follows;

  • Altcoin: This is simply ‘Alternative coin’ to Bitcoin. These are usually created with modifications to the features and functionality of Bitcoin, they may not act as a store of value.
  • Bitcoin: This is the first mass accepted digital currency (cryptocurrency) created in 2009 on an open-source network, ‘Bitcoin Blockchain network’, done to encourage peer-to-peer transactions.
  • Block: This is a set of discrete data. They contain transactional information permanently stored on the network, they are similar to pages of a record book. ‘Genesis Block: This is the first generated block, registered on a blockchain network’
  • Blockchain: Blockchain is a decentralized ledger system distributed over a team of connected networks with each network having the same copy of the ledger with its untempered data.
  • Distributed Ledger Technology: This is a secured decentralized database that provides data integrity for its users.
  • Miner: These are participants in a network that helps validate new transactions and records them on the global ledger for a reward.
  • Peer-to-Peer: This is a decentralized interaction between two or more computers in a highly interconnected network.
  • Wallet: This is a digital file that stores cryptographic assets.

Medium-level terms

In this section, we are looking at words/terms that have a medium-level understanding difficulty as newbies find it hard to understand and utilize these terms during community engagements. These include;

  • Consensus: This is a decision-making process, where all participants (connected computers) agree to support a decision in the best interest of the whole network.
  • dApps: This is an open-source decentralized software that is operated autonomously and is built on an existing network (this in turn stores all generated data).
  • DAO: This is also called Decentralized Autonomous Organization, which is a governance structure (without human interactions) rewards conduct/character either good or bad using a set of predefined values/rules, this can only be changed by a vote.
  • Double Spending: This is a unique problem to cryptocurrency where an exact amount/sum is spent or sent twice.
  • DYOR: This simply implies ‘Do Your Own Research’, this ensures you’re completely aware of the risks you’re about taking.
  • Fiat/Fiat currency/fiat money: This is a legal tender backed by the government for fulfilling financial obligations.
  • FOMO: Simply means the ‘Fear Of Missing Out’
  • FUD: Means ‘Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt’
  • Halving: This is a reduction in the block reward given to Miners.
  • HODL: Also means ‘Hold On for Dear Life’, it’s a popular term used to urge members to hold on to their crypto assets.
  • Mainnet: This is the production version of a blockchain as it allows all participants to carry out functions while providing stability.
  • Node: This is a copy of the Ledger operated by a user (connected computer) to the blockchain network.
  • Private key: This is a unique string of characters used to decrypt messages sent on the network. (Keep your ‘PK’ safe at all times)
  • Satoshi: This is the smallest unit of a Bitcoin, equal to 0.00000001 BTC.

Difficult terms (Hard to comprehend)

With the rapid improvement in blockchain technologies and its associated researches, a variety of terms has been termed hard to grasp as they deal with lots of technical jargon associated with the creation of these technologies. These are;

  • 51% attack: This is a condition where a group of miners (or an individual) controls more than half (51%) of a network computing power, hereby giving them authority to double spend.
  • Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT): This is the ability of a decentralized system/ network to resist malicious entry on its ledger (failure) and come to a consensus provided ⅔ of its miners are honest.
  • Fork: This is a software update, collectively agreed by all participating nodes.
  • Non-Fungible: This is a term, used to describe any crypto asset that can’t be exchanged with like items, as they are not compatible; though from the same source but have different characteristics.
  • White-paper: This is a detailed project document describing the purpose of a project alongside the solutions to be created.
  • Smart contract: This a self-executing computer code on the blockchain that carries out specific functions as described in its make-up (instruction).

Thanks for following through to the end, if you enjoyed this piece, keep a tab on us as we’ll look at the term ‘consensus’ and how it affects decisions made in the blockchain network.



A development Worker cum animal Scientist with a huge interest in blockchain technologies and the opportunities it holds for #Africa and also a content writer.

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Adoghe David

A development Worker cum animal Scientist with a huge interest in blockchain technologies and the opportunities it holds for #Africa and also a content writer.