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Cryptocurrency terms and abbreviations explained

If you want to be successful in cryptocurrency investing, you’ll need to do extensive research and education before you start trading. Seems like each day there is yet another new digital currency or blockchain-related opportunity introduced to the crypto community. But though crypto investing is often like other trading, when it comes to its terminology — well, let’s just say crypto has a language of its own.

To help you understand more when you’re reading cryptocurrency trading articles, or watching crypto training and educational videos, we’ve created this glossary of terms. Learn a few of the most common cryptocurrency terms so you’ll be ready to understand more about cryptocurrency investments.

The most common cryptocurrency terms and acronyms: a glossary

Many traders consider any cryptocurrency other than bitcoin to be altcoins, i.e., bitcoin alternatives. By this definition, the category of alts includes other legitimate coins like Ethereum and Cardano as well as other, less reputable assets.

Some define alts as anything other than bitcoin and ether, because most coins are forked from one of the two.


Fiat is currency that has value because of government decree. It’s circulated through banks. Rather than being backed by gold, silver, or other commodities, its value comes from the government and is based on supply and demand. The U.S. dollar is an example of a fiat.

Stable Coin or stables

Stable coin value is attached or “pegged” to a fiat, like gold, or has its supply controlled by an algorithm coded to keep the value of the stable coin consistent or “stable.” An example is the tether currency, which is attached or pegged to one US dollar.


The term, meaning “Do your own research” was originally a warning to internet users “not to believe everything they read online. Crypto users adopted it to mean “do your own research before investing in crypto or blockchain investments.” Be informed to avoid frauds.


Believed to have come from a typo in a post (“hodl” instead of hold), it means buyers should “hold on to their crypto until it increases in price. Some also define it as the variation “hold on for dear life.”

Satoshi Nakamoto

Satoshi Nakamoto is the name used by a person or group of people who reportedly designed/developed the first blockchain database, and who authored the original white paper from which bitcoin currency evolved. The name is a pseudonym. Never seen, no one knows who Nakamoto really is.

Gas fees

Cryptocurrency trading has several fees including a gas fee: the amount of computer energy required to process and validate blockchain transactions. These fees fluctuate.


and GWEI GAS fees (ether)

Like USD and other currencies, Ether (ETH) is broken into denominations. One billion GWEI makes one ETH.

In addition to being a denomination, GWEI is the denomination ETH uses for its gas fees. Since it’s the denomination used to pay these fees, the term GWEI may be used interchangeably, both as a denomination name only and/or as part of the name for ether gas fees, i.e., GWEI gas fee.


Initial coin offering. Like an IPO for crypto, the ICO is the debut of a new cryptocurrency for trade/sale.


“Know Your Customer.” This is a reference to the need for companies to perform identity checks on customers, i.e. know who they’re doing business with to make sure they’re not a business risk.

It also means investment firms, etc. should know what risk their customers can really manage.


A crypto password created from a randomized cryptographic word combination. Also called a mnemonic or a recovery phrase, it’s how the blockchain recognizes users, and gives access to the correct crypto.


Individuals with large holdings of a particular crypto are called whales.


ATH means “all-time high” or the highest price or market capitalization a particular crypto has reached. Traders may use ATH to determine an asset’s value and potential going forward.


Stands for “all time low.” ATL means the lowest a crypto has sold/traded for since its creation.


When a market has continued, sustained growth, it’s called a bull market.

Also, a trader who believes the market will rise is called a bull.


When a market has continued, sustained decline it’s called a bear market.

Also, a trader who believes the market will soon decline is called a bear.


Online platforms where one can purchase/trade crypto.


Fear of missing out–the trader may get rid of other assets to buy another, currently hot crypto. This fear of missing out may cause some to make poor decisions or buy at the wrong time.


Refers to the emotions of fear, uncertainty, and doubt felt by those outside of the crypto community when considering the viability of cryptocurrency trading.

MC — Market cap

A way to determine volatility, market cap is the total value of all crypto mined for a particular digital currency. Usually shown in USD calculated by coin price times supply.

Market cap is a gauge of an asset’s stability. Higher MC usually means more stability.

Moon or mooning

Crypto price is on the rise, aka “mooning” due to a long market run of value increases.


A newcomer, a new crypto trader with little knowledge. Newbie.


An investment scheme or market manipulation where early holders of a low valued digital currency hype it to followers, trying to convince them to buy in order to inflate or “pump up” the crypto price. When prices hit a certain level, they sell or “dump” it, causing a crash and leaving those who bought late in a financial crisis.


A play on “wrecked” REKT was originally a gaming term. In crypto, it means a trader has suffered catastrophic losses due to a price crash, poor trades, etc. This can be a temporary loss or permanent.

WP or Whitepaper

Acronym for white paper: an authoritative report or document.


A website or online platform that gives away crypto if the user signs up for email or other tasks. These offers are often scams.


The smallest denomination of bitcoin, is a shortened version of the name of the reputed developer of the blockchain the currency is based on, Satoshi Nakamoto. 1 SATS = to one-hundred-millionth of a bitcoin.


Means “buy the dip.” It’s an old investment adage meaning buy when an investment is lower or dipping. Variant is BTFD or “buy the f**** dip.”


CEX means centralized exchange. It’s a crypto exchange owned/created by a centralized organization acting as a go-between the sellers and the buyers. Examples include Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken exchanges.


Means decentralized exchange. There is no go-between exchange or platform like Coinbase to access. You use your own crypto wallet; all purchases or trades of assets are automatically done using an algorithm and smart contracts. No centralized authority or company owns a DEX.

Smart contract

An automated, self-executing contract on blockchain. Terms between buyer/seller are written into the code, so when required tasks are completed successfully — such as when a buyer pays for an asset — the code automatically executes next steps (i.e., sends the assets to the buyer’s wallet, etc.)

Whether you’re a novice or have some experience, we hope this glossary helps you understand more about cryptocurrency terminology so you can DYOR on the CEX or DEX. Of course, we also can help you with our powerful crypto investment management solutions, including AI technology designed to help educate and automate your cryptocurrency investing process, so contact us, CurPay, today for more information.

With state-of-the-art AI Volatility Protection and everything else you need to customize the perfect trading strategy, CurPay is like having a financial advisor in your corner 24/7. So, If you are ready to start trading crypto, then be sure to check out CurPay today.



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